The Cleveland Indians winning their game against the Chicago White Sox was enough for the Yankees to be officially eliminated from postseason contention for only the second time since 1995. This is a somber moment for the Yankees who lost again tonight to the Tampa Bay Rays and now begin to look forward to 2014. There will be many players who will not be back. Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera will be soaking in retirement and Phil Hughes along with Joba Chamberlain will likely be in different uniforms. There are other questions regarding Curtis Granderson and Hiroki Kuroda who will be free-agents that the Yankees will need to make qualifying offers to. Coming off an injury-plagued season I expect Granderson to accept the qualifying offer. Hiroki Kuroda wanted to pitch for Japan before retiring so I see that as a road block for the Yankees considering Kuroda's age. He had an ace season but will fail to be a .500 pitcher after being the most reliable starter all season long. Kuroda has been the model of dependency for the Yankees in 2013 and his record reflects the Yankees inability to score runs when they needed to score them most. Joe Girardi did the best he could with this team, which used 56 different players this season; a new Yankees franchise record.
Coming back to this game. Phil Hughes had nothing, which has been status quo for the free-agent-to-be pitcher. With the loss, he will likely finish the year with a 4-14 record and a 5.19 ERA. Phil Hughes has some adjustments to make before making his debut in a new uniform. The fans of his new team will likely get impatient with Hughes but I have a feeling that being out of Yankee Stadium will bode well for Hughes. David Huff was god early, but Evan Longoria hit a three-run home run in the sixth inning to take the life out of the Yankees. He would also homer to right in the ninth to give him 31 homers on the year and nine against the Yankees, which ties the most for an opposing player against the Yankees. Jose Cruz hit nine against the Yankees in 2001 and Longoria has a chance to surpass Cruz because he has one game remaining against the Yankees tomorrow night.
Tomorrow night will also be the Yankees final game at Yankee Stadium in 2013. Will Mariano Rivera get his inning in center field? It would certainly be a fitting end to a spectacular career since the Yankees are out of it and won't need Rivera in anymore high-leverage situations. Ivan Nova will be on the mound for the Yankees coming off his shutout of the Giants on Saturday when the Yankees were still in the thick of things in the postseason chase.