- Posted: 11:21 AM, August 8, 2012
AL: Texas (1) vs. winner of Detroit (WC1) and Baltimore (WC2A) and Oakland (WC2B), Yankees (2) vs. White Sox (3)
NL: Washington (1) vs. winner of Atlanta (WC1) and Pittsburgh (WC2), Cincinnati (2) vs. San Francisco (3)
Notes: Oakland’s victory over the Angels, along with Baltimore’s victory over Seattle, creates the current gridlock. Were the season to end like this, Baltimore and Oakland would play one game, at Baltimore, to determine who would visit Detroit for the wild-card game. Baltimore has the homefield advantage against Oakland because the Orioles are 22-19 within the AL East compared to the A’s 18-18 within the AL West. The two clubs are 3-3 head-to-head and have a three-game series in Oakland Sept. 14-16.
Yes, there will be a test on this.
Here’s my column off last night’s Yankees game, on Curtis Granderson. I’m in a hurry this morning, but quickly: No, I don’t think the Yankees are in danger of falling apart. I’m going to respectfully disagree with Eric Chavez and Russell Martin, whom George King quotes in his story.
Why? Pitching. The Yankees rank fourth in the AL with a 3.79 ERA. Yes, Ivan Nova is a disaster right now, and Phil Hughes continues to display recurring problems, notably the inability to put tough teams away when he doesn’t have his 'A' stuff. But in CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda, the Yankees have two of the league’s best starting pitchers; Kuroda ranks sixth in WAR, according to Baseball-Reference.com’s rankings, while Sabathia ranks 20th.
Now, you could say that the Red Sox had two excellent starting pitchers a year ago at this time in Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, and see how that worked out. True. But this is where personalities come into play. I just can’t see Kuroda and Sabathia abandoning the team the way that Beckett and Lester did the Red Sox last year, letting up on conditioning and not being invested in the team.
Was some of that “beer and fried chicken” stuff overplayed? Sure, it was. But it wasn’t fictitious. It happened, and it had impact.
We’ll see if the Yankees’ top duo can come through tonight and tomorrow against Detroit and calm the stormy waters.
--Have a great day.