The New York Yankees had yet another rough day on Sept. 11 concerning Derek Jeter. By now, the Yankees are used to putting Jeter on the DL this season, but this latest stint is likely to keep him out for the year, if not longer. It is just the latest blow in a season that should have been a disaster for New York, and in some ways already is -- yet on this day, the 2013 Yankees still got closer to the postseason than ever.
Hours after Jeter’s setback, the Yankees rallied for a 5-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. After coming back from a 3-1 deficit to tie the score, Robinson Cano broke it with a ninth-inning homer, with Lyle Overbay getting an insurance run on an infield single. New York needed that run once Mariano Rivera gave up a run, yet he managed to avoid blowing another save.
With Jeter and Mark Teixeira gone, Curtis Granderson limited, Rivera beginning to hit speedbumps in his final season, and Alex Rodriguez in general, the Yankees should not be one game back for the second wild card. But thanks to two straight wins in Baltimore and the Tampa Bay Rays’ continued decline, this is where New York is anyway.
The Yankees have been stuck in third, fourth or fifth place in the second wild card race for some time. Yet as of Sept. 12, New York is up to second after leapfrogging over Baltimore and the Cleveland Indians. After the way the Yankees have beaten adversity all season, it is fitting that they got this high right after losing Jeter for good.
For the next several weeks and months, there will be questions on whether Jeter can or should come back for one more year. With his unknown status, Rivera’s retirement and Rodriguez facing some kind of suspension next season, this is literally the last ride for the Yankees as assembled. If they put together one last playoff berth anyway, it will be the most likely postseason appearance in Yankees history.
Yet this is a race where the Rays lead the Yankees by one game, the Orioles and Indians by 1 1/2 games and the Kansas City Royals by just two games. There is truly no way to guess how this will turn out -- just as there was no way to guess New York would even get this far.