Throughout the entire season, the Yankees have battled and persevered through injuries to key players. From Mariano Rivera to Alex Rodriguez, and everywhere in between, New York has called on veteran bench players to step up. Currently, the team sits two games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles for first place, and has been atop the division for the longest time since 2004 (80 straight days). However, with a poor game last night against Baltimore and a current deficit against the O’s right now, the Yankees lead is in danger of being wiped away by the end of the weekend. Remember, it wasn’t long ago (July 18) that the Yanks had a double digit lead and a stranglehold on the AL East en route to October.
In their last 10 games coming into today’s contest, the Yankees are 3-7 while the O’s have gone 7-3. Over that stretch, the Yanks have been outscored 47-33, out-hit .255 average to .257, and out-slugged 17 to 11. Curtis Granderson has gone 6-for-37 in his last 10 games, Russell Martin 7-for-31 and Andruw Jones overall is 5 for his last 41. Today’s 4-6 hitters? Jones, Granderson and Martin. When the meat of your lineup is struggling like this, it’s going to be tough to score runs. To make matters worse, Granderson left today’s game with a tight right hamstring.
The Yankees hope that Mark Teixeira will be back soon from a calf injury, and that Arod will be able to play in the upcoming Tampa Bay series. Just like in ’09 when he returned from hip surgery, the Yankees hope Arod can provide a spark to a struggling lineup. Andy Pettitte will be due back by mid to late September, so the reinforcements are on the way. The Yankees need to respond to the adversity in the meantime. The thought of a one-game playoff to determine your season is scary. As September unfolds and begins to wind down, we’ll see what this team is really made of.