There aren't many four-game losing streaks that feel inconsequential, but the one the Yankees broke on Sunday certainly did.
The first three losses came in the final at-bat of the opposition when the Orioles and Angels beat pitchers like Hector Noesi and Aaron Laffey, two pitchers who don't exactly inspire notions of victory when they stride onto the mound. The other loss was by CC Sabathia, normally a panic event, but it was such a good outing for Dan Haren that you can't do much except shrug your shoulders and pat the guy on the back.
Plus Jorge Posada played catcher during that loss and getting one more chance to see Jorge behind the plate made it a fun day even if the final score didn't go the Yankees' way. Posada actually threw out a base stealer, which was either adrenaline or a sign that he will peak defensively as a catcher in his mid-70s.
Mostly, though, the losing streak felt like little more than a nagging fly buzzing about your head because the Red Sox lost every time the Yankees did. With the days left in the regular season growing awfully short, it is hard to get too agitated about losses when the place in the standings doesn't change.
The Red Sox actually did the Yankees one better and extended their losing streak to a fifth game on Sunday to help the Rays wrap up a sweep in Tampa. That means the Rays are just 3.5 games back of the Sox in the Wild Card race, making for tight sphincters in Boston as they watch their team hand away their lead.
That's why it is a lot easier to exhale and shrug your shoulders about four straight Yankee losses. It probably wouldn't be quite so easy if they had gotten swept by the Angels over the weekend, but they didn't and that means that you're free to chuckle about the plight of the Red Sox.
Sunday's win came about because the Yankee bats snapped out of an extended stay in the doldrums and reminded everyone that there's some life in the lumber. Curtis Granderson's home run, his first of the month, was a hopeful sign that he might be shaking the slump that has seized him since August went away.
A good ending to the weekend on the field and a better one across the country in Tampa mean that the angst created in the losses is all but forgotten. The Yankees are in first place, the Red Sox are hurtling toward a cliff and all feels right with the baseball world as another week gets underway.