By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 25- It will be official by Thursday, as reality will say time has run out for the New York Yankees and any hope for post season baseball. Tuesday night in the Bronx, when Tampa Bay Rays lead-off hitter Matt Joyce drove a home run to right off Hiroki Kuroda it was going to be that type of ballgame.
And all that was left when the night was over is that the Yankees know, Wednesday night they have to win. Though the inevitable is here, and reality of post season aspirations means they have to win all of their remaining five games.
Winning them all, though, could be too much to ask. Because this has been a season of hope for the Yankees, and despite the numerous injuries, they should not even be fighting for their playoff hopes even if it meant being a post season second wild card team out of the American League.
However, baseball is made to be played until there is an elimination game. And on Wednesday night, elimination faces the Yankees, a team that may have had their final chance for a post season chance before they took the field Tuesday night.
Instead, the starter, Hiroki Kuroda once again did not have his best stuff. The same issues that have seen him lose seven of his last 12 starts have just about put the final nail in the coffin of the Yankees. And now it is more likely going to be a rare October with no post season baseball in the Bronx.
The manager, Joe Girardi, who has been the optimistic one, had that look of disappointment and there was a sense it was over in his post game meeting with the media after Tampa Bay shut out the Yankees 7-0. He talked about Kuroda, how the sinker, slider, and his overall stuff were not there.
And then there was that issue, again, as was so often this season. The Yankees could not capitalize and get the hits when they were needed.
“It’s frustrating because we had opportunities and we weren’t able to put in the hits,” said Girardi. “Runs have been tough for us lately at a time when we needed to score some runs we weren’t able to do it.” He reflected on the Boston series last week and being swept in three games up at Fenway Park.
“We lost the game Sunday,” he added referring to a game his Yankees needed to win against the lowly San Francisco Giants. “It’s been a combination,” he said. A 31-31 record since the All-Star break will not guarantee a spot for October. Nor will stranding 11 on base as the New York offense once again went cold at the wrong time.
“Right now we need a ton of help and need to win games,” said Girardi. He was reacting to a question about this possibly being the end of a season. He has been optimistic despite the gloom and doom of a long season that was interrupted often with one injury or another to a key player.
“That’s what you work for," he said. The reference was to starting in February and working your way to October. Unfortunate for the Yankees, they will wait one more day until not playing baseball in October becomes official.
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