Hughes (4-13, 4.91) still may be pitching for his job on Monday, but the Yankees don't have an obvious replacement. Yankees' manager Joe Girardi could go with David Huff, who has been effective out of the pen of late, or long man Adam Warren. The problem with both of those choices -- besides the fact they don't have dominant stuff -- is they are not stretched out and so Hughes would probably be the first option in reserve anyway.
In the scenario Girardi has chosen, he likely will just have a quick hook if Hughes struggles on Monday.
ANOTHER PLANET: Girardi said he didn't need any speeches to explain the importance of this series to his players. They know.
"I think they would have to be on another planet not to know how important this stretch of games is for us," Girardi said. "No, they understand. We are used to playing in October -- and that's our goal."
If they didn't know, they could read this, which maps out how the Yankees can make it to the playoffs.
Why does Girardi think the Yankees can put up a 21-8 run?
"I've seen our guys do it," Girardi said. "We are a much deeper team offensively than we were in the past. But in saying that, you have to be able to put it all together."
REYNOLDS RAPPING: Even against the righty Miguel Gonzalez, Girardi went with the right-handed Mark Reynolds over left-handed hitting Lyle Overbay. Girardi said that he likes the adjustments Reynolds has made since coming to the Yankees. Girardi thinks he can be a difference-maker if he gets hot. Reynolds is 9-for-34 (.265) with two homers and six RBIs as a Yankee.