Girardi: We are 'darn close' to must-wins

September, 17, 2013
9/17/13
11:28
PM ET
Ichiro Tom Szczerbowski/Getty ImagesIchiro Suzuki & Co. couldn't muster a run to support Andy Pettitte on Tuesday night.
TORONTO -- Joe Girardi knows the Yankees are wasting a chance at something special. This team, with all its injuries and controversy, had the playoffs right in its sights. It would be quite an accomplishment.

For a franchise built on winning championships, just qualifying for the postseason could be the Yankees' World Series in 2013. But the dream is disintegrating in front of the manager's eyes with each lifeless at-bat.

On Tuesday, the Yankees did not take advantage of Andy Pettitte again pitching like the team's ace, as they went down meekly 2-0 to R.A. Dickey in a tidy 2 hours, 25 minutes.

Where does that leave the Yankees? They are in must-win territory. They have 11 to go, and to really have a shot, they might need to run the table or at least go 10-1.

"We're close," Joe Girardi said in the road manager's office when asked whether the Yankees must win from here on out. "We're darn close."

The Yankees have Phil Hughes starting Wednesday.

On Tuesday, all the postgame stories should have been about Classic Andy. It was another big-game effort. At 41, he went 110 pitches for his seventh quality start in a row. If he picks up another Sunday, on Mariano Rivera Day at Yankee Stadium, he will match his career-best streak set in 1997 and again in 1998 when he was in his mid-20s.

"You can't ask any more out of him," Girardi said. "He was running on fumes out there in the seventh inning."

Pettitte's ERA is 2.01 in those seven starts. The same fighter who has been on display since he matched up with John Smoltz at Fulton County Stadium more than a decade and a half ago is still alive and well. His sense of urgency is apparent. He knows what is expected of him. Does the rest of his team have it?

"I hope so," Pettitte said. "Obviously, when you get shut out, it doesn't look like it, but if there is not [urgency] with some of these guys, they are playing the wrong sport and are definitely in the wrong organization. You just have to find a way to get a win and win some ballgames. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us. We have to come out and play and play good."

Pettitte actually kicked himself for the one mistake. He said it cost the Yankees the ballgame when he allowed Colby Rasmus to go yard for the first run of the game on a 2-2 cutter in the fourth inning.

"I tried to bounce a cutter on the top of the plate to see if I could get him to swing," Pettitte said. "It was just stupid. It was a bad thought process. It is just a bad idea."

The Yankees really lost because of their offense, which missed opportunities early and then had none in the middle or late innings. If they are going to have any chance, things have to change quickly.

“We have to get going,” Alex Rodriguez said. “We are running out of time.”

The Yankees still have three with the Rays, beginning next Tuesday in the Bronx. They need to arrive at those games with a chance.

"It's frustrating," Girardi said. "You have to go out and win tomorrow. That's the bottom line. We are getting where we can't lose much more."

Pettitte added, "We were right there. We had a good shot at it. We played bad and we put ourselves in a horrible position."

Pettitte actually didn't do it. His teammates did.
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
12 2.51 135 129
OTHER LEADERS
BAB. Gardner .287
HRM. Teixeira 17
RBIM. Teixeira 47
RB. Gardner 54
OPSM. Teixeira .808
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135