By Mike Harrington
Does anyone want to win the wild-card in the American League?
Right now the Yankees and Rays sure don't seem to. The Indians and Orioles sure do. It's setting up for a bizarre final three weeks.
Here's a look at the AL wild-card standings. I think the loser of the A's-Rangers showdown for the AL West title takes one wild-card. The battle is for No. 2.
The Rays, who have lost eight of 10, have a one-game lead over both the Orioles and Indians. But Baltimore has won three straight while Cleveland has won four in a row and has an incredibly easy schedule the rest of the way that includes six games against the White Sox, four against the Twins and four against the Astros.
Remember how the Yankees spent the first four months of the season living off their pitching, especially their bullpen, and couldn't hit a lick? It's completely turned around now. They're scoring plenty of runs and can't get anybody out. Saturday's 13-9 loss to the Red Sox marked the third straight game they've scored at least eight runs and LOST -- something they've never done in their history. Wow.
In today's Daily News, veteran columnist Bill Madden says exactly what most Yankee fans think right now -- this team is an illusion and not worthy of the postseason. And as we head into the final few games of Mariano Rivera's career, Post columnist Joel Sherman points out that the greatest closer ever is slipping from superhuman to just very good.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, are running away in the AL East with an 8 1/2-game lead. They have 54 runs on 64 hits -- including 17 homers -- in the last four games. Jeez. No wonder Jonny Gomes cracked, "We're doing it in bulk right now."
I still like the Tigers to go to the World Series out of the American League. But they need a healthy Miguel Cabrera. The Red Sox have a shaky corps of middle relievers but the Sons of John Farrell and Torey Lovullo are becoming the best story in baseball this side of the Pirates. Good stuff.
taggedRed Sox | Yankees