I wish I could take credit for the title, but it’s an adaptation of something I saw on Twitter.
Are they letting the Red Sox have a slight advantage going into the final three games?
It’s subtle, but it’s possible.
With the Yankees playing 3 games against the Rays in Tampa and the Red Sox playing 3 against the Orioles in Baltimore; as the Red Sox are holding a 1 game lead in the Wild Card, common sense says that the Yankees would prefer to have the Red Sox—in their current hapless configuration—in the playoffs ahead of the younger, stronger, fresher, faster and pitching-rich Rays.
So did they shun using Jeter and A-Rod to that end? Did they put Scott Proctor into the game to pitch knowing what was likely to happen?
Any everyday player will tell you that it’s far more emotionally exhausting to sit on the bench for a game—especially a 14-inning game—rather than play in it; Jeter and A-Rod didn’t exactly get to “rest” even though they didn’t play.
The Red Sox are a horrible team right now; it took them 14 innings to beat what was essentially a Triple A lineup.
But now they’re heading to Baltimore with that 1 game lead; the Yankees are going to play the Rays who they beat in 3 of 4 games last week.
If the Yankees go all out tonight to beat the Rays, hoping that the Red Sox take care of business against the Orioles, it will be clear what was happening last night. They’ll deny it, but obviously they would prefer the wounded Red Sox in the playoffs to the Rays.
In retrospect, it could be a mistake if the Red Sox get themselves together in time for the playoffs, but you can’t deny the appearance of competitive impropriety.
The Yankees don’t owe the Rays or Red Sox anything, but don’t tell that to the Rays who were watching and presumably screaming at the TV while it was occurring.
Tonight will give a clearer indication of whether that was a “full rest” night for the Yankees star players or if they were manipulating the situation to their perceived advantage.
The answer’s clear from my end.