10:01 am Oct. 1, 2012
It is often said that pitching is disproportionately responsible for the success of the better baseball teams. But pitching had little to do with the New York Yankees' playoff-spot-clinching 9-6 victory on Sunday over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Phil Hughes didn't have it, allowing five runs in 4 2/3 innings. And Rafael Soriano, who has been a dominant replacement for Mariano Rivera, struggled mightily in the ninth inning, allowing the Blue Jays to load the bases with nobody out and eventually plate a run.
Instead, it was the eight runs scored by the Yankees over four innings that made the difference.
The win saved the Yankees from falling a game behind the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the American League East, and eliminated the possibility of the Rays or Angels overtaking the Yankees this week.
If the Yankees remain tied with the Orioles after their upcoming series against the Red Sox, they'll need to play at Camden Yards on Thursday, with the loser of that game facing the other wild card team (Oakland, probably) for the right to advance to the real playoffs. If they finish ahead of the Orioles, and the Yankees are bound for the A.L.D.S.
It would be particularly sweet for the Red Sox fans if this particular Boston team—the first 90-loss outfit the franchise has had since 1966—imperiled the Yankee playoff push. In all likelihood, manager Bobby Valentine will treat the games like his World Series, with a dismissal expected to follow.
Elsewhere in New York sports:
The Mets lost to the Braves, 6-2, in their final game against Chipper Jones.
David Wright expressed his feelings on the Mets, and it turns out he is aware of the team's lack of spending, and bothered by Jose Reyes' departure.
The New York Post reports pitching coach Dan Warthen is likely to stay.
Media Day is set for Monday, and the Knicks will publicly explain why they let Jeremy Lin go.
The Nets will also hold media day, and reportedly will serve Nathan's and Junior's to reporters.
A bizarre sequence of penalties and timeouts resulted in a 19-17 win for the Eagles over the Giants.
A 34-0 loss to the 49ers has some people calling for Tim Tebow, of course.
If Thierry Henry doesn't win M.L.S. Player of the Week for his one-goal, three-assist performance against Toronto FC Saturday night, the award will cease to have any meaning.