Here We Are

If the Yankees win their final two games, they will be AL East champions and be the #1 seed in the playoffs. Isn’t that amazing? After all the “stuff” that has happened this year, the Yankees are two wins away from the best record in the AL.

We now know that the AL playoff teams are: New York, Texas, Detroit, Baltimore and Oakland. Right now, Baltimore and Oakland are the two wild card teams, but either of them could still win the division. The only team that is locked into a playoff spot is Detroit. They will be the #3 seed in the playoffs and open at home Saturday, October 6th. Everything else is up for grabs.

I get why people are upset that Sabathia went 8 innings in a blowout, but think about the situation for a minute. The Yankees have overused their bullpen down the stretch. Sure, having CC ready for a potential wild card game on Friday would be nice, but the Yankees need to win this game. Keeping CC in there gives them the best chance for that and also keeps the bullpen rested. Can you imagine the reaction if CC had been lifted after five and then the Red Sox made it a game by battering the Yankees’ bullpen?

A much tougher question will come tomorrow when the Yankees have to decide whether or not to start Kuroda. By pitching him Wednesday, the Yankees would either have to bring him back on short rest, or clinch the best record in the AL in order for him to pitch Game 2 of the ALDS. This could create a very interesting decision. Now, if Baltimore wins tonight, then the Yankees have to pitch Kuroda. But, if Baltimore loses, Texas wins and the Yankees win, then what? The Yankees will have wrapped up the AL East, but they will still have the best record in the AL to fight for. And, if they don’t clinch that, ALDS Game 2 would be Sunday, meaning Kuroda won’t be available unless they pitch him on short rest. So, the Yankees could pitch Kuroda hoping that they win and the ALDS doesn’t start until Sunday. Or they could sit him, pitch Nova (I guess?) and have Kuroda ready to go in ALDS Game 2.

Finally, a few attendance figures caught my eye last night. The Yankees had a crowd of 45,000 or so in the Bronx. Nothing to sneeze at, but how does a game that big not sell out? Then there is Oakland, which in a huge game only managed to attract 21,000 or so fans to the ballpark. Slightly above their season average. But the Banner of Shame award goes to Tampa. In a do-or-die game, they got 13,000 fans to the ballpark.