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Yankees 5, Orioles 9: Elimination

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That's all, folks

Jim McIsaac

At long last, it's over. It has felt like the Yankees were hanging onto the ledge for a while, threatening to drag themselves up over the side and put themselves in playoff contention. They simply never found a way to get over that last hump. Considering the injuries to the pitching staff that left Hiroki Kuroda as the only starter left standing at one point and the ineffectiveness of nearly everyone offensively, maybe it's a miracle that they were able to hold on this long. Coming into today, the Yankees needed to win all of their last five games with Kansas City losing all of their last five to have a chance. Losing today means that what happens from here won't matter.

Today started off promising enough with the Yankees putting up a run in each of the first three innings. Mark Teixeira got the scoring started with an RBI double that scored Chase Headley to put the team on the board. A Stephen Drew solo shot reminded us that miracles do happen in the second inning and Headley clubbed a homer of his own to make the score 3-0 after three innings. Then things fell apart.

Shane Greene, who has been so good for the Yankees this season, struggled mightily in the fourth inning. Six Orioles crossed the plate before the inning was over, putting the Yankees down by three runs so soon after they'd been up by the same amount. Neither team would score again until another rough inning for the Yankees in the eighth in which Chase Whitley and David Phelps combined to give up three more runs to Baltimore. The Yankees would threaten with runners on base, but only managed to push runs across on a two-run Teixeira home run in the bottom of the eighth inning. One base runner needed to reach to ensure that Derek Jeter would get another at-bat, but the Yankees went down 1-2-3 in the ninth to leave Jeter in the on deck circle.

By now you have no doubt heard that tomorrow's forecast for the last home game of the season looks bad. The rain is supposed to start tonight and go basically all day tomorrow. It seems like the chances of getting a game in are pretty bleak, which only matters because tomorrow is the last time to see Jeter play at home before retirement. Michael Kay said during today's game that the game would only be made up on Monday if it is needed for playoff implications. Should the Orioles and Angels be fighting for home field advantage at that point, they'd likely force the game to be played as the deciding factor. If the game does not matter it will not be made up. Today's win puts the Orioles at 95 wins to the Angels' 97, so make of that what you will.

That being the case, today might have been the last game Jeter plays at home in his career. Unfortunately, the Captain went 0-4 with a strikeout at the plate. That's not how anyone wants to see Jeter end his career in Yankee Stadium. Hope against hope that they can find a dry window to play in tomorrow, because you know that they will wait as long as they absolutely can to call the game. The Steinbrenners are probably already bringing in some people to perform anti-rain voodoo on the field immediately after the stadium is cleared.

If tomorrow happens, Hiroki Kuroda will make what is possibly his final start as a Yankee up against Kevin Gausman for the Orioles at 7:05 pm.