Four Games Down, 18 Left To Play — And As We Know, Anything Can Happen


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Don’t stop believing!

The Yankees know they have their work cut out for them in the race for the American League’s second wild-card spot. With 18 games left, New York sits four games behind Detroit and would need to leapfrog three other teams in Seattle, Cleveland and Toronto.

But as they say, it’s not over ’til it’s over. Case in point: Sept. 4, when Mark Teixeira and Chase Headley blasted solo home runs in the ninth to keep the Bombers in the thick of things.

And then there was Thursday night. The Yankees, in danger of being no-hit going into the eighth inning, managed to pull off another unlikely win thanks to a Chris Young walk-off homer against Tampa Bay.

“It just says a lot about our character I believe,” said the Mets castoff, who broke up the no-hit bid before his heroics in the next frame. “You’re not out of it until you’re out of it. You give us one strike left in the game or whatever it may be, we still have an opportunity. All you can do is try to take advantage of the opportunity.”

The Yankees don’t have any margin for error if they’re to avoid missing the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time since 1993-94.

Derek Jeter, due to retire at the end of this season, has never seen that happen.

“I don’t care how anything looks at a particular point, you have to have faith in your team,” Jeter said of Thursday’s win. “At this point in the season, we can’t change anything that’s happened. We need to go out and try to win every game.”

The Yankees still have serious question marks. Runs have been hard to come by, putting pressure on a starting staff that has been without CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Masahiro Tanaka, who is the only one of the three with a chance of returning this season.

All of New York’s remaining games come against AL East rivals Baltimore (8) Boston (3), Tampa Bay (3) and Toronto (4). The Orioles, due to play a doubleheader against the Yankees on Friday, are running away with the division. The Blue Jays want the last wild-card spot for themselves. And everyone knows the Rays and Red Sox would love to spoil things in the Bronx.

“The bottom line, to just keep it simple, is we’ve just got to win games,” general manager Brian Cashman said Thursday, according to MLB.com.

Picking up two before the weekend would be a nice start.

“We haven’t done a good enough job here on the stretch drive as we needed to, to be in a better position, and that makes it that much harder,” Cashman said. “But we just have to own our games, period.”

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