They’re holding together for one more run — barely.
Last year the “Core Four” of Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera defied age and injuries en route to a fifth championship.
A year later and a year older, varying degrees of obstacles have developed for a quartet that possess a combined 374 playoff games in pinstripes.
Jeter finished with the lowest batting average of his career, needing a mechanical change just to lift it to .270. Posada battled various injuries and finished at .248, while letting runners steal at will. The Red Sox swiped four bases in the ninth inning in a game last month.
On the bump, Pettitte won four games and all three postseason clinchers last year. He amazed everyone with an 11-2 start before landing on the disabled list with a groin injury in 2010.
Rivera seemed the most consistent, avoiding injuries and slumps heading into September. Then he blew three saves.
“It’s not a huge concern, no,” said manager Joe Girardi of his deteriorating stars.
After all, the numbers are on his side.
Jeter is a .313 postseason hitter. Posada is just a .239 playoff hitter but has a number of big hits. Pettitte owns the most postseason wins. And Rivera owns the most postseason saves.
And until proven otherwise either by age or struggles, it is hard for anyone to bet against them — or any team with Jeter.
“I know his determination and his work ethic,” Girardi said. “He’s got 2,900 hits. And he’s 36, not 45, you know. I’m not a betting man, but if I were, I would not bet against him having a big postseason for us.”