Adam Warren stared into his glove. How could he have just missed the comebacker that was hit to him? Granted, he had to jump for it, but he probably still should have gotten it. He slapped his glove in desperation and frustration. The Yankees had come into the game just two games over .500, and were on the verge of getting swept by the last-place Chicago White Sox. The Yankees needed to get clicking, and they did. They cranked out five runs in nine innings, and looked poised to salvage the final game of a disappointing road trip. Then, Robinson Cano crushed a go-ahead home run in the top of the twelfth inning. So here was Warren in his second inning of work, with Mariano Rivera already have blown a save in the ninth. He got the first two outs easily before that comebacker.
Warren looked in for the sign. Fastball, over the plate, a get-me-over strike. Alexei Ramirez served it into left field. First and third. Wiping sweat from his brow, Warren paced around the mound. What was wrong? Why couldn't he shut down the worst offense in the whole American League? He threw a ball, outside. All the incoming signs consisted of one finger, pointing straight down towards the brown dirt below. He set, fired, and grooved one over the plate. Alejandro De Aza ripped it into right center field. Brett Gardner had no hope throwing Ramirez out, and two runs scored to close the book on the most excruciating loss of the 2013 New York Yankees season.
Twenty-three days later, the Yankees find themselves up against the Pale Hose once again. This time, though, the series is much more crucial. Three and a half games back of the Oakland Athletics for the second wild card spot, the Yankees find themselves as legitimate contenders to reach the playoffs. They've won 15 of their past 23, though only 4 out of their last 9. The Yankees are fading a bit, and they can't afford to do that now that the calendar has flipped to September. At their home park, they should feel comfortable enough to record three consecutive wins.
Unfortunately for Yankees fans, many things stand in the way of a CWSweep. First and foremost is a struggling offense that has only recorded twenty runs in its last six games. Derek Jeter has been in a big funk, and Robinson Cano has cooled off, as has Alfonso Soriano. Brett Gardner and Mark Reynolds are hitting pretty well right now, but that's about it. Scoring around three runs a game will not cut it against a fairly decent White Sox pitching staff.
The second detriment to the Yankees this series are the starters. Phil Hughes gets the ball for the first game, and he has been awful for the entire season. Hiroki Kuroda starts game two, and in his past three starts he has given up five runs or more in all of them. And the finale will be started by CC Sabathia, who, like Phil, has been terrible. He's been so predictably bad that I wouldn't extend him a qualifying offer if he was a pending free agent. That's how much I want him off of the Yankees.
One final thing I'll touch upon is the fact that the White Sox just got swept by Boston. This could be interpreted as either good for the Yankees (they're ice cold right now after winning 5 of 6) or bad for the Yankees (they'll definitely not want to finish their AL East road trip with losses). Either way, though, the Yankees need a sweep very badly. They need to take advantage of these series against terrible teams, and they could not do that against the Toronto Blue Jays. They need a sweep, and they need it now.