9:40 am Sep. 6, 2012
Last night, the Yankees stopped bleeding.
It was the Tampa Bay Rays who made an error, and the Yankees who took advantage, winning 6-4.
Meanwhile, a defensive lapse cost the Orioles runs in their 6-4 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
The results put the Yankees back on top in the American League East, a game ahead of the Orioles, 2.5 ahead of the Rays. Which isn't to say the Yankees have stablized, precisely.
They can either regain their hold on the division or put themselves at risk of missing the playoffs entirely, with the four games they'll play beginning Thursday night in Baltimore.
They'll see some pretty even pitching matchups in the series: The Yankees will throw David Phelps Thursday night against Jason Hammel, who is returning from injury that kept him out since July 13. Friday night features Phil Hughes against Baltimore's titular ace Wei-Yin Chen, while recently acquired Joe Saunders takes the mound for Baltimore Saturday against CC Sabathia. In the finale, Zach Britton, who has been excellent of late for the Orioles, faces Freddy Garcia, who has not been excellent of late for the Yankees.
A Yankees sweep would swell their lead to five games, and an Orioles would up a three-game lead the other way, with 22 games to play.
The team that doesn't win the division will face either a one-game wild card playoff that could end its season, or if Tampa Bay finishes second, missing the playoffs altogether.
Elsewhere in New York sports:
Thanks to an Ike Davis home run, the Mets beat the Cardinals, 6-2, to give R.A. Dickey his 18th win. No Met has won 20 since Frank Viola in 1990.
According to the New York Post, the Mets are on track to lose another $23 million in 2012, down from $70 million in 2011, and entirely attributable therefore to the cut in payroll from $143 million to $91.6 million.
Madison Square Garden Sports President Scott O'Neil resigned Wednesday, for reasons that are unclear as of yet, and unlikely to be explained by M.S.G.