Yanks season rests on next 12 games

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Joba Watch

It’s hard to call 12 games in the middle of May do-or-die time for a season, but that’s what the Yankees are facing over the next two weeks. Sitting eight games out of first and with Baseball Prospectus’ Playoff Odds report show the Yankees making the playoffs just 22 percent of the time and winning the division just 4 percent of the time, it’s time to start winning.

The Yankees started May with something of a softball schedule. They had 13 contests against the Mariners and Rangers, two middling teams who have inhabited the bottom of the AL West for the better part of the last few seasons. The Yanks went a respectable 8-5 but lost a few games they should have won. A 10-3 record was not out of the question, and now the Yanks find themselves 8 games behind the Red Sox.

The Yanks, as Steve Lombardi notes, have not been 8 games out of first this early in the season since 1984. I was one year old at the time. Ah, yes, I remember it well.

So now, the schedule shifts. Instead of the bottom-dwellers, the Yankees play three teams in playoff spots and the White Sox, no slouch of ballclub. Before a three-game set at the end of May against the Walking Wounded, the Yanks are set to face the White Sox, the Mets, the Red Sox and the dreaded Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, a team the Yankees never seem to beat. Those teams are currently a combined 30 games over .500.

So this is the first real test, and if the Yanks can’t go at least 7-5 during this stretch of baseball, including two out of three from Boston. Things will look decidedly Not Good by the end of May.

For everyone awaiting Roger Clemens’ arrival atop his white horse coming to save the Yankees, be prepared for disappointment. Roger Clemens isn’t the answer to this team’s woes. He can’t bat second; he can’t play right field. He can’t compel A-Rod and Jason Giambi and Bobby Abreu and Robinson Cano to snap out of slumps that have lasted for weeks.

I like to maintain a healthy level of optimism and faith in the Yankees with just over three-quarters of the season left, but these next 12 games are important. We can’t just overlook that.

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You're probably not reading this, but...
Joba Watch
  • Yankee Doom & Gloomer

    7-5 is very funny! If they win one (and I’m being real nice) game form each of those series’ that would be a success.

    I’m seriously thinking yesterday is the start of a long, long losing streak!

    Yanks 15 out before Roger even gets to be hit hard at Fenway! That game will be the cherry on Boston’s ice cream for 2007!

  • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    Steve Lombardi, is that you???

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben

    Steve Lombardi, is that you???

    Touche.

  • Pat

    Hey everyone. New to the blog and a Sox fan. You all still think the Sox have an overrated rotation. Also, I loved the comments early on in the season that ths Sox were going to wear out their bullpen. How’s this working out for you?

  • http://jeteupthemiddle.blogspot.com Jeteupthemiddle

    I believe the next 22 games (and 25 days) are make and break for the season.

    I have a pretty little table on my blog so I won’t really get into it here, but it isn’t just the Yankees who have a difficult schedule, but the Red Sox do as well.

    If you remove New York and Boston from each of their schedules, the Yankees actually heave “weaker” opponents.

    Therefore, if the Yankees at least split the upcoming 6 games against Boston, they could realistically pick up 2-3 games during the other days.

    Of course, they will obviously need some help from the Sox, but I just don’t see the Yankees as a .500 club, and I don’t see the Sox winning 110 games, so I expect SOME regression to the mean to happen.

    If, in the second week in June, the Yankees are even 5 games out, I think they have a decent chance at overcoming all of it.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben

    Nice to see you too, Pat. I’m not quite sure what you’re talking about. Where in this post did I talk about the Sox having an overrated rotation? Are they overperforming right now? Probably. Are they overrated? Nope because no one expects the rotation to continue doing what it’s been doing so far.

    Don’t believe me? Just ask Josh Beckett’s right middle finger.

  • mg

    Really we need to worry most about the team’s management I’d say. We’ll have the dream rotation before we know it. We already have a tolerable rotation right now. We’ve got a few hot bats but lots of guys in slumps. The biggest problem that I’m seeing is Torre’s refusal to alter the lineup in any helpful way to react to these slumps. Through Cano’s slump he’s understandably moved him towards the bottom of the order, but Abreu has been kept in the 2 or 3 hole all season without any rest even. He’s not drawing walks. He’s not fielding but Torre doesn’t seem to notice. He’s also got Posada batting around .360 without anyone on in front of him. He doesn’t use his bullpen effectively, which we all know. We also don’t need him to lure Clemens cause we’ve got Clemens. Does the whole season need to have slipped out of reach before we make a real move and shake things up?

  • Macker1283

    “The Red Sox are too good. The AL East race is a lost cause. I wish I was playing for the Red Sox still instead of this team that has no pitching and has to hope that 45 year old guys can save their season” – Johnny Damon

    Ok I obviously paraphrased a little but that was the jist of it.

  • Ron

    I’m glad to see that everybody thinks the second half of the season is meaningless.

    “and if the Yanks can’t go at least 7-5 during this stretch of baseball, including two out of three from Boston. Things will look decidedly Not Good by the end of May.”

    “I believe the next 22 games (and 25 days) are make and break for the season.”

    Last year at the halfway point, the Sux were 50-31, 4 games ahead of the Yanks, who were 46-35. The Yanks finished 10 games ahead of the Sux, thus outplaying them by 14 games over the last 81 games. Yet this year, we can’t make up 8 games with 124 games remaining?

    How about some PERSPECTIVE, people?

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben

    Ron

    The problem with perspective right now is that it does not favor the Yanks. Teams that are 2 games under .500 and 8.5 games out of first place on May 15 just don’t win the division and they rarely make the playoffs. That’s perspective. The rest is hope.

  • Ron

    If you believe the Yanks are a .500 club, then you are right. However, if you feel, as I do, that the Yanks are playing nowhere near their ability, then an 8 game deficit with 124 remaining is not insurmountable.

    So far this year, everything has gone right for the Sux, no so much for the Yanks. One thing you learn by watching baseball over a 47 year span is that things tend to even out. If, at the beginning of the 2004 ALCS, you were told that the Sux would win in 7, you might not be happy, but hopefully, you would be able understand. But the way it unfolded, everything went right for the Yanks in the 1st 3 games, and everything went wrong in the last 4.

    That series should make all Yankee fans realize that it’s never over in May when you have a decent club. Suddenly, Boston has to deal with an injury. How long will Beckett be out? Do you really think Tubby won’t miss a start this year? How comfortable would you be if Taveras was our 5th starter? THAT is perspective!

  • ralph

    Looks like 1965

    Fading fast – good teams do not lose the way the have been

    Arod is a bust in the clutch – look at what he has done since DiceK went up an in on him !

    It is possible the Yanks go 4 -8 in the next 12 games

    It is possible they go 8 -4 in the next 12 games but doubtful

    Season will be over by Memorial Day

    Team needs a face lift

    Bring in Ichiro
    Bring in Willis
    Get a closer