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It’s Time for Yankees to Not Panic, and Also to Worry

Yesterday's 13–3 Yankees win over the Orioles at Camden Yards had, for a Yankee fan, the cleansing illusion of putting the world back into its proper order. Curtis Granderson — off the bench, no less — homered and drove in five, and the Yankees' bats did what they were supposed to do: bash around average pitching and patch over any other worries the Yankees might have. It allowed the Yankees to split the series in Baltimore and hang on to their one-game lead over the Orioles and two-game lead over the Rays. The Orioles have lost perhaps their best hitter for the season. The Yankees' playoff odds are comfortably in the 90th percentile. All is normal and well. But it's still shaky out there.

Of most concern for the Yankees, without question, is the injury status of first baseman Mark Teixeira. He hurt his left calf again, and in a best-case scenario, he won't be back until Friday. Worst-case, says manager Joe Girardi: the rest of the regular season.

"There is part of me that wonders that," Girardi said of Teixeira's setback resulting in a prolonged absence. "There is basically 3½ weeks left. If it does go back to square one, then I'd really wonder."

Teixeira, as he would, doubted it would be that bad, but we don't know anything yet. Teixeira hasn't exactly been himself all season — Deadspin's Tom Scocca, an avowed Orioles fan, pointed out yesterday that he's not having that different of a season than Mark Reynolds — but the Yankees need him in the lineup, if just to help fill the other holes that keep popping up. (It's not helping that Nick Swisher doesn't seem to have hit the ball out of the infield in a month.)

This is just to say that as much of a relief as yesterday's win was, and as nice as those BP odds look, the Yankees are still only one game up in the division and are one losing week away from being out of the wild-card spot. It feels like the split averted disaster, but the Yankees aren't out of this mess yet.

The whole AL East is taking a much deserved, desperately needed day off today; we hope everyone gets a big, comfortable nap in. Then it's back to the salt mines, with a huge Rays-Orioles series in Camden Yards and the Yankees heading to Fenway for whatever is left of that team. Then there's three more at the Stadium against those Rays. There are only 22 games left, guys. It's a dead sprint at this point. Gulp.

Photo: Elsa/2012 Getty Images