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, all the time

Now that we’ve looked back at the tepid Yankee first half, it’s time to clear the slate and take a look at what has to happen in the second half for the Yanks to make the post season. Tomorrow, we’ll examine what happens if/when the Yanks look in the mirror and admit they aren’t making the postseason.

To get in…

The Yankees are currently 10 games behind the Red Sox in the A.L. East, and 8.5 games behind the Indians for the Wild Card. They’re also chasing Seattle, Minnesota, Oakland and Toronto in the Wild Card race. That’s the bad news. The good news is their upcoming schedule, beginning Thursday. Take a look after the jump:

Thu. 12 at Tampa Bay
Fri. 13 at Tampa Bay
Sat. 14 at Tampa Bay
Sun. 15 at Tampa Bay
Mon. 16 Toronto
Tue. 17 Toronto
Wed. 18 Toronto
Thu. 19 Toronto
Fri. 20 Tampa Bay
Sat. 21 Tampa Bay
Sat. 21 Tampa Bay
Sun. 22 Tampa Bay
Mon. 23 at Kansas City
Tue. 24 at Kansas City
Wed. 25 at Kansas City
Thu. 26 at Kansas City
Fri. 27 at Baltimore
Sat. 28 at Baltimore
Sun. 29 at Baltimore
Last game before deadline
Tue. 31 Chicago Sox
Wed. 1 Chicago Sox
Thu. 2 Chicago Sox
Fri. 3 Kansas City
Sat. 4 Kansas City
Sun. 5 Kansas City
Mon. 6 at Toronto
Tue. 7 at Toronto
Wed. 8 at Toronto


You’re eyes aren’t deceiving you, the Yankees play 28 straight games against teams with losing records as of the All Star break. 14 of those games are at home, 14 are on the road. This is the make or break portion of the season. If they are any further than 5 games out of either the Wild Card, or the A.L. East after this stretch, the season is over. The Sox don’t exactly play a tough schedule, they only play 7 games against winning teams over the same stretch.

I will take this a step further: The Yankees need to pick up at least 4 games in the standings by the end of the month. I’ll come back to this point later. Can they do it? Absolutely. They’re playing the dregs of the league, if they are what we think (hope) they are, every one of these series needs to be a win, and they need to finish the stretch no worse than 19–9. Unfortunately, that might not even be good enough to trim the deficit (Boston would have to go 15–14 over the same stretch for a five-game swing.)

How will they do it? Easy, they’ll play up to their potential, and they won’t mess with what’s working. It took nearly 80 games, but Joe finally found a lineup that works. Melky at #2, Jeter at #3 and Abreu at #7. This lineup clicks, and Joe needs to stick with it.

The rotation has two holes right now, Mussina and Igawa. We’re stuck with Mussina, and our only hope is that he mixes in a quality start here and there. By my estimation, Igawa will only be in the rotation for two more starts. Phil Hughes made his first rehab start yesterday, and barring any setbacks, he should rejoin the Yankee rotation on July 25th, at Kansas City.

The pen, on the other hand, needs to be figured out. Farnsworth is garbage. I’ve been saying it all year, and he’s done nothing to change my mind. I think Proctor gets the eighth, for now, and Edwar Ramirez, Bruney and Farnsworth battle it out for the seventh (Edwar is my choice right now, but he’s going to have to earn it in Joe’s eyes). Myers is your lefty specialist, Villone gives you some length, and Vizcaino is the mop-up guy. The most important thing for Joe to realize is that Mo’s workload has been extraordinarily low over the first half of the season. He’s got a ton left in the tank. If Mo needs to come in for a 4 or 5–out save, pull the trigger. He’s still the best in the business.

The Yanks don’t need to reel off 10 wins a row (it would be nice, but it’s not critical), what is critical is that they don’t have any losing streaks. Lose a game here or there, but don’t back them up.

If the Yanks are within say 6 games by July 30th, they’re officially buyers. Who is going to be out there to be bought is another matter, but they won’t hesitate to get someone to help. They have chips, and they have untouchables. The untouchables must remain so. Phil Hughes isn’t going anywhere. Joba Chamberlain, maybe. (Don’t tell the guys over at River Ave Blues that Joba could be used in a deal.)

Honestly, I don’t want to see the Yanks make a big splash at or near the deadline, because any splash is going to have a cost and the rebuild-on-the-fly process can’t handle that. If they do go out and get someone, I’d expect it to be Mark Teixeira, a bull pen arm (Eric Gagne?) or maybe an outfielder from the Phils. It all depends on the price. It’d be nice to see the Yanks get a lesser talent, at a lesser price, who could come in and give some energy to the team. Not too many names come to mind. Frankly, I like Philips at first, if they’re going to get help anywhere, I’d like it to be in the bullpen. Any kind of trade should include Farnsworth and his bloated contract, if at all possible.

So, that’s what they have to do, in my opinion. Will they do it? Yes, I think they will. This is a veteran team with too much pride to fade away. But what if they don’t, you ask? Well, check back tomorrow for a worst-case scenario of the second half.

by Brian on Jul 10 2007