Will the Yankees make the 2008 playoffs?

A Monday morning slap in the face
Moose and the Hall

It seems to be the hot question to ask this morning. Just for a quick rundown of all who are asking:

SBR Forum
The Star Ledger
Bleacher Report
Newsday

There’s plenty more, of course. And it’s a legitimate question to ask at this point, with just 27 percent of the season left and the Yankees four games out of the Wild Card. Add in the injuries and the uninspiring play of late, and you have a recipe for collapse.

Thankfully, the Yankees have a chance to right the ship. They’ve played Minnesota well over the past few years, going 13-7 against them since the beginning of the 2006 season, including a 5-2 mark this year. They follow that up with a series against the last place Royals, another day off, and then a road trip to Toronto and Baltimore. If there was ever a chance to run off a 10-2 rally, this is it. Because behind the door of Baltimore lie the Red Sox.

If they play well enough over the next 12 games, they’ll have a chance to close the gap during that series. If they sputter as they have lately, well, then the series could be the Yanks last chance to make a playoff stand. Clearly, the next 15 games are going to play a large role in determining this season. It might seem bleak now, but we know the Yanks have the capacity to sock a few dingers and go on a run.

Plus, if they’re able to go on a tear now, by the time they reach Boston we might be seeing the returns of Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain. Clearly, as we learned earlier this year, the Yanks cannot rely on these youngsters to carry them to the playoffs. However, they do represent clear upgrades over our rotation options right now. While it appears we won’t be seeing much of Chien Ming Wang for the rest of the year, a rotation of Mussina, Pettitte, Joba, Hughes, and Ponson/Giese (I’d choose the latter based on my bias against Ponson) might be able to get it done in the final month and change.

It’s easy to count the Yanks out right now, at the gloomiest part of the season. But there’s still enough baseball ahead to keep me interested.

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A Monday morning slap in the face
Moose and the Hall
  • Ivan

    Yankees are playing bad baseball. plain and simple

    That said, your usually not as bad as you think. The angels are a great team but to be fair, it was team that was hot Vs. a team that was not.

    Nevertheless, this team must go out there and instill confidence in me and the fans right. Yesterday was the first time my confidence about this team took a hit and it wavered.

    That said, in the crazy world that is baseball things can happen, alot could happen. With this yankee team, maybe or maybe not they can

    • Ivan

      certainly capable of doing something big.

  • Old Ranger

    There is a plethora of reasons the Yanks will and conversely they won’t. As of right now, pitching is a black hole along with our RISP hitting. Advocating for things to change at this stage of the season are redundant. We all (I think) want the team to win, but if not…so be it.
    I believe most of us are really Optimists, but the time has come to look at the liabilities we have. All of the guys are trying very hard to win, the thing is…some of them don’t have it anymore, while some of them are trying to hit the 5 run HR. The heart says yes, but the ability isn’t there anymore. I don’t use stats (unless to brake a tie) so; I could be wrong but it seems to me, we could change some of these guys and still get the same (or better) results.
    We would lose some power #s but gain some overall play. Just think how many times we have seen a ball drop in and said; “A good player would have had that!”
    How many games have we lost because of our defence or someone trying to hit the ball out…instead of just a hit? Pitching and Defence wins games…Angeles, Tampa anyone. 27/09?

    • Ivan

      Yea just watching the stats on the Replacement Level Yankee Blog, they have been awful in RISP/situational hitting. It just seem fluky in a way. But whether fluky or not, they are not getting the job done.

      • steve (different one)

        yeah, especially when you look at how some of the other yankee teams did by the same measure.

        for example the 2000 and 2001 Yankees were not very good with RISP either. but the 2002 team was very good.

        • Ivan

          It just show you how the postseason is a crapshoot. Just looking back at that 2000 team, it’s somewhat hard to believe they won the WS.

          • Bo

            the 2000 and 2001 Yankee teams had great pitching. Check those rotations.

