For 26 innings this weekend the Yankees showed the best team in the American League that they could compete at their level. In the 27th inning they collapsed which seems an appropriate end to a frustrating half season of baseball. Is this team a contender or a pretender? I have no clue.
What I do know is that they have 73 games left and they are 8-1/2 games behind the Red Sox. Boston has 71 games left and if they go a mediocre 35-36 in them, the Yankees still have to go 45-28 (a 61.6% percentage) to surpass them. If Boston continues winning 60% of their games, the Yankees would have to go on an amazing 52-21 run to clinch the division.
That math ignores the fact that the Rays are right behind Boston and the Jays are currently tied with the Yankees. Either club could make all of my math irrelevant. And while the second wild card is 4.5 games away, there are four other teams either better or tied with the Yankees contending for it and the Angels, who are about to get Mike Trout back, only a game behind them.
So a projection that puts the Yankees at about 36% to make the playoffs seems right. The problem is, what do they do about it?
That’s the beauty of the second half schedule, the Yankees get to play 11 of their next 13 games against Boston and Tampa. Pick your own number, but I think they have to go at least 8-5 in that stretch to show they have a chance at even making the playoffs.
The stretch concludes on July 29th which will give the team enough time to decide if they want to buy or sell at the deadline. Right now, my money is on sell, but the Yankees have two weeks to change their season around and show they are capable of playing the level of baseball we thought they could when the season started.