Right around the All-Star break baseball critics were saying how the New York Yankees were out of the division and out of the Wild Card race. Look at them now – 4 games behind the Boston Red Sox, the smallest margin since May 1, and they are tied with the Seattle Mariners for the Wild Card. Although since the All-Star break their schedule didn’t include anyone over .500 (Toronto Blue Jays were flirting around .500) until the Cleveland Indians this past weekend, they ended up sweeping the first-place Indians proving that they are the real deal.
Since the break, they have the best record in baseball, scored the most runs, hit the most home-runs, and they have the highest slugging percentage…and they are only going to improve from here. You see, the Yankees have made some improvements since the All-Star break that makes them different now. They have acquired the young infielder Wilson Betemit from the Dodgers and the back-up catcher Jose Molina from the Angels, promoted heavy-hitting Shelley Duncan and top pitching prospect Joba Chamberlain from Triple-A. Not to mention Alex Rodriguez has the stress and pressure of hitting his 500th home-run off his back and Jason Giambi coming off the disabled list healthy and swinging. Back in May the Yankees were trailing the Sox by 14 ½ games and by All-Star break were 1 game under .500. Since then, they have gone 21-7 and are 16 games over .500. It’s looking real good for the Yankees, who are combining superb pitching with tons of run support.
September is closing in and the Yankees have 6 more games with the Red Sox, who are now within a realistic reach for the Bombers. Although the Yankees have the toughest schedule in the league this month, this will also be the test on whether or not they have the right stuff to make it to the playoffs. After the Yankees finish up this series with Baltimore, they play three division leaders – the Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, and the Boston Red Sox.
Bottomline-if the Yankees continue to play like they have been, they will make it to the playoffs one way or the other, whether it be closing the gap with the Red Sox enough to take the Division or holding on to the Wild Card, but be certain that they are in it for the long haul.Powered by Sidelines