- Andrew Marchand, ESPN Senior Writer
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NEW YORK -- With the Yankees' elimination number down to one, reality is setting in for Joe Girardi.
"It is not a good feeling," Girardi said after the Yankees lost 7-0 to the Tampa Bay Rays. "It hurts. You think about how this all started on February 15th or whatever it was. We put ourselves in pretty good position after a month and a half and then we struggled. We put ourselves in pretty good position 10 days ago [just a game back] and now we struggled."
The Yankees are now 3-7 in their past 10 games. If the Yanks lose again or the Indians win just once more, the Yankees are finished.
"Right now, we need a ton of help and we need to win every game or we are not going to get in," Girardi said. "That is the hard part because of what you go through."
What Girardi still doesn't want to hear are any excuses, especially ones about fatigue.
"It is interesting, that word tired," Girardi said. "When you are going well and you are swinging the bat well and you are winning games, guys aren't tired. When you are not scoring runs and losing games, then all of sudden guys are tired. That word comes up a lot. To me, it is an excuse. That is what it is. I have not forgotten what it is like to play and you were beat up. You have to find a way. That is your job."
KURODA STRUGGLES: Hiroki Kuroda was a Cy Young candidate. And then the last six weeks happened. In his past eight starts, Kuroda went 0-6 with a 6.55 ERA. The five earned runs he gave up on Tuesday were the most he has allowed at Yankee Stadium since he allowed five in July 2012 against the Los Angeles Angels.
"His stuff has just not been as crisp," Girardi said. "His sinker has been a little bit flatter. It hasn't had the same amount of bite to it. It is more across. His slider has been OK, at times, but not as consistent as earlier in the year."
Kuroda (11-13, 3.31 ERA) said he doesn't know if he will start Sunday. Girardi said he hasn't figured out his rotation in Houston beyond Friday, when Andy Pettitte will start.
GOOD THING GEORGE ISN'T AROUND FOR THIS: George Steinbrenner used to go nuts when his hometown Tampa Rays would beat the Yankees in exhibition games, so he would not like the fact that the Rays have won the past four regular-season series between the two clubs.
SHUT OUT: The Yankees have been shut out 11 times, the most since 1990 (15).
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3hAndrew Marchand and Wallace Matthews