Tonight begins a crucial series for the Yankees as they face the Boston Red Sox in a three game set at Yankee Stadium, but before we get into the Red Sox series, let’s talk about the ground the Yankees gained while they were idle on Labor Day (which I still found rather odd, considering the Yankees always play on a holiday).
— The Yankees gained a half game on the Baltimore Orioles, and they are now 8.5 games out of first place. (I don’t think the division is the Yankees main focus right now).
— The Yankees are now four games behind the Detroit Tigers for the second Wild Card spot…but they gained ground because the Tigers were playing the Cleveland Indians who are above the Yankees in the Wild Card race.
With that being said, let’s get into this Red Sox series. If the Yankees want any chance for the Wild Card, they’re going to need to start winning series on a consistent basis.
— The Yankees have Shane Greene pitching for the Yankees this evening, and he has been a fantastic addition to the rotation. but tonight, the rookie is going to have to square off against the veteran. Greene is going to oppose Joe Kelly, who the Red Sox acquired in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals. This should be an interesting match-up considering this is the first time Kelly will face the Yankees as a member of the Red Sox.
— Many of the New York Yankees had terrible August’s, in fact the only player with a good August was Jacoby Ellsbury. For the most part, Ellsbury and Brett Gardner have been carrying the Yankees offense this season, so it’d be great if the rest of the team would follow their lead.
— The Yankees clubhouse is going to get rather packed: the rosters have expanded from 25 to 40 for September and that means we’ll be getting a look at some of the kids from Triple-A. Before you ask, the Yankees are not going to call up Rob Refsnyder or Jacob Lindgren, but they did say Lindgren could compete for a roster spot in Spring Training next year.
— Although this is the Derek Jeter Farewell Tour, we have to remember that he’s not having the greatest year offensively, and he had an abysmal August (.207/.226/.261). So what will Joe Girardi do with Jeter down the stretch? Remember, he benched Alex Rodriguez last year and moved Jorge Posada down in the order in 2011. Maybe he leaves Jeter in the two-hole or maybe he moves Jeter down in the order and bats Ellsbury and Gardner back-to-back? It will be interesting to see how Girardi approaches this as we enter the final month of the regular season.