The New York Yankees have 27 games to prove that 2014 wasn’t a complete waste of time and effort. A couple of days beyond the four-week mark will determine the fate of many within the organization and on the roster. We all know that Derek Jeter is leaving, win or lose. We also know that Alex Rodriguez will be back with bells on come next spring. The question is, with 27 games remaining, and trying to play catch-up in the Wild Card race, do the Yankees have enough juice (pun intended) to get over the hump and reach October baseball?
Despite having just dropped 2 out of 3 to the Detroit Tigers coming into the weekend, the Yankees are surprisingly 7-3 over their last 10 contests. The bats have finally shown some signs of life, only after a closed-door, players’ only meeting was held to air out some grievances. It hasn’t been Chase Headley, nor Stephen Drew, nor even the beloved Captain himself carrying the offensive burden. It’s been Martin Prado, Jacoby Ellsbury and yes, even Brian McCann has chipped in somewhat.
The Yankees suffered a setback, when their rookie ace, Masahiro Tanaka reported pain in his elbow a day after his simulated game. He flew back to New York for more tests. At least Michael Pineda is coming back strong. He gets to pitch this weekend in Toronto, as the Yankees could very well sweep the Blue Jays on their home turf. The Yankees are three full games out of the second and final Wild Card spot. They have upcoming series against teams they should be able to handle not because they are hitting, but because they are pitching…and are simply the better team.
In the month of September, the Yankees can finally once and for all prove not only to themselves, but to the baseball loving world, that they are the real deal. In the final month of the season, they have series with the Red Sox (twice), the Royals, the Rays (twice), the Orioles (twice), and the Blue Jays. One of two things are going to happen: the bats are either going to remain luke-warm, and they’ll find a way to win 17 or more games to firmly plant themselves into the Wild Card round, or the bats will go ice cold, the bullpen will finally give up the goose from being overworked all season, and the starting rotation will finally tap out.
The Yankees could limp into the final days of the season, at Fenway Park, sending their Captain, just as they did with their closer and playoff ace a year prior, without a final stroll through October, in search of ring No. 6 for Jeter, and title No. 28 for the franchise. While Joe Girardi is under contract for a couple more seasons after this one, Brian Cashman is not. Someone is going to have to pay for another October-less fall in the Bronx. Unfortunately, I just don’t see it ending any other way.