Welcome, welcome, welcome, Yankees fans. This is a brand new post-series hatched by yours truly, considering that this is the first time in a while that the Bombers haven't been front-running going into a pennant race and in addition to just reeling off as many wins in a row as possible, we're going to need a little help from the teams in front of us. As it stands today, there are precisely three teams: The Indians, O's, and A's that stand between the Yankees and a Wild Card berth and another three that are in front in the AL East race: The O's, Rays, and of course, the Red Sox. I am going to attempt to update you guys daily on the status of all these teams as we careen towards the home stretch of the season. Wild Card Standings:
TB: 72-53, GB: +1.5
The Rays culminated their head-to-head series with the Orioles last night in Camden Yards, dropping their only game of the series 4-2. Both Adam (not Pacman) Jones and Chris Davis homered last night to down the Rays and hand Jeremy Hellickson the loss. Buck Showalter had to do a lot of mixing and matching with his once-steady bullpen to nail it down in the ninth as the Rays were threatening but the game ended in dramatic fashion as Matt Wieters gunned down Kelly Johnson trying to steal second.
The Yanks head to the Trop for a head-to-head series that could see the Rays' Wild Card lead dwindle. Then there's the other option which could see an increase in that lead but we'll think positive thoughts. With Kuroda, CC, and Nova on the bump over the next three games, the Yankees are set up nicely to take yet another series but as John Sterling is so fond of saying; "You can't predict baseball."
Hisashi Iwakuma had yet another strong start for the Mariners, going seven strong innings while giving up seven hits and yielding only three runs to the A's offense. Seattle notched their second win in a row against the A's, with the winning run coming on a big collision at the plate between Dustin Ackley and Stephen Vogt.
Billy Beane's ragtag group travels east to Camden Yards to take on the O's, it's Bud Norris (9-10, 3.93) against Dan Straily (6-7, 4.22) in game one.
CLE: 69-58, GB: 2.5
The Tribe knocked off the Angels 3-1, Justin Masterson was masterful again (pun slightly intended), throwing 6.2 of one-run ball. Ex-Yank, Nick Swisher provided the run support with a two-run dinger and Chris Perez came in to shut the door for his 20th save.
The Twins come to town on Friday for a three-game set with Ubaldo Jimenez on the bump in game one.
BAL: 68-58, GB: 3.0
NYY: 67-59, GB: 4.0
AL East Standings:
The Sox are on a West Coast-swing and just got through taking the Giants to the proverbial woodshed, winning 12-1 and making Barry Zito look like...well Barry Zito. Stephen Drew and the beleaguered Will Middlebrooks both homered to extend maintain their AL East lead, at least for another day.
The West Coast trip continues as the Sox take on Yasiel Puig and the red-hot Dodgers, it's the opinionated John Lackey (8-10, 3.22 ERA) against Ricky Nolasco (4-1, 2.98 ERA) in Game One.
TB: 72-53, GB: 1.0
BAL: 68-58, GB: 5.5
NYY: 67-59, GB: 6.5
TOR: 57-70, GB: 17.0