The New York Yankees are red-hot in their recent surge for a playoff spot, but it won’t be enough to make a difference in the hunt for October glory.
After the first month of the 2016 season, the New York Yankees were in last place in the American League East. In fact, it seemed as though they were never coming out of the cellar.
Even last week, New York had less than a two percent chance of making the playoffs, yet, the odds have shifted considerably.
Right now, they are inexplicably two games out of a Wild Card playoff spot. After winning eight of their last 11 games, the Yankees have an 18.2% chance, according to MLB.com.
With the miraculous run that is currently taking place, Yankees’ fans are preparing for some meaningful October baseball. But is it a possibility? Or are fans, perhaps, living in a fabricated reality about the outcome of this season?
A hot streak can only go so far before the Yankees start to cool off again and it could, very well, happen soon. It’s only a matter of time before the atrocious first half of this year catches up with them.
Starting out 9-17, they’ve had to claw their way back to mediocrity all season long and have only recently found themselves with an actual shot to compete for title number 28 after going 67-49 since then.
The reality of the situation, however, is that the Yankees simply don’t have the tools to make a legitimate World Series run. While they’ve been spectacular as of late, this surge comes far too late in the season.
New York has too much ground to cover and rely on too many other teams losing to make a shot at the playoffs happen. Looking at their 20 remaining games, they will face several teams that will directly affect their positioning in the Wild Card Race.
Their next series will be against the National League West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers and will then face all of their AL East foes.
New York is not only 7-10 against NL teams this season but is a combined 28-30 against divisional opponents this year. They unquestionably have their work cut out for them if they want to finish this magical run.
The Bombers also never really found a solution to the problems that plagued them in the beginning of the season. They simply found ways to distract from the real issues at hand instead of working to fix them.
When the offense was hot, pitching didn’t matter as much but the offense was so inconsistent early on in the season that the starting pitching was exposed as the weak link in this squad.
Who’s to say that won’t happen again, especially when they need it most?
In fact, in the first 22 games of the season, starters only made it past the sixth inning four times, with three of those performances coming from the ace-like arm of Tanaka.
With shortened outings comes more middle relief from the bullpen, which was, and still is, a definite struggle.
On the offensive side, the Yankees are ranked 21 among MLB teams in batting average (.253). Among the 21 teams above them are all of the teams they are chasing for the Wild Card and the AL East. Even with their recent offensive surge, courtesy of the Baby Bombers, the Yankees are not even competitive offensively with other playoff teams.
If they even made it to the playoffs, they would likely become a victim of the one-game playoff for the Wild Card slot, much like last season. Their offense and pitching are too inconsistent to feel confident about being in a position like that if they even make it there.
They are in a do-or-die situation. Essentially they have to win all of their games to even have a shot at a playoff spot. However, after watching this Yankees team all season, it is practically impossible to imagine that happening.
With this New York Yankees squad, they’ve proven they don’t give up. This time, however, it is too little, too late to make a difference for their playoff hopes.