After being beaten by the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night, the New York Yankees once again find themselves tied with the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the American League East. Just how much trouble are the Yankees in with 21 games remaining in the regular season?
That, friends, is a really good question.
The Yankees are tied with the Orioles and just two games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays.
AL East Standings
The Yankees led the division by 10 games near the end of June. Yet, here we are. New York is only 4-6 thus far in September, and truthfully has not played good baseball for months now. They are 32-32 since the beginning of July.
The Yankees are beaten up, with Mark Teixeira out and a host of other players -- including slugger Alex Rodriguez and star pitcher CC Sabathia, playing now but having missed significant time. The Yankees have a make-shift lineup that doesn't score consistently, a starting pitching rotation that does not have a shut down ace (Sabathia is no longer that guy) and a bullpen where setup-man David Robertson, the eighth-inning bride to closer Rafael Soriano, is 0-3 this month with an 8.44 ERA.
Baltimore is younger, healthier (even with outfielder Nick Markakis done for the year) and has gone 25-13 since the beginning of August. The Orioles show no signs of wilting.
The Rays clearly have the best starting pitching, and have gone 23-14 since the beginning of August.
The problem the Yankees have, if they don't somehow manage to win the AL East, is that the bumbling Bombers could -- stunningly -- find themselves out of the playoffs altogether.
American League Wild Card Standings
|New York||79||62||.560||2||Lost 1|
|Tampa Bay||77||64||.546||4||Lost 2|
|Los Angeles||77||65||.542||4.5||Lost 2|
|Kansas City||64||77||.453||17||Won 2|
(updated 9.12.2012 at 12:37 PM EDT)
Right now the Yankees would be the second team of the two AL wild cards if they fail to win the division, meaning they would end up in a one-game playoff with the Oakland Athletics. The Yankees have the Rays also nipping at their heels for that spot.
So, if the Yankees don't find a winning formula -- soon -- they could be headed toward what will go down as a historic collapse for the winningest franchise in sports history.