AL East Round-up: Separating the pack edition

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Aug 29, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (2) hits a single during the sixth inning in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

New York Yankees (70-64)

Should it be embarrassing to other teams that the Yankees may finish above them? Their starting rotation on the mound was decimated by injuries and suspensions. Their batting lineup continues to look like an old folks home for past greats of the game, who break a toe every time they move. Yet, they are the Yankees. They do know how to win.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi deserves maybe a purple heart for what he has been able to accomplish so far with so little he’s had to work with. They are likely not going to win the division, being eight games back; however, they are only 3.5 games back of a wildcard spot. To put it in perspective, the Yankees have a 7% chance of making the postseason while the Toronto Blue Jays, the team that was winning the division off and on for most of the year, is now only at a 1% chance of making it. As much as that may anger Jays fans who hate the ‘evil empire’, that is an incredible achievement with all due respect.

The team went 7-3 for the last 10 days, ending in a 2-0 loss to those very Blue Jays. Jacoby Ellsbury, who was hitting .522, with 4 home runs, 9 RBIs, and 3 stolen bases, recently sprained his ankle, according to ESPN. Chris Toman of reported that “there won’t be an official diagnosis until Ellsbury is checked out by team doctors once the club heads back to New York.” With the way Ellsbury has been playing for the Yankees, they will want him to heal quickly if they have any chance of catching the wildcard leaders.

Some Yankees are pushing through the hard times. Brian McCann also has been doing anything he can with the bat to help his team win. He hit .250 this week with 6 RBIs. Masahiro Tanaka may be able to come back this September, playing simulated games in his rehab assignment, but that is uncertain from where his condition is at the moment. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that “he had general soreness in his arm and he believes, according to [Brian] Cashman (Yankees general manager), that it’s from a lack of cardiovascular fitness, that he needs to get back in shape a little bit better before he returns to the mound.”

If this team is going to make a run for another World Series championship, they are going to need everyone playing the best that they can. It’s great to spend time celebrating Derek Jeter’s retirement. But when he is only hitting .167 in the two-spot, maybe a few more adjustments need to be made first.