The New York Yankees were doing so well, having gotten to within one game of the second AL Wild Card. But then things suddenly started going against them.
The Yankees are 4-7 in their last 11 games, including six losses to the rival Red Sox. While Boston is a good team, there's no excuse for losing that many games by 24 combined runs.
Things are going south quickly, and the Yankees have to do something to fix it.
Curtis Granderson Has to Step Up
With the loss of Brett Gardner, Granderson was forced into the leadoff spot, where he's gone 2-for-12 with a double and a triple.
The two hits came Saturday, but outside of that, Granderson has struck out five times.
Gardner was batting .274 from the leadoff spot this year, and his loss has shown to hurt the Yankees. Still, Granderson has had success in that role before, carrying a lifetime .271 average from the first spot.
Keep Winning the Close Games
The Yankees have a 27-15 record in one-run games this year. With Toronto, Tampa Bay, San Francisco and Houston left on the schedule, they'll have the advantage.
Against the teams left of their schedule, they're 8-1 against them in one-run games this year. So, they've played the teams tough and need to keep doing more of the same.
The other four teams are 83-102 in one-run games, with the Rays being the only team with a winning record, which is one game above .500.
Next Week's Pitching Matchups Prime for the Picking
Over the next week, the Yankees will face R.A. Dickey, J.A. Happ, Todd Redmond, Tim Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong and Yusmeiro Petit.
All six pitchers are ones the Yankees can take advantage of.
This year, Dickey is 1-2 against the Yankees with a 3.38 ERA, while Happ is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA. Redmond went 5.2 innings, giving up two runs in his only start against New York, but he still doesn't have a lot of experience.
Lincecum has struggled all year, although he has shown flashes of brilliance. Vogelsong isn't even close to what he was last year, and Petit has never had long-term success in the big leagues. Coming into this year, he had a 5.54 ERA across five seasons.
There will be a few challenges with each of these starters, but the Yankees have matchups that they can easily exploit.