Yankees Notebook for Sept. 9

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Last game: Royals 1, Yankees 0 — yes, there was a game on Derek Jeter Day, although I can’t imagine the details of anything that happened after Shane Greene’s first pitch will be closely chronicled years from now.

Here’s a quick rundown of our Jeter coverage, in case you missed it: in addition to the ceremony, I wrote about the relationship between Jeter and Michael Jordan, as well as Chase Headley’s call to have the captain take the field alone. The Royals were honored to be involved too.

We had three columnists on site. Richard Justice thought it was a worthy tribute. Marty Noble thought Jordan’s presence spoke volumes. Barry (Buddy) Bloom compared it to Mickey Mantle Day in ’69.

Postseason picture: It’s not pretty. With 21 games remaining on the schedule, the Yankees (73-68) open play tonight five games behind the Mariners (79-64) for the second Wild Card, also needing to jump the Tigers (79-65) and Indians (74-68). They’d have to go 16-5 to get to 89 wins, which would give them a pretty fair shot at sneaking in.

Baseball Prospectus gives the Yankees a 0.9% chance of winning the Wild Card and a 0.2% chance of catching the Orioles. Baltimore owns a double-digit lead in the American League East for the first time since 1979, when Ken Singleton was manning right field for Earl Weaver’s club.

Headlines

One bit of news came out of yesterday, the last scheduled off-day of the year for the Yankees: the 2015 schedule has been released. You can circle April 6, 2015 on the calendar; that’s when the Yankees — with Alex Rodriguez at third base? — will host the Blue Jays in the first of 162.

It’s also interesting to me that we’ll have an April-September Subway Series, as the Mets and Yankees go back to six games (the Yanks are playing the National League East this year). Meaningful September games at Citi Field? Could be. 

Yankees Inbox

I’m going to attempt to resurface the popular Yankees Inbox in somewhat limited fashion on this blog, which I think can help supplement the daily coverage you see on the higher-traffic Yankees.com site. Maybe I can field a question or two per day until the offseason, when we’ll bring it back in full force. Here’s a question that popped in this week; feel free to send your own to bryan.hoch@mlb.com with the subject line, ‘Yankees Inbox.’

“David Robertson has had a good first season as a closer, but he will likely command a hefty price tag as a free agent. But Betances as been downright nasty, so is he being considered as a possible closer? Would the Yankees let Robertson walk a la John Wetteland and make Betances the closer?” – Ben B., New London, Conn.

If you’re asking my opinion, the Yankees should be doing what they can to make sure that Robertson stays put for a while; I keep pointing to the fact that you hardly hear anyone talking about, ‘Well, if Mo was here…’ That’s not easy, replacing a legend, but Robertson has pretty seamlessly stepped into the closer’s role. The bullpen has been a terrific strength this season and is a major reason why the Yankees have been able to hang around on the fringes of the postseason race so long. Could Betances close? Yeah, probably. But at this point, he is such a great weapon to have for three or more outs in the seventh and eighth innings; why dismantle that? Robertson seems to be intent upon testing the free agency waters, and he should. I don’t get the sense that Robertson especially wants to leave (of course, at this point last year, I thought the Yanks and Robinson Cano would find a way to work it out). At the very least, the Yankees should make Robertson a qualifying offer, then I would follow that up with a multi-year proposal.

They said it

“It’s obviously not the easiest path that we’ve built for ourselves, but we’re going to keep fighting. We’ve got to take care of our own business, win games and win series. That’s all we can focus on. You wish it were a different circumstance, but it’s not. We’re going to have to play extremely well from here on out. We’re capable of doing it, we’ve just got to come out and put it together.” – Chase Headley

“I think we’re aware (of the challenge). But we just have to go out and win games. You can’t scoreboard-watch when you have three teams in front of you. You just have to win games, which makes it almost simpler for us because we can forget about all the outside distractions and try to win every game we can.” – Mark Teixeira

Up next

The Rays come to town for a three-game series that opens tonight. Hiroki Kuroda (10-8, 3.78) is on the mound for New York, Chris Archer (8-8, 3.60) goes for Tampa Bay. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. ET. Here’s the game preview.

Beat the Streak

I’m going with Jacoby Ellsbury, who is 8-for-12 (.667) lifetime vs. Archer. Current streak is at two.

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