The New York Yankees were supposed to be one of the best, if not the best, team in baseball entering this season. But if recent events have taught us anything, it's that fate can turn on a dime and counting chickens before they're hatched is to mock god. Okay, perhaps that's a bit dramatic. Yet there are hundreds of thousands of pinstripe enthusiasts waking up in the Tri-State area this morning with a film of dread and apprehension on their skin after the Yanks bumbled themselves to a loss against the Blue Jays in a minor-league park.
With only 19 scheduled games remaining in this duct-taped summer, New York finds itself occupying the 8th spot in the American League playoffs. They are two games behind Toronto for second in the AL East. A triumvirate of teams is nipping at their heels with the Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers, and Seattle Mariners all within two games.
It is not time to panic, of course, as the hunters include two teams that were supposed to flirt with 100-loss seasons and the Mariners, who figure to cool off at some point. But it is time to be very concerned as another bad week of baseball could doom the Yankees and result in the unthinkable: watching the postseason from home.
New York is mired in a 5-14 stretch, which in a normal year would be nothing more than a blip. This year it's a third of the season. Gary Sanchez has been indefinitely benched. An all-or-nothing offense has been routinely nothing as of late and runners are being stranded in confounding numbers. What was supposed to be a league-leading unit for run creation is floundering near the mean. The pitching hasn't picked up the slack either. Or the defense.
Simply put, they Yankees are struggling in all facets of the game. And brand-name is not protecting them from incurring the results. If there's a bright side, it's that they'll get ample opportunity to erase the deficit with the Blue Jays. The two teams have eight remaining dates. Of course, if Toronto proves to have the Bronx Bombers' number this abbreviated year, it will likely be curtains for any World Series or meaningful October baseball hopes.
The Yankees find themselves at a farm club upstate. They'd better get busy winning or they, like so many city pets before them, will find doom in those pastures.