            The 2008 Yanks?

            Ponson is #3 right now.

            • Setty

              Luckily the season doesn’t end “right now.” Hughes will be back in the rotation probably next time around and Joba could be back in a few weeks. Obviously Hughes isn’t a guarantee but he’s still an upgrade. Do you honestly think Boston is so dominant this year that they’re uncatchable?

  • Manimal

    after this twins series Ill let you know.

    • TurnTwo

      yeah, fair assessment.

      but in order to make this a passable road trip, and get it to 5-5 over teh 10 games, they’ve got to sweep the Twins now.

      without Liriano taking the hill, it’s do-able, but cant expect it.

      • Manimal

        our pitching matchups are pretty good(better than the past week’s) and twins are the only people with a real chance of going to the playoffs as the wild card(sox are spiraling out of contention)

  • Count Zero

    I doubt they can make a 10-2 run. Winning streaks are a product of good starting pitching not hitting. In order to string together multiple win streaks your rotation has to keep you in the game every day and I just don’t see that happening right now.

    Can they still take the WC? Sure. Is it likely that they will? I would have to vote no on that one.

    • TurnTwo

      but really, they dont need a HUGE run or a long streak.

      just consistency. win every series.

      i agree that its possible, but not likely. but ive seen stranger things.

      the 6 games the yankees have with Boston are going to be crucial, and then its up to the division games between TB and the Yankees and Saux… gotta root for TB to beat up Boston.

  • jsbrendog

    it huts my soul to cringe everytime rivera comes in in a non save situation. i feel like theyre bringing in farnsworth before he had a good stretch in these situations.

    it soothes my soul to see him brought in in a save situation and know it is a dead lock win.

    why oh why can he not give up runs in any non save situations recently???

    • Setty

      Are you honestly blaming him for giving up the game yesterday? That would be a joke on your part

      • Ivan

        Think about, it the defense turn a GB out into a game winning hit.

        • steve (different one)

          agreed.

          i blame Cano or Betemit. no one else.

          that ball was an out, plain and simple.

          • jsbrendog

            dont kill me lol i didnt see the game or highlights, only saw the gamecast once there were already 2 men on

            ok, so last night aside, my point still stands. he has been bad recently in tie games or clsoe games when he comes in. it still hruts my soul. maybe i jjust expect perfection because he has given it lol but its hard to see him come in and feel wary after the sense of security he’s instilled in me the past 12-13 yrs

    • Ivan

      I think people are making too big of a deal with Mo with the SV and Non-SV situation. Hey this have never been a problem in his entire career and this year with the disparicy being big in concern with the stats in those situations it looks bad. Point is, you still bring in Mo in those spots no matter what. And if you say Other wise, your retarted. Again it’s one of those fluky things that the yankees have been plagued this year with.

      It’s really not a big deal.

      • jsbrendog

        didnt say not to bring him in, he’s opbviously the best option and the one to bring in, lol not retarted.

        but even so, its still upsetting to watch when he blows it. what makes it even mroe frustrating is he seems to come in, blow oen or two guys away, give up a bloop and then all of a sudden its a hr, or something. just weird.

  • http://deleted Randy

    i don’t think it is as bad as it looks. boston isn’t playing great either and hopefully the central teams will beat each other up. the yanks have the capability to make another run and i think they will. i think they will pull it out.

    • Setty

      There we go, Randy! Some optimism on an otherwise dark and crappy Monday. I’m with you, all it takes is one good week of play and we’ll be breathing down Boston’s necks. Of course, they have to sustain a consistent level of play for the whole season, but once we get in striking distance I’ll take my chances. On a side note, I have grown my hair out for 2 months now and will be shaving it all off after work today in an attempt to get some better luck for the Yanks (and no, I’m not clinically insane). Let’s play some October baseball one more time in the House that Ruth Built

    • jsbrendog

      they def do and i want it to happen cause i cant take this losing shit lol, it makes me angry.

