“It ain’t over til it’s over.” Famous words from one of the greatest and most popular Yankees of all time, Yogi Berra. That is the operative phrase for those of us die-hards when we are looking at the Yankees postseason prospects. A week ago this time, the American League East was there for the taking. Dropping two of three to the Blue Jays and falling another game behind on Friday night put a huge damper on things. Still, we have to put things in perspective and realize that the Yankees are still very much in the hunt.
Here's some food for thought. The Yankees trail the Blue Jays by four games with nine games to go. It means the odds of winning the division are stacked against us. The Astros and Angels each trail us by five games for the top wildcard spot. That means that we are making the playoffs and have home field advantage for the Wildcard. I agree that it is not prime real estate in terms of the playoffs, but it means we are practically in. What makes the Wildcard so unappealing is that you start the postseason with an elimination game. From the looks of things, that game will be in the Bronx.
For the Wildcard, I am not considering the Astros because they are in a tailspin. They dropped 17 of their last 26 games and turning a 5-game lead into a 5-gsme deficit in that span. Put a fork in them. My money is on the Angels for their opponent, and that is good news. We swept them at the Stadium in June, with the players we have now. They are dead last in the American League in batting average and second to last by a fraction of a point in OPS. A decent pitching outing should hold them down. They have allowed an average of five runs per game over the last 12 games, which means our hitting has a good chance. I like our odds.
We will probably face the Royals in the Division Series, and though they hold the best record in the American League, we swept them in the Bronx allowing only four runs in three games. They took two of three in Kaufmann Stadium, but Chris Capuano started one of those losses, so that doesn’t count. They will certainly be a tough team, but anything can happen in a short series and our chances are good.
If there is one statement that characterizes the Yankees 2015 season, it is that it has been very hot and very cold. The saying goes that the team that gets hot in October wins it all. We need a hot season. Nevertheless, with Masahiro Tanaka coming back, Luis Severino and Michael Pineda looking solid, and a strong backend to the bullpen, the Yankees are going to be very competitive. Anything can happen, but there is no fat lady singing.
--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
My blog is: Shots from Murderer's Row
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