MLB Playoff Race: New York Yankees' Collapse Shouldn't Worry Fans

Andrew BurtonCorrespondent IIISeptember 5, 2012

ST. PETERSBURG - SEPTEMBER 04:  Infielder Derek Jeter #2 (left), pitcher Andy Pettitte #46 and pitcher Joba Chamberlain #62 of the New York Yankees watch the end of the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on September 4, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

Last Tuesday night,, the New York Yankees relinquished a 10-game lead in the American League East and now are tied with the Baltimore Orioles for first place. However, fans shouldn't be worried because the Yankees will be playing baseball in October. 

For one thing, Mark Teixeira will be back sometime this month. Having him in the lineup should refresh the offense, and it gives the Yankees a solid hitter, whether he's in the 3, 4 or 5 hole. Before the injury, Tex was batting .255 with 23 HR, 81 RBI and a .335 OBP. New York will greatly benefit from the extra production when he returns. 

He is also one of the league's best defensive first basemen; a countless number of times he's prevented the ball from going into the outfield on a bad hop. So Teixeira's defense will definitely be appreciated by manager Joe Girardi.  

Also, Alex Rodriguez just came back from the disabled list. He'll certainly impact New York positively. Just his presence alone in a lineup will strike fear in the opposition. Although he's only hit 15 home runs and batted in 44 runs, what he's done in the past is enough to make pitcher's throw carefully to him—not to mention that Robinson Cano bats behind him in the lineup.

Since his return, A-Rod has two hits in eight at-bats—good enough for a .250 average, which boosts him to .275 this season. He has let New York down at times, but he could be a great spark for the offensive woes that the Yankees currently have. 

Let's also not forget that Andy Pettitte is also scheduled to make his return this month. Currently sitting at 3-3, Pettitte has an ERA of 3.22. Most importantly, he knows how to pitch in clutch situations, and the Yankees need clutch now. If he can give quality outings, the Yankees can get themselves into the playoffs, whether it be through claiming the AL East or the Wild Card. 

Most importantly, after this week, New York's schedule gets a bit softer, and they should be victorious in quite a few of the remaining series. They have four games left with Tampa Bay, including one tonight (Wednesday), a four-game series against Baltimore, a series with Oakland, six games against the Red Sox, seven games against the Blue Jays and three games against the Twins

While it won't be easy, the Yankees will be a bit healthier in terms of lineup and rotation, for reasons mentioned above, and they could certainly pull back into sole possession of first place.

We're talking about the playoffs here, and the Yankees should never be counted out for the playoffs.