The New York Yankees have been doing a lot of celebrating recently. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Are the Yankees the juggernaut of recent weeks, or the struggling, aging team they looked like early in the season?
The New York Yankees saw their 10-game winning streak end on Tuesday night with a 4-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves. With the team's longest winning streak since 2005 now history, we are left to ponder a question. Just how good are the 2012 Yankees?
The Yankees have won 20 of their last 25 and now sit at 41-26, leading the American League East and with the second-best record in all of baseball. Yet, this is the same group of players that spent the first quarter of the season mired in mediocrity -- sitting mostly third or fourth in the AL East.
So, are the Yankees a juggernaut that will roll through the American League for the rest of the season? Or, are they a creaky old team on a magical ride that simply won't last?
TeamRankings.com projects the Yankees to win 94 games, gives them an 89.7 percent chance of making the playoffs, a 62 percent shot at winning the division and 15.6 percent shot at winning their 28th World Series title.
Can New York continue to steamroll through the American League -- and the National League for that matter, since their win streak was compiled during interleague play?
The starting pitching has been spectacular in recent weeks. Bronx Baseball Daily broke down the numbers, and found that Yankees starters have gone six innings or more in 19 straight starts. Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova have turned around their seasons. Andy Pettitte has been huge. The biggest question here has to be what will happen to Pettitte -- who did not pitch last season -- when the innings pile up later in the season.
The bullpen has been spectacular, even with Mariano Rivera down for the season. GM Brian Cashman is often criticized for his pitching moves, but Boone Logan, Cory Wade, Cody Eppley and Clay Rapada have all been effective. Rafael Soriano is handling closing chores without a problem. There really is not reason to think the bullpen won't continue to be a strength.
The lineup is aging and missing outfielder Brett Gardner, but still dangerous. Can the Yankees win games when they don't hit home runs? That has only happened once all season.
The Yankees can't continue winning four of every five games. If they continue to pitch well, however, there is reason to believe this team can make a run at that 28th World Series title.