New York Yankees: Looking Good For Postseason

May 5, 2010   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

The New York Yankees have the second best record in baseball. That should be good enough to get them to the postseason.

That’s in spite of the fact that the Yankees are not favorites at this time to win the American League East, although they might still do so. For now, Tampa Bay has the division lead. Meaning that it’s the Yankees’ wild card chances that are now operative.

The Yankees have a commanding 5.5 game lead over Boston, normally their main rival in the American League East.

Granted, if the Red Sox win eight games in a row in the season series as it did last year, then splits the remaining seven games with the Yankees 4-3 (which it didn’t, the Yankees took the remaining nine), then the Bean Towners would be three games ahead, all other things being equal.

But all other things are not equal, because the Yankees tend to do better outside the American League East. So the Red Sox have the dual challenges of winning the rest of the season series and outpacing the Yankees elsewhere.

Closer to the Yankees in the standings are the Toronto Blue Jays. But this team tends to lose to the Yankees in the season series, and fade later in the season as well. Meaning that they have not historically been a threat in the division, even when they get off to a good start.

And if the Yankees do fall behind a resurging Red Sox team, a large part of the reason might be an inordinate number of wins by the the Blue Jays (who have more remaining games against the Yankees than any other team in the league). In which case the Red Sox would have merely switched one leader for another.

With regard to other potential wild card contenders, the Yankees are 4.5 to five games ahead of both the Texas Rangers and the Oakland As, the leaders of the western division.

And the Bombers have helped their chances against both teams by taking three out of three at home against the Rangers, and two out of three on the road against the As. The Yankees are only even in the season series against the Los Angeles Angels, who are, however, further down the western division standings.

Which leaves only Minnesota and Detroit in the Central Division as a threat. These could indeed be the biggest threats, because they haven’t yet played the New Yorkers this year, although the Yankees have done well against both teams in the past.

But the Bombers are 2.5 and three games ahead of the Twins and Tigers respectively in the wild card race. As such, they have “insurance” in the form of the possibility that ONE team will overtake them (and establish itself as the division leader), but the OTHER, second place team won’t, for the wild card. Only if BOTH teams surpassed the Yankees would their postseason chances be in trouble.

The Yankees do have several series in the next two weeks against Boston, Detroit, and Minnesota. If they lose most of these games, it might, of course, call into question my thesis. My guess is that they won’t, but rather extend their winning streak. If this is the case, what is now a meaningful wild-card lead might become unassailable.

Then win or lose the division, there is a strong possibility that the Yankees would face the Tampa Bay Rays for the American League pennant, after each defeat their respective divisional opponents. And the winner of this contest might well go on to win the World Series.

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