This was an awful four game set for the New York Yankees. They held late leads in 3 of 4 games against the Boston Red Sox but lost two in dramatic fashion, one in demoralizing fashion and only salvaged the final game courtesy of a wild pitch that Yogi Berra himself couldn't have corralled.
Here's the thing though. When the weekend started, the Yankees were 2.5 GB of a wild card berth and, when it ended, they were the same 2.5 GB. There are two ways to look at it. One view is that the Yankees missed a golden opportunity to draw closer and even jump over the Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles. The second view is that the Yankees are still within striking distance and they battle two of their three closest competitors, the Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays, a combined seven times over the last two weeks of the season.
As baseball fans saw in 2011, the baseball season can often be decided late, even on the last day of the season. So 2.5 weeks might seem like a short amount of time but it's still enough time.
One of the most wonderful things about baseball is the length of the season: 162 games spread across the spring and summer and concluding in early fall. Although it often seems too short, the truth is it's quite long. Hence the cliché, "It's a marathon, not a sprint." There's some safety in the adage, and I've certainly fallen back on it these season as I assured myself that the Yankees still had time, to get healthy, to make a run at the division or the wildcard, to do what all the pundits said they couldn't.
Nevertheless, at some point, the games do run out and, for the Yankees that time is just about now. The first 143 games? That was the marathon. Now, with 19 games left, it's time to pick up the pace and sprint.
With a four game set against the Orioles starting tonight, it's time. Time for CC Sabathia to just win, reduced velocity aside. Time for Nova to show that he can pitch just as effectively in big games as he can in less meaningful ones. Time for someone (Hughes, Huff or some other minor league fodder) to lock down that fifth starting spot and give the team some effective innings. Time for the bullpen to get over their recent horrific slump and pitch like they did earlier in the year.
Time for the Yankees to get that second wind and sprint for the finish line.