The Yankees currently reside in fourth place in the A.L. East at 55-51 (52-54 Pythag. record), and are 3.5 games back in the Wild Card hunt. A postseason berth is absolutely doable, but in order to get there, the team will have to address a number of hot topics — notably, the overall offensive ineptitude, the starting rotation concerns (CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, and Phil Hughes have all been pretty unreliable) and the huge elephant in the room that is the team’s high-priced third baseman being banned for the foreseeable future. This will be challenging given that the trade deadline is basically here.
Schedule wise, the team has some noticeable hurdles as well. It began last night in L.A. as the team faced off against the Dodgers and lost a winnable game. I’m guessing the Yankees will likely be dominated tonight by Clayton Kershaw, and will probably also surrender a whole bevy of runs to guys like Adrian Gonzalez, Yasiel Puig, and Hanley Ramirez. Who knows though; maybe they can pull a win out of the bag. Either way, I’ll be one of those folks on the East Coast struggling to keep their eyes open during tonight’s late night game.
This brings us into the month of August. The team will face some weaker opponents such as the White Sox and Padres (in Chicago and San Diego respectively) right off the bat, followed by an off day on August 8th. Who knows, the roster could look more formidable by this point if guys like Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, and David Phelps all rejoin the roster. I don’t know if Francisco Cervelli is still on his original recovery time table or not (or whether he too will ultimately accept a plea deal for his involvement with Biogenesis), but maybe he’ll make an appearance around this time too.
From there, they’ll enter a seven-game homestand against the defending AL champs, the Tigers, followed by a four-game series against the Angels. I don’t expect sweeps of any teams, but I’ll be disappointed if they don’t take the series against everyone not based out of Detroit through this point. Of course, it’d be nice if they could at least split with the Tigers too. After the off day, the Yanks will trek north to Boston for a critical three games against the Sox followed immediately by the second off day of the month on August 19th.
The following nine days include four games (in three days) against the Blue Jays in New York, three games against the Rays in Tampa, and then three more back in Toronto. August 29th is the final off day of the month, at which point they’ll begin a three game set against the Orioles at home which will take us into September. The team has a chance to capitalize here on some (theoretically) winnable series. They could also gain a few important games in the standings within their division. On the other hand, if the team struggles in August, that probably seals the deal on the season.
September, unfortunately, looks equally (if not more) daunting and will likely be a lot more nerve racking if the Wild Card race comes down to the wire. After Baltimore, the Yanks have a quick three-game set against what will hopefully be a depleted White Sox squad. Then it’s three games against the Red Sox (at home), four more games against the Orioles (this time in Baltimore), and three more games against the Red Sox (this time in Boston). They’ll get one day off on September 16th, followed by a quick trip to Canada for their final series against Toronto.
After that, the team will have a three-game set against the Giants back in New York followed by their final off day on September 23rd. The Bombers will get another crack at the Rays (at home) before concluding their season in Houston with a three-game bout against the Astros. Overall, 18 of their final 27 games will be played against A.L. East teams. They better make them count.
Assuming the team doesn’t raise the white flag and punt the rest of the season by the deadline, they’re going to have a hard road ahead of them in the second half. It’s definitely doable, but in order for a postseason berth to remain plausible, the team is going to have to sort out a bunch of lingering issues in a hurry and then make the most of the games remaining.