I had pegged yesterday's downtime as a perfect opportunity to write a long post lamenting the death of the 2008 Yankees. Instead, I've decided giving up hope completely at this point was just too depressing to face. Instead, I'm going to give the Yanks the benefit of the doubt for a little longer, and squeeze the last ounce of optimism out of my body for this post.
The Yanks are 6.5 games behind the Sox heading into tonight's game, 6 in the loss column. They're also 3 games behind the Twins. Insurmountable? No. Unlikely? Yes.
At this point, just playing really good baseball probably isn't going to be enough. My rule of thumb is usually if you control your own destiny, nothing is over. Meaning, if you have more head-to-head games left with the team you're chasing than the number of games you trail them by, you have a shot. Well, the Yanks and Sox will play 6 more times, so a clean sweep would pull them even in the loss column, all things being equal. Obviously, you can't rely on that. Also playing against my control-your-own-destiny theme is the fact that the Yanks have no games left with the Twins. They're going to need help there.
Let's not talk about win totals. Forget the end of the season, let's look at what lies right in front of us. The Royals are coming to town tonight on the heels of a three-game sweep at the hand of the White Sox. They've lost 7 of their last eight and are averaging 1.875 runs/game over that stretch. This series needs to be a sweep. The Yanks will send Pettitte, Ponson and Moose to the hill against Meche, Grienke and Bannister. Clear pitching advantages in the first two, not so much in the second. They have to find a way to get it done.
The Twins will play a three-game set against the M's at home, which could easily be a sweep. The Sox are home against Toronto. A sweep might only keep the Yanks even with the teams they're chasing, best case, they gain a game on the field and then we worry about the next series.