Injuries, slumps, red-hot competitors, trades and waiver acquisitions. The Yankees have seen it all. And we're just talking about the last 30 days. Over the course of 162 games, you're bound to see all kinds of turns and drama though for the great teams, there remain some constants.
That's precisely what the Yankees expect each year and what they must rely on here down the stretch.
The Yankees suffered a heartbreaking loss last night at the Stadium to Toronto when their normally reliable closer, Rafael Soriano, blew a two-run lead and the Yankees ultimately fell in 11 innings. The Yankees could have gained a game on Tampa but instead, Baltimore picked up a game on the Bombers.
Last night was even more painful—literally—as Mark Teixeira left the game with a Grade-one calf strain and may miss two weeks or more. The Yankees have survived Teixeira's stints of missing three or four games here and there but they may have to miss him for at least half of the month of September.
Derek Jeter had a similar injury last season and he missed three weeks.
If there's one team built for handling injuries like this, it's the Yankees. Fears can grow quickly that the Yankees may not be able to hold on to their tenuous lead but the Bombers are getting stronger in their pitching rotation and hope to have Andy Pettitte back soon.
New York has 34 games left to hold off the competition and secure another American League East division crown. 28 of those games will come against division foes. The Yankees must do what they always do and that's feast on the Blue Jays and Red Sox and outlast Tampa and Baltimore.
Here are the five players that the Bombers will need to rely on most to help them emerge as victors down the stretch.