New York Yankees: How Do Their 2011 Postseason Chances Look If Red Sox Collapse?

September 19, 2011   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

When the 2011 season started, did anyone think the Boston Red Sox wouldn’t make the playoffs?

No. Everyone had them pegged to win the American League East over the Yankees, coast to the American League Championship and maybe even the World Series.

You would think the Red Sox would be owning the American League East, considering they are 11-4 against the Yankees in 2011 head-to-head.

Fast forward to the end of September. 

Not only are the Red Sox not in first place, they are on the verge of losing their spot as the American League Wild Card team for the playoffs.

As of Monday, the Yankees have a 5.5 lead over the Red Sox in the A.L. East and look like they might win the division and get home field in the American League playoffs.

Boston is 3-14 in the month of September and have now dropped all the way back to having a 1.5 game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays for the Wild Card spot for the playoffs.

Tampa just beat Boston in three out of four games this past weekend and are breathing down Boston’s neck.

If Boston continues its trend, it could be facing possible elimination from the postseason and facing its second straight October with no playoffs.

So, back in March, a lot of people thought with the additions of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford that Boston was destined to be the World Series Champions.

And here in late September, the Red Sox could be planning early vacations and playing golf soon if they continue their trend.

So, lets say the Red Sox complete their New York Mets-like collapse in 2011 and somehow the Rays or even the Los Angeles Angels, who are 3.5 games behind Boston, take the Wild Card spot.

What does that do for the Yankees chances in October?

Most people felt that the Yankees and Red Sox would be destined to face each other in the ALCS, so if Boston isn’t there, that changes a lot of things.

If the playoffs were to begin today, the Yankees would open up the postseason facing the Texas Rangers, the same team that beat the Yankees in the 2010 ALCS and ended their season.

If the Yankees do get Texas, I like the Yankees chances, especially since Cliff Lee isn’t pitching for the Rangers anymore.

Without Lee, I think the Yankees will beat Texas in 2011. They owe Texas one for last year.

On the other side, it would put the red-hot Detroit Tigers up against whoever comes away with the Wild Card, whether it be the Red Sox, Rays or Angels.

Does any team want to face Detroit and the possibility of facing Justin Verlander twice in a five-game series? No.

Lets say the Tigers get past whoever they face, which would set up a Yankees-Tigers ALCS.

With a seven game series, it changes the odds, especially if Verlander has to pitch in Game 5 of the ALDS and is pushed to Game 3.

As for the Tigers’ pitching, with the exception of Verlander and Brad Penny, it has yet to see anything like an October series, and Penny likely won’t be starting for Detroit.

Rick Porcello, Max Scherzer and Doug Fister, the Tigers second, third and fourth starters, have never pitched in the postseason.

Now, put these guys in a playoff series against an experienced Yankees roster.

I know back in the 2006 ALDS the Tigers pulled off a shocking series win over the Yankees, but that was a different Yankees team that took the Tigers way too lightly.

The Yankees wouldn’t take the Tigers lightly if they met in the 2011 ALCS.

I would like the Yankees chances against Detroit in a seven game series.

Now in the World Series, whether they play the National League favorite Philadelphia Phillies, or a surprise team like the Milwaukee Brewers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals or San Francisco Giants, it’s a whole different story.

But if the Red Sox somehow complete their September collapse and get knocked out all together of October baseball, I think it only increases the chances of the Yankees getting back to the World Series.

One thing is for certain, with Boston struggling tremendously, it makes this weekend’s final series between the Yankees and Red Sox that more important.

On one side, Boston will be fighting to stay alive in the playoff race.

On the other side, the Yankees would love nothing more than to kick the Red Sox out of the playoff race completely.

The playoff race is heating up. Who will make it and who goes home?

Stay tuned Yankees Universe.

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