No playoffs for you

I am throwing down the gauntlet.

The Yankees are not making the playoffs.

New York had an opportunity to pick up a game on both the Red Sox and A’s in the American League East and Wild Card races, respectively.

Instead, the Yanks blew it for the second straight night against the Rays. Tampa Bay erased a 5-2 lead to take a 7-6 win and capture yet another series — its third in four tries — against the Yanks. The Rays have won nine of 13 versus New York this year. In 2003 and 2004, the Yankees were 29-9 against the Rays.

Times have changed.

And the Rays are getting cocky. Jonny Gomes, who scored the game-winning run in the eighth on Tanyon Sturtze’s wild pitch, talked smack after the game.

Line "It just shows that the Yankees with their history and with their payroll and with their All-Stars, they’re not bullet-proof. In between the lines, there are no salaries and no world champions. It’s 9-on-9 plus your bullpen and your bench, and it just shows anyone can win."

New York’s bullpen, which has been a problem all year long, blew another one. Al Leiter was decent, but Aaron Small, Aaron Small and Sturtze didn’t get the job done.

The Yanks now head to Chicago’s South Side for three games with the White Sox. Last week, the Pale Hose took two of three from the Pinstripers. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will be in SoCal for four games with the Angels and the A’s will host the wretched Royals.

As a longtime Yankee fan, I am beginning to worry. The Yankees really need to get their act together this weekend in Chicago. They should not have lost two straight to the Rays — the Yanks should have swept the series and continued their hot streak.

Instead, the season is slipping away.

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