By Sweeny Murti
» More Columns

There’s an old theory around baseball that a smart manager decides to hold a team meeting before his best pitcher takes the mound.

Despite his previous start, Hiroki Kuroda has been the Yankees’ best pitcher for the past couple months, so Joe Girardi may have picked the right time to gather his team before Wednesday’s game at Tropicana Field.

Even though Kuroda didn’t give the type of shutdown effort usually associated with turnaround wins, Girardi’s timing still looks good thanks to the win that puts the Yankees back in sole possession of first place after an excruciating 24 hours of being tied with Baltimore.

Girardi is never one to divulge much about his meetings, but it seems as if he wanted to make sure his team believed they would come out of this funk, much like he’s been telling the media after every game:

Brian Cashman is on this trip too, and the Yankee GM believes this team has all the pieces it needs to win the AL East and just needs a few things to break their way so they can turn it around:

Cashman believes the talent to win is here:

The GM understands the fear and panic from Yankee fans, but believes the last four weeks will prove how good his team is:

A positive sign is the continued progress of Andy Pettitte.  Ever since a setback in late July that Pettitte believed at the time cost him about 10 days, things have been going well.  The latest step in the right direction was a 15-pitch simulated inning on Wednesday.

Larry Rothschild said the session was “excellent” and Pettitte is happy with his progress now too:

Pettitte is used to pitching big games in a pennant race, and it’s eating away at him that he can’t be there for his team right now.  Pettitte knows exactly what his teammates are going through and hopes they can all pull through together:

This is not the way the Yankees drew up this season.  But here they are with 26 games to play, and everyone in that room talking about how capable they are of turning the ship around.  Last night’s win over the Rays was a step in the right direction.

On to Baltimore and the biggest series of the year.

Sweeny Murti (now verified!)

Here we go — four games against the O’s. How will the standings look when it’s over? Make your prediction in the comments below…

Watch & Listen LIVE