  • Bill

    If Dan Giese and Sidney Ponson can do their best immitations of Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon then its possible.

    Barring a huge collaspe though Tampa Bay is in which means we’ll have to beat out Boston who as much as it pains me to say is a better team than us.

    There’s still hope, but its certainly diminishing especially after each time we play the Angels who we’d undoubtedly have to face in the first round of the playoffs if we make it there.

    • Setty

      Just a question, what in your estimation makes Boston a better team than us? Just because their record is better? Their lineup is not better than ours, and their bullpen is not better than ours. The only area they have a slight edge is in starting pitching, and I do mean SLIGHT edge. They currently have 3 reliable starting pitchers (I’m giving them Dice-K despite his 1:1 K:BB ratio and averaging about 5-6 BB/9), while we have 2. But, in a week, we get Phil Hughes back who even though struggled at the beginning of the year, he clearly has the talent to be an effective 3 starter this year. So basically, you have 2 very evenly matched teams. We have 6 games still to play against them. No reason to think it’s that impossible to catch them.

      • Colin

        The fact that they have a better record. How’s that?

        • Setty

          If we’re talking about how teams are presently constituted then how does record, which measures the past, automatically indicate that Boston is a better team? All that their record says is that they HAVE been better up to this point. It’s a completely different story to evaluate the teams as they stand.

      • Bill

        Their lineup is better and they have more than a slight advantage in terms of the rotation. Beckett > Moose, Lester > Andy (based on 08′ numbers), Dice-K >>> Ponson or Giese, Buchholz = Ponson/Giese (but Clay has the potential to be really good whereas Ponson and Giese will just get by), Masterson/Colon/Whoever > Rasner. Until we get Hughes and Joba back and pitching well we don’t come close to stacking up with them in the rotation right now. Plus by the time Joba is back they’ll likely add Wakefield to their rotation anyway. And their lineup is better because they have a really good lineup that ranks 3rd in baseball in runs scored and they hit with RISP. The Yankees have the 10th ranked offense. The additions of Nady and Pudge brought us closer to them, but they still get the edge there. As for the bullpen we do have an advantage there, but it is one that is fading with poor efforts from key relievers including Edwar, Veras, and Marte.

        I hate admitting it, but I do feel that they definitely have the better team right now and it’ll be tough to catch them. If guys like Giese, Ponson, and Rasner step up and we get Hughes and Joba back at full strength and also Matsui things could definitely change quickly, but at the moment is an uphill climb to say the least.

        • Setty

          The Red Sox have the 3rd most runs in the league thanks in large part to a guy named Manny being on their squad for a majority of the year – he is no longer there. Mike Lowell has been god awful, and JD Drew’s average has dropped over 35 points from a month or so ago. Add into the fact that Ellsbury, Varitek, and Ortiz are having terrible years and I’ll take our lineup any day of the week over them, despite our lineup’s struggles. As far as the pitching goes, you can’t use the 08 numbers argument for one pairing (Andy/Lester) and NOT for the other (Moose/Beckett). Moose has better numbers this year than Beckett. Buccholz has been flat out bad this year, so to say he has potential in the future has nothing to do with the current structure of their team. Hughes will be with the team probably by this time next week, so he easily matches up with Buccholz. But despite all this, you’re making direct comparisons as if we’re playing them in the playoffs. We only go against them for 6 games, we don’t need to match up with every starter they have, we just have to match up with our opposition’s starter for each game. I understand all your points, but I just don’t think Boston is good enough this year to pull away, which is why ultimately I believe we have a decent shot at this.

  • Bo

    This team is deader than disco.

    They aren’t going to risk anything and run Joba and Wang out there.

    They don’t have enough pitching and the hitting is just average this year.

  • PhilK

    I don’t see the playoffs happening. We’ve played enough games to see that this year’s yanks are only a slightly above-average team – not the class of the AL. A quick check of team stats reveals the are near the middle of the pack for many categories – 3rd in OBP seems to be the best. And their record matches this, with a 10-game win streak! But still, you never know..

