The New York Yankees have a day off today to reflect on their whole season and what lies ahead of them. The Yankees rose to the occasion this week and, with great urgency, swept the Texas Rangers, keeping them in the running for a wildcard berth. But what lies ahead is far more daunting and will decide the whole season. After the sweep, the Yankees now hold the second wild-card berth.
In the final nine games of the regular season, the Yankees will face the most challenging situation they have faced all season long. They will only face teams that are statistically better playing teams. Starting tomorrow, they hit the road to face the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. It doesn’t get easier after that when they play the Blue Jays at Rogers Center in Toronto.
Finally, the last three games of the season will be played back at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. The problem with this schedule is that the Yankees have not prevailed over these teams all season long and now must be able to do that if they have any hope of a 28th World Championship.
This season the Yankees have won 6 of 16 games against the Toronto Blue Jays. They have won only 7 of 16 against the Red Sox. They have won 7 of 16 against the Tampa Bay Rays. All three of these teams do not have the challenging last nine games that the Yankees have, making it even more difficult to succeed.
There are many things the Yankees can’t control. For instance, all three opposing teams could go on a nine-game losing streak, which is unlikely. However, the one thing the Yankees can control is how they play over the next nine games. If the Yankees win more games, then they lose the whole season could come down to the last three games at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees will be playing the Rays; the Red Sox will be playing the Blue Jays. The Yankees will also have to scoreboard watch the Oakland Athletics that are just 2.5 games back in the wild card standings.
With any team being able to beat any team on any given day and the unpredictable nature of baseball, one thing is for sure. Scoreboard watching will become a new art form in the coming days. Each and every game is so important to every team in contention. It sure will be exciting and hopefully rewarding for the New York Yankees.
If the Yankees fail to reach the postseason, there will be many questions to be answered. In the words of George Steinbrenner, if the Yankees don’t win a World Series, it is a failed season. However, I am not sure Hal Steinbrenner, Brian Cashman, and Aaron Boone share that same feeling. As exhibited by manager Boone’s constant praise of the team even when not winning. Boone says he is not worried about his future with the Yankees, but with the season on the line, you can’t but wonder, tucked back in his head if he may wonder if his job is on the line.
Recently I conducted a poll of several Facebook Yankee groups, asking who should be fired if the season does not end well for the Yankees. Getting the pulse of a large group of Yankee fans was eye-opening. The choices I gave were Aaron Boone, Brian Cashman, Gary Sanchez, and Gleyber Torres. I must say the results were not unexpected.
First, a little about the poll, it is certainly unscientific and doesn’t represent the view of all Yankees fans, only of those responding to the poll. There were 1,526 responses, with some only commenting and not voting. All of the responses from the different groups were similar. However, one group really targeted Boone compared to the others, and one group really didn’t believe Sanchez should remain the Yankee catcher. One thing that was universally true was that Yankee fans are not ready to give up on Gleyber Torres.
Aaron Boone: 38% of respondents want Boone gone at the end of the season. Some mentioned his lack of ability to motivate, while others criticized him for not being his own man. Some mentioned his inability to manage the bullpen. A few offered that he can’t win in the postseason. Some said to bring back Girardi or Showalter. Two said to give Phil Nevin a chance. (third base coach)
Brian Cashman: 23% think his time should be over. Several mentioned that Hal Steinbrenner tied his hands; others complimented him on giving the team what they needed this season.
Gary Sanchez: 24% think Gary Sanchez will not carry the team into the future and should be replaced. Some sighted his passed balls and inconsistent hitting, while others praised his arm. A few said he was clueless.
Gleyber Torres: 14% think Torres has had his chance but failed. But most that commented stated that he is still young and will improve.
Marcus Thames: 1% although not on the ballot, 12 respondents added him for his lack of getting a powerful team hitting.
Other comments said all of the above. A few said none of the above. Some had a defeatist attitude and said whatever they do, it won’t make a difference.
After reviewing all of the votes and comments, it leads me to believe that the Yankees win or not need a shakeup or even a complete overhaul top to bottom. However, some suggest the Yankees need a new owner.