The New York Yankees know they’ll need some assistance from around the AL if they hope to reach the playoffs, but that’s been hard to come by.
While the teams they’re chasing continue to win, the Yankees try to keep doing their part in their push for a postseason berth and win a third straight game Saturday when their series with the Toronto Blue Jays continues.
The Yankees (72-62) beat Toronto 2-1 on Friday in the opener of this three-game set for their eighth victory in 12 games. Bobby Abreu and Jason Giambi each drove in a run and Carl Pavano pitched six solid innings, allowing three hits.
“That was a win we had to have,” said Mariano Rivera, who recorded his 32nd save of the season. “All these remaining games, we’re doing what we have to do.”
New York was unable to gain any ground in the AL East or wild card races, however, with both Tampa Bay and Boston winning on Friday. The Yankees are 10 1/2 games behind the division-leading Rays, who have won 21 of 28, and are six games behind the wild card-leading Red Sox, who are 17-8 in August.
Alex Rodriguez failed to homer for a season-high 10th consecutive game Monday, and he’s driven in just two runs while striking out 12 times during that span. He’s 3-for-17 (.176) without an RBI in his last five games versus Toronto.
Rodriguez isn’t the only member of the Yankees lineup who has been struggling. New York, averaging 4.8 runs this season, has failed to score more than three in four consecutive games after totaling 46 runs over its previous seven games.
That might not matter this weekend, though, given the Blue Jays’ own offensive struggles. Toronto has lost three straight, getting held to a total of three runs.
Marco Scutaro broke up the shutout in the sixth inning Friday with an RBI single, but the Blue Jays were held to five hits.
Toronto (68-66) is 2-5 at Yankee Stadium this season and has lost three straight there. In four of the losses, it’s been held to two runs or fewer.
The Yankees, who are 17-7 at home since July 5, hand the ball on Saturday to Darrell Rasner (5-9, 5.03 ERA). The right-hander is trying for his first win since July 12 when he beat Toronto. In the six starts and one relief appearance since, Rasner is 0-2 with a 5.14 ERA.
On Sunday, Rasner lasted 3 1-3 innings, allowing five runs - three earned - and eight hits, including two home runs, in an 8-7 win over Baltimore. It was his shortest start of the year.
“It was like I never pitched before. I’m disgusted with my outing,” Rasner said.
Rasner is 2-0 with a 3.57 ERA in three starts against the Blue Jays - all in Toronto.
John Parrish (1-0, 4.05) will be recalled from Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday to make his eighth appearance and fifth start of the season for the Blue Jays. Parrish last pitched for Toronto on Aug. 10 against Cleveland, allowing one run and four hits in three innings of relief.
As a starter, the left-hander is 1-0 with a 4.71 ERA. He has made 30 appearances against the Yankees, but only one as a starter in 2000 while with the Orioles. Parrish is 0-4 with a 4.50 ERA against New York.