The New York Yankees have been playing some fantastic baseball lately and despite coming back from a 7-2 deficit on Thursday night, the team and Mariano Rivera could not hold on for the victory, losing 9-8 after a great battle and now the team is just 2.5 games behind in the wild card race and a win on Friday night is a must.
The Yanks have one of their best pitchers on the mound in Andy Pettitte and he is no stranger to tough division games against the Red Sox late in the season. The Yankees are running out of time as they hang in the playoff race, as they are behind the Rays and the Oakland A's for the Wild Card and will need to continue playing well to get into it. The Yankees have been able to get ahead of the Royals, Indians and Orioles as they have moved up the standings and now they are the first team behind the two spots.
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The Yankees have gone 6-4 over their last 10 games and have been making up ground in the race, but after losing on Thursday night, they can't afford to drop another game in a row against the Red Sox, who have looked like one of the best teams in the league this year and should be locks to win the American League East. Last time the Sox had a lead in September they let it get away and that collapse cost plenty of people their jobs, including Terry Francona and now they have the chance to move even farther away from that.
The team pulled together to gut out the win and now the Red Sox could put the Yankees in a very tough position as they are trying to get fully into the Wild card race and the rivalry could be interesting the rest of the way this season. Rivera has blown six saves now this season and while he has been great at times at 43, he also has given up more hits and that came back to bite him on Thursday night when it appeared he had the game in hand.
After Rivera blew the save, things did not get much better, as Joba Chamberlain ended up getting ejected after arguing and now the Yankee are 75-65 on the season and will send the able bodied Pettitte to the mound to face off against Felix Doubront and the Yankees desperately need to win to keep pace in the race and after Rivera pitched multiple times this week, he likely will not factor into the game on Friday night. Doubront is 10-6 this season with a sub-4.00 ERA, while Pettitte has had some rough stretches but has looked better lately, going 10-9 on the season with a 4.01 ERA.
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The Yanks need players like Derek Jeter, Ichiro and Curtis Granderson to step up and after making a great comeback and then losing it on Thursday, they will have to recover quickly.