Rockies-Yankees preview

NEW YORK -- The debate about being buyers or sellers at the non-waiver trade deadline is something rarely associated with the New York Yankees.

More games like Tuesday's 8-4 loss could swing the discussion toward sell mode for the first time since the early 1990s.

The Yankees have yet to beat the Colorado Rockies and will get one more attempt at doing so Wednesday afternoon in the finale of a two-game series at Yankee Stadium.

Their inability to win these games and stay over .500 has started some of the debate about what the Yankees should do at the trading deadline and Monday principal owner Hal Steinbrenner said he believed the Yankees would be in contention by the end of July and GM Brian Cashman would be buying.

"I hope this team declares itself in such a way one way or the other that is pretty (darn) obvious," Cashman said.

A day later, manager Joe Girardi and Cashman seemed to be in agreement with Steinbrenner but Cashman's comments came with a disclaimer when he said if the Yankees actually were out of contention by then he wouldn't hesitate to urge the team to go into selling mode.

"We're not going to be a seller unless ownership green lights it," Cashman said. "I don't have a number in my head. I'll have a dialogue with ownership every step of the way like I always do. If we feel at a date in the future that's a necessity, trust me I'll recommend it and they'll make a decision.

"I'm always a brutally honest person and if I see things I'll always communicate honestly with ownership," Cashman. "We're in June so right now that's not the conversation we're having."

The Yankees have begun play with a winning record only five times this season and have lost six of nine since getting to 31-30 on June 10, meaning results are more significant than a belief.

"Hal has belief in this club, but you have to go out and do it," manager Joe Girardi said. "Belief is not enough."

So far, the Yankees are a pedestrian 3-4 in their so-called soft schedule. They have lost three games to Colorado by a combined 27-17 margin and have a 9.36 ERA in those games.

"I think we're being inconsistent, that's all," Yankees right fielder Carlos Beltran said. "We have been able to have good stretches, and when we feel were about to continue to play well, all of a sudden we fall back.

Meanwhile the Rockies have the same record as the Yankees at 34-36 and have won two straight and 10 of their last 15 games.

"I don't think we're on a run by any means," Colorado manager Walt Weiss said. "But we're holding our ground."

Charlie Blackmon hit two home runs off Ivan Nova in the first four innings. Nolan Arrenado hit a two-run home run and had his eighth game with at least three hits while increasing his major league leading homer run total to 21 and his RBI count to 60.

"He just clicks along," Colorado manager Weiss said. "You look up and he's got 60 RBIs. He's a model of consistency."

In theory, the Yankees would seem to have the right pitcher on the mound in left-hander CC Sabathia.

Sabathia takes a 2.20 ERA into Wednesday, the lowest it has been through at least 10 starts in any season for him. Since May 4, he has a 0.82 ERA in his last seven starts and is the first Yankee to allow four earned runs or less in a span of seven outings since Phil Niekro did it in 1984 as a 45-year-old.

The left-hander last pitched Thursday in Minnesota. Although he had a 15-inning scoreless streak stopped, Sabathia allowed one run and six hits in six innings in a game when his stuff was not as sharp since the Twins stranded nine in five innings.

Colorado's Jon Gray has a 4.55 ERA but has won four of his last seven starts. Grey held a 5.56 ERA at the end of May but this month, he is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts.

The right-hander last pitched Saturday in Miami when he allowed two runs and six hits in six innings. He will be making his second career start in a New York ballpark. Last year, Gray made his first career road start against the Mets at Citi Field on Aug. 10 and allowed one run and one hit in six innings while getting a no-decision in a 4-2 loss.

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