On July 18, the New York Yankees held a commanding 10-game lead over the second-place Baltimore Orioles. It seemed as if that lead would not be relinquished, as many believed the Yankees to be the most complete team in baseball.
Fast forward 43 games, and the Yankees are now tied with those same Orioles atop the AL East. Since July 18, the Yankees have compiled an unimpressive 19-25 record.
Shoddy pitching, unreliable relief, a one-dimensional offense and injury upon injury have put the Yankees in a position that they most certainly do not like to be in.
Even with their fall from grace atop the AL East, the Yankees could still be in position to clinch one of the two AL wild-card spots. If they win the playoff game, they're in the postseason.
If they lose, well, we could potentially see some changes by 2013.
Don't expect any of those changes to be made in the team's management, however. Ken Davidoff of The New York Post reports that owner Hal Steinbrenner will not look to replace either of Joe Girardi or Brian Cashman.
Both Girardi and Cashman have been a part of championship teams with the Yankees, and one disappointing finish in the regular season shouldn't be enough to warrant the loss of their jobs.
On the field, however, Yankees fans could be watching a bit of a different team in 2013. Nick Swisher could be on his way out, Russell Martin may not be asked to return and the pitching staff seems to always be a question mark lately.
For now, the Yankees will of course focus on 2012 and making the postseason.