Coming into this series with the New York Yankees, the Toronto Blue Jays were awful against their division rivals in 2013. They posted a record of 1-11 against them this entire season. The Yankees were coming in hot and fighting to stay alive in a competitive Wild Card race. They ended up losing the series to one of the easier teams on their remaining schedule.
This was the series that they needed to win, if not sweep, to stay alive. What’s worse is their ace this season, Hiroki Kuroda, looked like anything but yesterday allowing seven runs (five earned) over five innings. After leading the league in ERA in July, Kuroda posted a 5.55 ERA in August. With uncertainty throughout the rotation, Kuroda was the one guy Joe Girardi thought he could count on.
It comes down to pitching and schedule, and neither are good points for the Yankees coming down the stretch. They are currently five and a half games back of the Oakland Athletics for the final playoff spot. They are also behind the Baltimore Orioles and the Cleveland Indians for that last spot.
The A’s are putting up a great five man rotation. Every single night they know they have a chance to win thanks to their starters. On top of that, they are putting up one of the most underrated one-two punches with their closer and set up guy. Ryan Cook and Grant Balfour have been unstoppable all season. If you’re losing after the eighth you aren’t winning the game. If that wasn’t enough, add in the fact that the A’s schedule looks like the Tampa Bay Rays, the Texas Rangers, and then the worst teams in the American League the rest of the way. This was the only time the Yankees had a chance to make some ground up on the team.
Alfonso Soriano has been a monster since putting the pinstripes back on. Alex Rodriguez seems motivated to show he can be a force with or without steroids. Derek Jeter is finally healthy. Mariano Rivera and David Robertson are as good as it gets in the back of the bullpen. None of that matters anymore.
When most of your remaining schedule consists of the Rays, Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox, you cannot lose to the Blue Jays. Especially when your manager is adamant to throwing out the putrid Phil Hughes every five days. The Yankees have 29 games remaining in the season. They probably have room to lose five to seven of those games. That means your best case scenario is you can lose one game per series while at the same time sweeping two of them.
Is it impossible? I guess not, but this team doesn’t have the tools to pull off such a feat. It is something that the Bronx isn’t used to, but Yankee Stadium is going to be without the playoffs in 2013.