As expected, the main topic of discussion at Joe Girardi's pregame news conference is the Yankees' continuing slide, which has seen them go from 10 games ahead of the AL East on July 18 to clinging to a one-game lead over Baltimore heading into tonight's game against the Tampa Bay Rays, who are in third place, 2½ games back.
And, as he has just about every night the past couple of weeks, Girardi sought to minimize the effect the slide was having on him or his team.
"We were three games out after the first three games of the season and people were worried about us," he said. "I think everyone understands that it doesn't matter where you are after 50 games. It doesn't matter where you are after 100, it doesn't matter where you are after 160. Usually it matters where you are after 162, but sometimes it's 163. The guys know we have to go out and win, that's the bottom line."
Asked if he thought there was any relevance at all to the Yankees losing such a large lead, Girardi said, "It doesn't really mean anything. There's nothing we can do about that now. The only thing we can do about something is tonight. The only thing that matters is getting where you want to get, no matter how you get there."
And asked to provide a positive to the recent run of negative results, Girardi said, "We're still in first place. I think people lose sight of that. Sometimes there's no rhyme or reason why a team gets cold. We haven't really hit, the last couple weeks, like we're capable of. You go through those streaks in the course of the season. And they always turn.
"I like what we have out there. They've found ways to win, and I believe in them. The bottom line is, we're in first place and in control of our destiny."