The New York Yankees are playing meaningful games in September against the Boston Red Sox again. However, the Yankees' pitching hasn’t risen up to the challenge or to the Red Sox so far. After Mariano Rivera blew a save in a 9-8 extra inning loss on Sept. 5, New York gave up 12 more runs and blew another lead to Boston on Sept. 6, as the 12-8 loss cost it another chance to gain ground in the wild card race.
This time around, the Red Sox rallied over the Yankees before Rivera could get there. At first, it looked like he wouldn’t be needed because New York jumped to an 8-3 lead after five innings, scoring two runs each in four of those innings. But when the seventh inning came around and Andy Pettitte got taken out, Boston torched its rival’s bullpen again.
Mike Napoli delivered the big blow with a grand slam to tie the game. With the Yankees reeling, Shane Victorino put them behind with a two-run homer to start the eighth, before a bases loaded walk and a RBI single by Stephen Drew sealed the deal.
Despite chasing Boston’s Felix Doubront out in the fourth inning, the Yankees’ early offense was wasted just like it was the night before. These two losses could wind up costing New York a playoff spot when the season ends, given where it could have been with two wins.
The Tampa Bay Rays are starting to fade, which is the big reason why the Yankees are only 2 1/2 games behind in the wild card race. However, this means New York could have only been a half-game behind without these recent come-from-ahead losses. Instead, the Yankees not only remain a few games back, they are still in fourth place in the second wild card group behind the Rays, Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles.
The Red Sox are beginning to blow out the formerly tight AL East, as they are taking advantage of everyone else’s problems. Because the Yankees haven’t done the same when it counted, it shows the biggest difference between these two arch-rivals -- other than their bullpens -- and shows why only one of them may show up in October.