New York Yankees' Chris Dickerson reacts to being called out on strikes to end the fourth inning of their MLB American League baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg

The Yankees lead in the AL East is down to one


The Yankees haven’t been in first place all season. As late as June 10 they were a half game back. But starting then they began to build a lead. By July 18 it was a ten game lead.  Since July 18 it has been whittled down to a single game.

The Orioles, fresh off taking two of three from New York, beat the Blue Jays in convincing fashion today, shutting them out behind a strong outing from Joe Saunders.  Meanwhile, down in Tampa, the Yankess lost 4-3 despite having their ace on the hill.

New York has a couple more against Tampa Bay — themselves only two and a half out — then a four game series against the Orioles. Oh, and then three more against the Rays after a quick trip to Boston.  Oh, and Robinson Cano is hurting too, having done something bad to his hip in this game, which will most likely cause him to miss tomorrow’s.

Are they going to escape this stretch alive?

Nathan Eovaldi expects to pitch out of bullpen if Yankees reach ALDS

New York Yankees starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)
AP Photo/Todd Kirkland
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Nathan Eovaldi hasn’t pitched in a month due to right elbow inflammation, but he told Chad Jennings of the Journal News today that he expects to pitch out of the bullpen if the Yankees advance to the ALDS against the Royals.

Eovaldi was originally expected to throw a 35-pitch bullpen session today, but the Yankees moved up his timetable after the news that CC Sabathia was checking into alcohol rehab. Instead, he threw 10 pitches in a bullpen session before facing hitters for the first time since his injury.

There isn’t enough time for Eovaldi to get stretched out to start during the ALDS, but he could still play an important role for the Yankees, especially with Adam Warren looking like the most likely option to replace Sabathia in the rotation.

Cardinals “optimistic” Yadier Molina will be on NLDS roster

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates as he arrives home after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
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Yadier Molina suffered a mild ligament tear in his left thumb on September 20, but the Cardinals announced Monday that they remain “optimistic” he’ll be on the roster for the upcoming NLDS.

Molina visited a hand specialist Monday and Jenifer Langosch of reports that he’ll have a custom splint built in hopes that he’ll be able to hit and catch. He’s still not 100 percent, but even a limited Molina could be better than the alternative. That would be Tony Cruz in this case.

The Cardinals will meet the winner of Wednesday’s Wild Card game between the Cubs and the Pirates. Game 1 of the NLDS will take place Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET in St. Louis.