After two months of an uphill climb, the New York Yankees have an opportunity to put themselves on the radar.
It has not come easy. In a season hampered with injuries, cluttered with underperformance, and filled with mediocrity throughout, the New York Yankees have a fortunate pathway to relevancy.
They have been at .500 once since April 14 and were not able to work their way above, they possess an appalling 10-17 record against AL East opponents, and have squandered numerous games that were right there for the taking.
Somehow, the Yankees sit at 29-30 having taken three straight from the Angels. Six and a half games is the deficit in the division for the club and they only trail the Seattle Mariners by three and a half games for a playoff spot.
The team’s struggles and success, true inconsistency, has been documented. However, what has not been mentioned is what is in store.
Battling through problems that may have buried any other team, the Yankees were able to stay afloat. Whether outsiders believe it or not, the team has a direct path to contention between now and the all-star break. It all starts tonight.
The Yankees must get to .500. It is an often mentioned theme in baseball, with regards to teams trying to climb their way back, that an even record is the watermark before looking upwards. Deficits cannot be surmounted, teams cannot be jumped, and ultimately playoff spots cannot be thought about until the .500 hump is dealt with.
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Not only can the Yankees get to an even 30-30 (.500) with a win in the series finale, but they can gain momentum with a clean and dominating sweep. In addition, they can start to look upwards at other teams rather than at their own win-loss record.
60 games marks just over a third into a major league baseball season. Plenty of baseball is still to be played, talent on the roster has started to flare its light, and there are games to be won and series to be claimed.
Following tonight, the only daunting obstacles standing in the team’s way until the all-star break are match-ups with the Detroit Tigers (this weekend) and the Texas Rangers (June 27-30).
Good news: both of those series will take place at Yankee Stadium, a home venue in which club has featured a 16-12 (.571) record.
Looking beyond those two showdowns are four dates with the pedestrian Rockies, seven dates with the dreadful Twins, a series with the defective Padres, a three-game set with the slumping White Sox, and four games with a Cleveland Indians team that has overly exceeded expectations.
There lies a seizable situation; a true chance for a team maintaining a broad upside that has been witnessed.
Six and a half games is not an insurmountable deficit in early September, let alone early June. If hot hitting continues to some extent, home cooking becomes a trend, and this positive four game series is not a fluke, all signs point to the Yanks being among the tops of the division by the break.
There is always the chance that the next month is a disappointment. If it is, time is still on the side of the pinstripes.
With that said, true contenders pounce at opportunities to solidify themselves. The next 32 days make flourishing a possibility, and in turn tucking away the nightmares that have flawed some early season woes.
The real 2016 New York Yankees can and will be put on display.