NEW YORK -- Last week, in the cramped visiting manager's office at Fenway Park, Joe Girardi backed ever so slightly off his initial estimates. Perhaps, he thought aloud, 89 victories might be the bare minimum for the Yankees to qualify for postseason play.
That number is now impossible for them to reach, as the Yankees entered play on Tuesday with an 82-74 record and six games remaining on their schedule, but the club is still mathematically alive in the chase for the second American League Wild Card spot.
New York trailed the Indians by four games entering play on Tuesday, with the Rangers one game back and the Royals three out.
"The feeling is, you have to go out and win, then you hope you get some help from some other teams," Girardi said on Tuesday. "But I don't think the thought has changed what we have to do. If we don't win, then we have no shot. So the feeling is you have to go out and win."
The Yankees have missed qualifying for postseason play just once in the last 18 years. That also came under Girardi, in 2008, when his club was 89-73 in the final season at the old Yankee Stadium.
"I think our guys know that we have to basically win out," Girardi said. "I think they understand that. As long as you're still alive, you still have hope. Guys understand that, and I think they'll be prepared to play."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.