So that was not a fun series. Two blown saves, an extra-inning loss, hideous beards and a near sweep avoided only thanks to a wild pitch. Three really ugly and painful losses to a loathed rival. No vengeance for the extracurricular activities that took place in Boston. Just a sound, thorough beating in spite of scoring 29 runs. The bullpen completely fell apart and the team has no fifth starter to speak of. But, after all the horror and emotional trauma, the Yankees are still in the exact same position they were Thursday evening: 2 1/2 games out the Wild Card, right in the thick of it along with the Orioles and the Indians and chasing the Rays. Essentially, all the Yankees lost was time and opportunity, which is a lot better than it could have been.
Like after any good weekend bender, it's best to take inventory and survey the damage that has been caused. Derek Jeter got hurt again, because 2013, which is probably not the worst thing in the world for the Yankees. The team can't afford to have him hitting as poorly as he worked himself back into the game. And another attempt to start him back up likely wouldn't go much better. Eduardo Nunez is no prize out there, but an 82 wRC+ is still a significant improvement over Jeter's 47. Shut The Captain down, and let him try to come back at full strength next year. It's not really good for him or the team to keep trying to trot him out there hobbled. Same for Chris Stewart. He's clearly been horribly damaged by getting hit on the foot and should be placed in Hospice care immediately. Playing him is just too risky!
The other big issue over the series was the bullpen. The one constant all year has been the Yankees relief corps, and it was completely eviscerated. David Robertson got hurt, Mariano Rivera is proving more and more mortal with each passing day and Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain have continued to be terrible at their chosen professions. The only real option I see here is to, in the very least, give Dellin Betances whatever innings Joba was getting. He certainly didn't earn them. Most of the players are pretty entrenched in their current roles, and the best thing to do is hope they get over their struggles. And hopefully Cesar Cabral can fill in for Boone Logan as he deals with his elbow concerns.
The fifth starter is an issue that I really don't see an answer for. Maybe give Brett Marshall a start, but considering how he has pitched in 2013 who knows how that will work out. Or perhaps Adam Warren. But definitely keep Hughes locked in the catacombs. The Yankees will probably just have to go out there and score a hell of a lot of runs anytime that fifth spot rolls around for the rest of the year if they want to salvage a win.
It's clear this team has a ton of problems right now. The injuries continue to pile up, and once reliable parts of the team are no longer so. But the final playoff spot is still right there for the taking, and whomever earns it is likely to have just as many warts as the Yankees (as evidenced by the Rays awful showing in Seattle). You take your lumps, forget about it and move forward. And ideally your head coach stops making insane decisions based on the suggestions of his binder.