After another failed attempt to sweep a team, the New York Yankees face a harsh reality in their quest for the postseason.
The chance to make a serious stride in the postseason race was there for the New York Yankees.
After entering Sunday afternoon’s contest with the Baltimore Orioles just 2.5 games out of a playoff spot, the Bombers wasted a chance to move within a game and a half along with hopping over two of the four teams that sit in front of New York for the second American League Wild Card spot.
This was also a chance to sweep the Orioles after being unable to utilize the brooms back on July 21. However, they failed to do so yet again after falling 5-0 in front of a crowd of 38,002 in deflating fashion.
The name of the game was missed opportunities.
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Sure, the final score read 5-0 but thanks to a vintage CC Sabathia, the game was scoreless through five until Steve Pearce led off the sixth with his 12 home run of the year.
Then, Adam Warren surrendered a two-run single that was charged to Sabathia but the Yankees’ offense left seven runners on base and were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position en route to their 62 loss of the year.
The theme of blown chances goes hand in hand with their current dilemma.
The loss sent the Yankees’ record in “sweep-able” games to 2-9 and hit them with a harsh reality. That reality entails that winning series are great, but there comes a point when they have to start getting greedy.
Why? Thanks to the god-awful 9-17 start they had back on May 5, manager Joe Girardi’s squad is almost in a situation where they need to be as close to perfect as possible for the rest of 2016.
“If someone says you’re going to win a series against Baltimore, I think you’re going to be pretty positive,” Girardi said via SF Chronicle. “But when you win the first two, sometimes guys can get down a little bit.”
It’s not NCAA Tournament style where every loss is a guaranteed elimination, and the deficit between the Yankees and a highly unlikely postseason berth is manageable, but to make it a reality requires some tough labor.
With 33 games remaining, 26 of them are against AL East opponents and just nine games remaining against teams that separate the Yankees from being 12 wins away from a World Championship.
FanGraphs predicts the second AL-Wild Card winner to finish with 87 wins which means (of course, this is hypothetical) that New York must finish the year 20-13 (.606) against the Royals, Orioles, Red Sox, Dodgers, Rays, and Blue Jays.
That record isn’t far-fetched, but against their remaining opponents, they are 24-28 and if they continue to turn opportunities to narrow the deficit into two game swings, as they did today, this year’s postseason will be Yankee-less for the third time in four years.
It’s time to get stingy. Like Girardi said, if you win a series against Baltimore, things should be moderately positive.
However, thanks to their contemporary situation and seven percent chance of reaching the playoffs, they can ill-afford to have a winning percentage of zero in chances they have to earn a three-game sweep, especially in the home-stretch of 2016.
Don’t think this is a problem and they can still make the doubtful run with series wins? Just imagine where the New York Yankees would be if their 2-9 record in sweepable games was reversed.