Yankees looking ahead to a postseason celebration
The Yankees will continue their four-game series with the White Sox this afternoon, sending right-hander Adam Warren (6-7, 3.46) to the mound. Chicago gives the ball to left-hander John Danks (7-13, 4.59).
“I think the big thing for Adam is the first couple of innings, getting all of his pitches going, mixing all of his pitches and changing speeds,” manager Joe Girardi said. “It seems like he’s better in the later innings. The first couple of innings give him some trouble so we have to get him off to a better start.”
New York’s earliest possible playoff clinch date is Monday, and should that happen, Girardi said that he expects his players to celebrate and spray the bubbly. The Derek Jeters of the Yankee universe used to downplay the idea of celebrating a Wild Card berth, believing that they hadn’t reached their ultimate goal, but those times have changed.
“It’s an accomplishment,” Girardi said. “When you go to work after the season and you do your offseason training and your offseason moves are made and Spring Training and the grind — of course it’s a celebration. It should be a celebration.”
Playoff picture: The Yankees (84-69) trail the Blue Jays (88-65) by four games in the American League East. Toronto is in action this afternoon against the Rays. New York leads the Astros (80-74) by 4 1/2 games for the first Wild Card spot.
Odds are: Baseball Prospectus has the Yankees with a 99.8 percent chance of making the postseason, and a 3.8 percent chance of winning the division. FULL STANDINGS
Tonight’s starting lineup: pic.twitter.com/NCh32k8yhe
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 26, 2015
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 26, 2015
— The Yankees have not yet decided when they will slot right-hander Masahiro Tanaka back into the rotation, but they do expect he will return to the mound this season. Tanaka tested his strained right hamstring with a 31-pitch bullpen session on Friday at Yankee Stadium and is going through treatment on Saturday afternoon.
— There is encouraging news regarding right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, who played catch on Friday for the first time since being sidelined by right elbow inflammation. If Eovaldi is able to return during the postseason, it would be as a reliever.
MLB Network’s three to watch
Alex Rodriguez, who is just 2 for his last 23 at-bats, is slashing .202/.291/.462 with 8 HR and 20 RBI in the 33 games since Mark Teixeira got hurt. Teixeira had hit behind A-Rod in the fifth spot in the lineup for most of the season.
Rob Refsnyder has started the last two games at second base with a left-hander on the mound going 2-5 AB with a walk and a double. Meanwhile, Stephen Drew has not made a start since September 15th with Dustin Ackley starting five straight games at second before Refsnyder’s recent run.
Jose Abreu needs one homer and four RBI to join Albert Pujols (2001-02) as the only players in history to hit 30-plus homers with 100-plus RBI in each of their first two major-league seasons.
Since breaking out with 11 runs scored against the Mets last Sunday night, the Yankees have scored just 13 runs over their past five games (2.6/game), losing three of five.
On this date
2013: In his final career appearance, Mariano Rivera is removed from the game by Jeter and Andy Pettitte, who come out of the dugout to make the pitching change.
1998: David Cone earns his 20th win in his final start of the season, finishing 20-7 with a 3.55 ERA. It is the second of his two 20-win seasons (also 1988 with the Mets).
1961: Roger Maris hits his 60th home run of the season off the Orioles’ Jack Fisher in a 3-2 Yankees win, tying Babe Ruth’s Major League record.