The only win uglier than last night's 8-7 Yankee win over the Boston Red Sox, was last weeks 12-11 victory over the Texas Rangers. In both cases the pitching faltered and the offense was able to do just enough to get the win.
It emphasized the point that they don't have to be pretty, they just have to be wins. Against a pitcher besides Clay Buchholz, the 8 runs they needed to win might not have been forthcoming, but that's what the Yankees need to do: beat up on bad pitchers.
The bad news out of last night's game was, again, starting pitching. Phelps struggled again and is dealing with right elbow troubles. A DL stint may not be far behind.
His potential replacement, the newly acquired Esmil Rogers, did well in last nights game, but the performance dropped his ERA to a still-high 6.08. Coupled with a WHIP close to 1.5, those are hardly confidence-inspiring numbers. With the trade deadline gone, Cashman may have to turn to the waiver wire for help.
The Yankees currently sit at 57-53, 5.0 GB in the division and 1.5 GB of Toronto for the second WC, but their inconsistencies continue. Since coming out of the All-Star Break by winning 7 of their first 8, the Yankees have lost 5 of their next 8. With both Toronto and Seattle losing on Sunday, it means the Yankees still haven't quite played themselves out of a Wild Card spot but their inability to win consistently has made anything the teams in front of them do in the playoff race a moot point on too many nights.
They are sub .500 against their own division and exactly .500 against both the A.L. Central (who they now have the pleasure of facing for the next week) and the A.L. West. The only reason the Yankees are where they are is due to their dominant interleague play. Unfortunately that part of their schedule is over.
They dug themselves into this hole and can dig themselves out. To make their way to the playoffs the Yankees are going to have to show they can play with the big boys of the American League. Those big boys include the first of three straight Cy Young Award winners, starting tonight with the Detroit Tigers. Tough job, but let the digging begin.