  • A.D.

    The Sox have Wakefield heading to the DL and Buchholtz stuggling, by already moving Masterson to the bullpen & Bowden struggling a bit at AAA, it means that theyre probably going to go with a below average #5 starter in Colon, Tejada, claiming Paul Byrd, or something similar. So that gives them 3 very good starters and 2 below average starters. Meaning they will definitly loose some games down the stretch.

    We should see Hughes and Pavano down the stretch, if not the return of Joba, maybe one of these guys will go as an arm to re-sure up the pen, but either way if the rotation can get a boost, the team has a chance to rip off another good winning streak

  • nick blasioli

    right now we yankee fans are seeking a miraculous come back….we are hoping and wondering if they can pull it off…..they have the team to do it…i just wish they would show a little enthusiasm…i just dont see it…something weird has to happen to change things around..we will see….heres hoping…..

  • Joey H

    I still think this is an incomplete team, by the end of this month we will have hughes and joba. maybe even pavano. im certain hughes will pitch well, and joba will be joba, the guy just KNOWS how to pitch. i dont think we are out of it. the most important thing we can do is this coming series is destroy the twins. once we bring their contention down a little bit and then let them fade on their own, we can focus on the redsox who have their share of issues, I.E. a week bullpen and lingering injuries. heres a bold statement im going to make, if we do not win and or sweel this series with the twins, the season is over. simply over. we cant carry on this shitty play through august. there is a particular fire in the players eyes, Jeter, alex, pettite, that im starting to like, these veterans realize,, hey WHATTHE FUCK we NEED to get our thumbs out of our asses and start playing some ball. that my friends is what i expect to be the difference maker.

  • joe

    how can anyone really be so excited about hughes at this point to even consider that he could help save the season. i know the kid has tons of talent, but he hasn’t done much in the bigs yet..

    • Joey H

      how about last year where he was moderately successful. the kid is no idiot, he knows how to pitch. thsi year it was a combo of injury and eyesight.

  • Mike Pop

    if we go 10 and 2 over the next 12 before boston that would have us either tied with them or over them.. hell we can pull off a 8 or 9 game wins within the 12 games there…. than we gotta beat up boston bad .. these are all ifs tho

    • Reggie C.

      Very Optimistic. But here’s a more immediate IF: IF we drop this series against the Twins, then the season is over. Period.

  • Mike Pop

    i jus get upset watching them now

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  • Josh

    Ive been a huge fan of the Yankees since 1997, probably not the longest time in the world, But this is one of the their weakest years, and I totally have to blame pitchers like Brian Bruney, Ivan Rodriguez should go back to the Detriot Tigers; he is God awful, The injury of Jorge Posada is going to hurt the Yankees Enormously.

    With Joba out of the bullpen for a couple more weeks, they are going to struggle with the coming series with Baltimore and Toronto, since they are problably hoping to beat the Yankees, especially since we are going down the sort of direction the Blue Jays are down.

    I nearly punched my television tonight against the series with the Twins, every player was like trying to hard for successful hits, all of them were frustrated.

    Girardi is NOT a good manager, he had an awful year with the Florida Marlins in 2006, if you dont believe me look it up.

    But seriously, i am so disappointed with their playing this year, it has made me very depressed, I honestly don’t feel they are going to make the playoffs or the WILD card simply because Minnesota and Boston are a lot more probable of becoming the Wild card.

    Im not really even trying to be a jerk, I honestly adore the Yankees.. but im being very realistic, we have about 44 days and that’s it.

    I mean, if by this point things dont look determining, I dont know what will.

    in July, we were very close to second place in NL east, but.. its not happening.

    And Finally, Tampa Bay is on fire this year.. they will be the closest thing to impossible to try to stop

    Anyone who wishes to contradict me is free too, just because we are on the same boat here and we all like this team very much.