(NEW YORK) — The New York Yankees fell to the Tampa Bay Rays 8-3 Wednesday night, but their playoff fate was settled before the final pitch was thrown.
Once the Cleveland Indians topped the Chicago White Sox, the Yankees were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention for just the second time in the past 19 years.
Despite having the highest payroll in the majors at $230 million, the Yankees failed to qualify for one of the five playoff spots in the American League.
“We didn’t get to where we wanted to get,” manager Joe Girardi said after the game. “It’s extremely disappointing, and back to the drawing board. It hurts.”
Yankee fans will get a chance to bid farewell to Mariano Rivera Thursday night, when he makes his final appearance at Yankee Stadium.
“I’ll be there for the fans. They deserve it,” the 43-year-old said. “But it don’t mean anything. I’m not used to pitching for something that doesn’t mean anything. I wanted to pitch for something that means something.”
Injures played a large part in the team’s struggles this season. They played the majority of the season without regulars Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Curtis Granderson.
With Rivera and Andy Pettitte retiring and the looming free agency of second baseman Robinson Cano, the Yankees face a ton of questions heading into the offseason.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Jill Martin, CNN