Playoffs Getting Closer? (Rays vs Yankees)

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Matt Moore kicked off his Major League career with 5 fantastic innings, shutting out the AL East leading New York Yankees who outscored the Rays 8-2 after Moore came off. Destroying Bartolo Colon, the Tampa Bay Rays won 15-8, moving them to two games behind the Red Sox as Boston take on the Yankees this weekend.

The Yankees didn’t throw the game, but they didn’t look like they were trying too hard to win it. On Wednesday, after beating the Rays 4-2, they clinched their 12th AL East title in 16 years. On Thursday, they showed up an hour later than what you would normally expect on a night game. They looked loose, too loose on the field during the game.

Russell Martin saying prior to the game that he hates the Red Sox probably helps shed some light on how the Yankees, now that they can’t be caught by Boston in the AL East chase, seem intent on ruining it for the Red Sox. They got the Yanks-Sox weekend thing to do it first hand, and they have another series with the Rays to close out September.

So what is there for Girardi? Probably finding out who to lock in along with CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova into certain post-season starts. Phil Hughes is injured, A.J. Burnett is having a terrible season. Colon had sort of a comeback year, but late 2011 isn’t what it was earlier on. Freddy Garcia has a shot as well.

You think about the third game is going to be five days from Wednesday, so you can pretty much let everyone continue to pitch and make that decision at the end of it. Girardi also needs to find out how to juggle between resting his players to keep them from quite a few injuries that have been plaguing them this season. Our responsibility is to our club. That’s the bottom line. I have to make sure our guys are healthy and rested and ready to go next Friday. Obviously our goal is to get home-field advantage, and the important thing to me about some of these lineups is that we take care of our guys and have them ready to play next Friday.

On Thursday, it was just play and forget. The Rays scored in each of the first 5 innings, including a huge fourth, with Johnny Damon and BJ Upton hitting home runs after Ben Zorbist hit one in the third inning. Both Zorbist and Upton finished with 3 hits each.

For the Yankees, who were resting Russel Martin, Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez, Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano, were striking out like flies. Matt Moore struck out 11(!!) to help the Rays avoid a four game sweep in this series. Jorge Posada, who played 1B, struck out four times.