By Brad Carroll
The New York Yankees sure know how to get your hopes up. And they know equally as well how to completely destroy those hopes in quick order. After taking two of the three from the Red Sox to start last week, including what should have been a momentum-building victory Thursday night, where Mark Teixeira homered off Koji Uehara to tie the game in the ninth and Chase Headley went deep one batter later to win it, the Yankees fell flat on their face in a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals.
The Yankees didn't just drop two of three games at home to the Royals with their playoff hopes dangling by a thread, they were shut out twice. The Bronx Bombers couldn't push across a run in either the first or last game of the series. The Yankees couldn't even score a run on a day where they honored one of the greatest players in franchise history, Derek Jeter.
Luckily, the team somehow won the middle game to barely stay in the playoff race.
The Yankees obviously have no idea what to do with momentum and now sit 4.5 games back of the second wild card with 21 games to play. The Yankees have to jump Seattle for the final playoff spot, along with Detroit, which is a half-game back, and Cleveland, which is four games back. Toronto is on the outside looking in at five games out.
The Yankees are just 5-7 over their last four series, a horrible record for a team with this much talent in the middle of a pennant race. The series loss to the Royals may have been what ends the Yankees season for good, we just won't know it for another week.
Here are three players who did their best to get the Yankees on the right track during a 3-3 week, and those who couldn't do anything to help, in our 3 Up and 3 Down feature.
Michael Pineda: In his five starts since returning from the disabled list, Pineda has allowed one earned run, two earned runs, one earned run, two earned runs and zero earned runs. He has one victory in those five starts. Yes, one. It's not his fault, rather the ineptitude of the Yankees offense that shoulders the blame fully. In his last two starts, the Yankees were shutout twice. Pineda is one of the few players actually doing his best to get the team to the postseason. He's getting little help.
Adam Warren: He threw a perfect five innings in three relief appearances this week, striking out five. He got the all-important victory Thursday against the Red Sox.
Hiroki Kuroda: He allowed one run on four hits in seven innings of work in beating the Red Sox in his last start. Kuroda struck out eight and didn't walk a batter. He hasn't allowed more than two runs in each of his last four starts. Kuroda is 10-8 with a 3.78 ERA this season, one of the few bright spots on the team this year.
Jacoby Ellsbury: He went 3-for-23 (.130) over his last six games with a pair of RBI. He went 2-for-12 against Kansas City and 1-for-11 against Boston. His hot-streak is a thing of the past.
Carlos Beltran: He went 4-for-19 (.211) this past week with two RBI. In the series opener against Kansas City, with the Yankees trailing 1-0 with a runner on second and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Beltran struck out looking to end the game. Beltran is batting just .238 with 15 homers and 49 RBI in 105 games this season. We were against signing Beltran as a free agent in the offseason, especially at three years, and we haven't been proven wrong yet.
Stephen Drew: Here's another player we didn't want, and he hasn't proven us wrong either. Drew is 0-for-17 over his last seven games. He's batting .159 this season. It's amazing general manager Brian Cashman is reportedly safe from getting fired after yet another horrible job done in building this team.