Well, beat the drum and hold the phone – the sun came out today!
We’re born again, there’s new grass on the field.
The Yanks were dead in the water in May. With Chase Wright, Darrell Rasner, Jeff Karstens, Kei Igawa and Tyler Clippard coming through the revolving door of the Yankee rotation, the Yanks quickly this year found themselves 14 games out of first place and in last place in the AL East. People were writing off this year while looking forward to next year.
But then a funny thing happened on the way to October: The Yankees started winning, and once again, baseball managed to become a great surprise. Going to games – something that seemed onerous on cold May nights – became a real pleasure as the mercury soared in July. As John Fogarty once sang, the Yanks were indeed born again. And what a run it’s been.
Just four-and-a-half weeks ago, at the All Star Break, the Yanks were 42-43. They had come in strong during the first week of July after a disappointing finish to June, but the Bombers still found themselves sitting 10 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East and 8 games behind the Indians in the Wild Card race.
At the team, we said that if the Yanks could go 20-8 (which included a victory in the suspended June game against the Orioles), their playoff picture would look pretty rosy. Well, since we’re never wrong here at River Ave. Blues except for when we advocate Melky-for-Gagne deals, the Yanks did indeed go 20-8 in their first 28 games after the All Star break, and they do indeed find themselves right in the middle of the playoff picture.
The Yanks are six behind Boston and just one behind the Mariners, a .500-team posing as a Wild Card contender. Over at Baseball Prospectus, the Yanks, for the first time all season, now make the playoffs over half of the time when the season is simulated one million times. Wrap your mind around that, naysayers.
Meanwhile, the Yanks are just flat-out sick right now. As a team, the Yanks have hit .324/.396/.554 over 999 post-All Star break at-bats. That’s just insane. They’ve hit 50 HR, 63 2B and 8 3B in 28 games. Their 7.8 runs per game are just out of control.
But now, the going gets tough, and as Bluto tells us, it’s time for the tough to get going. The next few weeks will show us what kind of team the Yanks are.
They play the Tigers 8 times, the Red Sox 6 times and the Indians 3 times. They face a Baltimore team they haven’t been able to beat 9 times before the end of the year. So all they have to do is win, and as easy as we make it sound, it’s not.
But this is what makes the game so great. Left for dead three months ago, the Yanks are back. They aren’t making an easy, and the last few weeks of the season will be no cakewalk. But this is why we watch baseball. This is why we agonize over every out and every pitch.
So here we go. Win.