This may be the most anticipated series of the Yankees season — the one that was supposed to go a long way toward determining the A.L. East champion — but when the Yankees call on Royce Ring, Dustin Moseley, Chad Gaudin, and Jonathan Albaladejo out of the bullpen, it’s hard to imagine it as a playoff preview.
Not that this was by choice: A two-hour, eleven-minute rain delay ended A.J. Burnett’s night after just three innings, and with David Robertson unavailable — he felt tightness in his back — Joe Girardi had little choice but to use the dregs of his bullpen last night. Gaudin, especially, was in over his head: Down by just one in the seventh inning, he’d allow back-to-back solo home runs to extend the Rays lead to 5-2. (They’d go on to win 7-2.)
To reset: The Yankees’ lead in the East dropped to one and a half games, and with Boston’s win last night, their magic number to clinch a playoff berth remains at three. The pitching in tonight’s game, the last regular-season contest between the two teams this year, promises to be a bit sharper: CC Sabathia and David Price, who last week matched each other over eight scoreless innings, face off again.