Alex Rodriguez breaks his hand, but the Yankees are healthy
The New York Yankees have now dropped five of six games, after a 4-2 loss to the Mariners on Tuesday night. Worse still, they lost Alex Rodriguez to a broken hand. The injury is expected to keep Rodriguez out around six weeks, or until roughly the middle of September.
But the luxury of being the New York Yankees is that the loss of Rodriguez may not hurt much. They're in a really good place at this point in the season, even after the mini-slump, and Rodriguez hasn't been the crucial piece of their success he once was.
They're now seven games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles, a talented but flawed team, for the American League East lead. They hold an identical seven-game lead over the Chicago White Sox, who currently hold the final wild card slot. So for the Yankees to fall out of the playoffs, they'd need the Orioles, the White Sox, and the wild card-leading Angels to overtake them in the final 66 games. If the Yankees simply play .500 ball, Chicago and Baltimore will need to play at a .621 clip.
Nor are the Yankees likely to be simply a .500 team without Rodriguez. They've played .604 ball so far this season, and among Yankee regulars, Rodriguez has the fifth-highest O.P.S.+, a solid but unspectacular 113. He has 15 home runs; the Yankees have eight players in double figures in home runs.
Rodriguez's replacement, Eric Chavez, has actually outproduced Rodriguez in O.P.S.+ with a 118, along with providing better fielding at third base. Chavez was once a star third baseman for the Oakland Athletics before endless injuries left him as a part-timer. But if he can stay healthy for six weeks, the Yankees shouldn't be much different than they were with Rodriguez in the lineup.
In the meantime, the Yankees could get Joba Chamberlain back within a matter of days, if he pitches Wednesday in back-to-back rehab games for the first time, and shows no ill effects. That would push David Phelps into a position where he should probably start, though Freddy Garcia, who pitched well Tuesday night, isn't necessarily going anywhere, either.
Not so bad, all told.
Elsewhere in New York sports:
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Then the Mets go on a West Coast road trip.
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The bidding for Andrei Kirilenko has vastly exceeded the Nets' ability to pay him, given the salary cap.
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