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September 19, 2005

A Lost Opportunity
by Larry Mahnken

Would the Yankees have won yesterday if they'd played Matt Lawton instead of Ruben Sierra? Would they have won if they hadn't used Alan Embree? I don't know.

The loss was frustrating because the Red Sox lost to the A's so quickly yesterday, and while the Yankees were playing you knew they had a chance to get within half a game. Had Boston not given up 12 runs so quickly, then it would have been more a relief, because the Yankees actually did what they needed to this weekend. They kept pace.

If the Yankees had won yesterday, they'd have been tied in the loss column. If they kept pace with the Red Sox for the rest of the way, and won the extra game, they'd need to win two of three games to win the division. Now, they'll need to keep pace, win the extra game, and win two of three to force a playoff game. Except for the playoff game, losing yesterday doesn't change their task much.

Anyway, I'm impressed with what the Yankees did last week. They should have, of course, won 2 of 3 from Tampa Bay, they swept them. They should have, of course, beaten the Blue Jays, and they did. Now they need to keep meeting and exceeding expectations, because Boston probably will, too. And with Cleveland winning like they have, and now tied with Boston in the standings, the division is probably the only way into the postseason, unless Chicago collapses completely.