Opposite dugout: Yankees desperate for wins as Jeter plays final series in New York

yankees-logo.jpgManager: Joe Girardi, seventh year Record: 80-75 Last 10 games: 5-5 Who to watch: SS Derek Jeter (.255/.303/.311, 22 extra-base hits, 43 RBIs); CF Jacoby Ellsbury (.271/.328/.419, 27 doubles, 16 HR, 70 RBIs, 39 SB); RHP Michael Pineda (3-5, 2.15 ERA, 0.93 WHIP); RHP Brandon McCarthy (7-4, 2.54 ERA, 1.09 WHIP) Season series vs. O's: 4-11, 37 runs scored, 72 runs allowed Pitching probables Sept. 22: Michael Pineda vs. Wei-Yin Chen, 7 p.m., MASN HD Sept. 23: Brandon McCarthy vs. TBA, 7 p.m., MASN HD Sept. 24: Shane Greene vs. TBA, 1 p.m., MASN HD Sept. 25: Hiroki Kuroda vs. TBA, 7 p.m., MASN HD Series breakdown The Yankees are hoping the next four days carry more than the ceremonial significance of Derek Jeter's final series at Yankee Stadium as the club needs to keep winning to remain alive for a playoff spot. Having already been eliminated from the American League East race by the Orioles, New York trails Kansas City by 4 1/2 games for the second AL wild card. But the Yankees have three teams in their way of cracking the postseason, as Cleveland is 3 1/2 games back and Seattle is within 1 1/2. And to get those wins, New York will first have to go through Baltimore, which has dominated the Yankees this year. The Orioles are 11-4 against the Yanks in 2014, having outscored them 72-37. New York dropped three of four at Camden Yards from Sept. 12-14 and has lost nine of its last 11 meetings with the Orioles. The Yankees have awoken a little in their final postseason push. They've won four of five games, but only after losing five of their previous six. New York continues to be offensively challenged, having scored more than three runs only twice in its last 11 contests, and has plated no more than five during that time. But both five-run performances came in the last three games. The team is pitching well right now, allowing 27 runs in its last nine games (three allowed per contest). Those trends are in line with the way the Yankees have performed this season - OK on the mound, not so much at the plate. The Yankees, owners of a $197.2 million payroll on opening day, have scored the second-fewest runs in the AL (597) while ranking eighth with 142 homers, 11th with a .245 average and 13th with a .687 OPS. Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, in the first year of a seven-year, $153 million contract, is in line for his lowest OPS (.747) since he was limited to 18 games in 2010. But he has still arguably been the Yankees' best offensive player. He's batting .271 with a team-high 27 doubles, 16 homers, 70 RBIs and 71 runs scored. He ranks second in the AL with 39 steals. Left fielder Brett Gardner leads the team with a .760 OPS while adding 17 homers, 58 RBIs and 20 steals. Catcher Brian McCann leads the team with 22 homers and 71 RBIs in 134 games. First baseman Mark Teixeira has added 21 homers and 58 RBIs despite batting .216 in 119 games. At 40, Jeter ranks last among the Yankees' qualified players with a .614 OPS - only last season's .542 mark has been lower in his career. The future Hall of Famer has added 22 extra-base hits, 43 RBIs and 45 runs scored in his final season. On the mound, the Yankees have been solid despite spending much of the year without their entire intended rotation. The club ranks eighth in the AL with a 3.71 team ERA, seventh with a 3.72 starters' ERA and ninth with a 3.65 bullpen ERA. New York's 3.02 ERA this month is the third-best in the AL. In their last four games against the Yankees this season, the Orioles get to see four of the club's better starters, each of whom has posted an ERA of 3.77 or better. Right-hander Michael Pineda pitches tonight against 16-game winner Wei-Yin Chen, the only starter Baltimore has announced in the series. Pineda has been excellent in limited action this season, going 3-5 with a 2.15 ERA in 11 starts. The 25-year-old has allowed two runs or fewer in all but one outing. Right-hander Brandon McCarthy pitches Tuesday, looking to extend his streak of quality starts to four. McCarthy has gone 7-4 with a 2.54 ERA in 13 starts since the Yankees acquired him from the Diamondbacks, with whom he was 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA. Over his last three starts, he's 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA. Rookie right-hander Shane Greene is slated to pitch Wednesday and he'll also be looking to keep a strong run going. The 25-year-old has two earned runs in 17 innings for a 1.06 ERA over his last three starts. Overall this season, Greene is 5-3 with a 3.24 ERA in 14 games (13 starts). Right-hander Hiroki Kuroda is scheduled to pitch Thursday's finale. The 39-year-old is 7-9 with a 3.77 ERA in 31 starts. He has three earned runs in 13 2/3 innings for a 1.98 ERA over his last two outings. So the Orioles will be seeing some strong starting pitching over the next four days with an opportunity to completely eliminate the Yankees from the postseason chase. New York will likely be playing its best, however, with its playoff chances fading and with The Captain saying his final farewell to Yankee Stadium.

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