Larry Mahnken has been doing an impressive job covering the Yanks this season. He has a good critical eye and he's a passionate screwjob too. It's been fun to read his column and watch how he tries to balance his emotions vs. his intellect.
Think the Yankees series against the Tigers is critical? Mahnken does:
If there ever was a team this season that needed a three game series at home against the Detroit Tigers, it's the Yankees right now.
And if there ever was a team this season that you felt nervous about going into a three game series against the Detroit Tigers, it's the Yankees right now.
...The Red Sox got back into the race on merit, by playing .800 ball against great teams for two weeks. But if they finish the comeback and overtake the Yankees for the AL East title, it'll be because the Yankees gave it to them. There are only three games left on the schedule against a team that offers a serious challenge to the Yankees, and that's not until the very end of the season, where hopefully it won't matter. The Red Sox are good, but they're not so good that they can expect to keep winning 80% of their games against even the weakest competition. If the Yankees win 2/3 of their games like they should expect to, it would take a miracle for Boston to win the division--a miracle that seems even more unlikely after last night's collapse. But if it were to happen that way, I don't think you can blame the Yankees for blowing the East (they'd be in the playoffs anyway), you'd have to give the Sox the credit they deserve.
But I don't want to give the Sox any credit, and I don't want to give them any chances. The Yanks have to win these games.