Following yesterday’s “grab victory from the jaws of defeat, then almost throw the damn thing right back” win against the Twins, the Yankees are back at .500, their record sitting at 34-34. In their last ten games, they are 6-4; currently ,they’re in fourth place in the American League East, 5.5 back of the division leading Orioles. In Wild Card terms, they’re 3.5 back of the second spot, presently occupied by the Blue Jays. Circling things back to a more “Yankee-centric” level, yesterday marked the fifth time the team had won a game to get to .500 this year. Let’s take a look back and see how the team’s done following reaching .500 with a win.
That is the story of the 2016 Yankees in table form: Just good enough to be respectable, but not nearly good enough to sustain anything. In between April 8th and April 24th–on April 12th to be exact–the Yankees were two games over .500, their highest mark above .500 all season. Should they win today–which is likely given that it’s a game against the Twins–they’lll be halfway to that mark going into a nine game homestand against the Rockies (2), Twins (3), and Rangers (4). Should they lose, well, would it really be all that surprising? This is a team that has been unable to gain any real traction beyond one six game win streak from 5/18-5/24. That and a recent five gamer against the Angels and Tigers have been the Yankees’ only streaks of more than two games all season.
While they embarrassed themselves in Colorado, the Yankees do have a chance to trot out an actual lineup against the Rockies this week and the Twins always seem to cure their ills. That could make things look good heading into the series against the Rangers…who have the second best record in all of baseball; their 44 wins fall short only of the Cubs’ 46. July tells a similar story.
The Yankees start July on the road in San Diego before crossing back to the south side of Chicago to take on the White Sox. Both of those are teams they can beat. After that, however, they hit another rough patch: series against first place Cleveland, then home games against the Red Sox, Orioles, and Giants, before ending the month on the road in Houston and Tampa.
The end of June and the beginning of July offer the Yankees a chance to win a bunch of series, even if they may struggle against the Rangers coming up. The Rockies, Twins, Padres, and White Sox are teams they can succeed against, and they just might. But if the relatively short history of this season repeats itself, the Yankees won’t get too far out ahead of .500 or gain much traction. On the little picture side of the coin, this will be frustrating. Watching a team win, lose, win, lose is not exciting; it’s downright maddening. But on the big picture side of the coin, struggling to gain ground will be a good thing; this team doesn’t need any delusions of grandeur heading into trade deadline season.