TORONTO -- Is this the night the Yankees can exhale just a little more? We'll see. One more win -- or a Boston loss in Chicago -- will clinch a playoff berth for the Bronx Bombers as they get set for game two against the Blue Jays. Good thing we have a roof on Rogers Centre. It's pouring outside and there's no way we'd be playing right now.
Ace CC Sabathia (20-7) will be pitching for the Yankees against Toronto rookie Kyle Drabek. The Yankees would love to be setting up their postseason rotation but they simply can't until they're sure they're in. So they've moving forward with Sabathia rather than holding him back until Friday. And manager Joe Girardi simply won't get drawn into talks of playoff rotations.
"It's hard not to think about and that's the bottom line," Girardi admitted before the game. "You set a goal to win the division and to get into the playoffs and we're still not there ... We're not talking about it. We've got to get in first. That's our whole focus. It's the right thing for us to do."
Pressed on the fact that the odds are virtually certain the Yankees will get in, Girardi didn't waver.
"That's why they're odds. Odds aren't guarantees," Girardi said. "You've still got to do it. That's why they have to play. I'm not going to waste my time preparing for something that hasn't happened yet."
Drabek, who is 0-2, 4.91 in his first two starts since being called up from Double-A, is the son of former big-leaguer Doug Drabek. The elder Drabek pitched for the Yankees from 1984-86 becoming a star of the Pittsburgh Pirates three straight division championship teams from 1990-92. Girardi recalled how Doug Drabek always threw a first-pitch curveball in every start and how he couldn't get a hit off the Pittsburgh ace. He was right; Girardi was 2 for 23 in his career against Doug Drabek.
Longtime former Blue Jays slugger George Bell is here to be part of Thank You Cito Night tomorrow, when the Blue Jays will be honoring retiring manager Cito Gaston prior to his final home game. Bell will throw the ceremonial first pitch tonight and it will be caught by Toronto slugger Jose Bautista, whose 52 home runs this year have broken the Toronto record of 47 set by Bell in 1987.
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