The New York Yankees are falling hard, and they don't have much time left to get back up. With 25 games left on their schedule, the team needs to make some changes quickly if they want to save their season.
In a league that has seen many collapses in recent years, the Yankees are struggling to keep their name off of that fateful list. The team has lost 11 of their last 16 games and have seen the Orioles catch them in the AL East division.
The Yankees are still a long way away from missing the playoffs, but as we saw last season with the Cardinals, momentum is key.
If the Yankees want to get some back, here are some things they need to do.
Alex Rodriguez injury
The biggest problem for the New York Yankees this offseason is actually one that is quite out of their hands. The team has been absolutely plagued by injuries, and they need their full roster back if they want to make a playoff run.
With injuries to C.C. Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Andy Pettitte, the team has lost three of their top four starters throughout various points in the season and only have one of those guys back right now.
Offensively, the various injuries to Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson have forced three of their four best power hitters on the team to watch from the bench during key portions of the season.
Injuries are part of the game, but they aren't an easy part to get past. The Yankees have to hope their players can stay healthy, and start moving on fresh from here on out.
Andy Pettitte delivering a strike
Andy Pettitte has won more playoff games than anyone else in the history of baseball. It's not a stretch to claim he would be very useful to the team come October.
The New York Daily News has reported Pettitte isn't quite set to return yet, but he did feel good pitching in a simulated game.
Unfortunately, the tightening of the division title race will make it difficult for the Yankees to ease Pettitte back into the rotation, but having him ready for the playoffs will be crucial to the team's success.
Mark Teixeira making contact
The New York Daily News announced Mark Teixeira could return to the Yankees on September 7th, and that is a huge sigh of relief of Joe Girardi.
Having Mark Teixeira back on the roster will be a great help on both sides of the ball. Nick Swisher has done his job at first base, but he can't quite make amazing plays with the same consistency as Teixeira. Tex is an elite defensive player and can close off a larger part of the field for his pitcher.
Offensively, Tex is vital to the Bombers getting their power back. Teixeira is a great power hitter in his own right, but he also will help to balance out the lineup as well.
By joining Granderson, Cano and Rodriguez in the middle of the order, Teixeira makes this team a very dangerous one at all times.
Joe Girardi walking back to the dugout
This part is way easier said than done, but it is hugely necessary.
The Yankees are reeling right now, and need to get their things back in order quickly before it's too late. When a team is struggling as the Yankees are, the last thing they need is to have the media and fans breathing down their necks.
Unfortunately for them, the Yankees play in New York.
The media is all over the team, so Girardi needs to keep his team away from reading the papers and towards taking each game as they come. The team needs to get back on track, and that will only be done by forgetting recent weeks and refocusing on obtaining a playoff berth.
Joba Chamberlain has been plagued by injuries this season, and he has yet to fully return to his previous form. Fans remember how amazing of a reliever Joba once was for the Yankees, and his power is still there.
Joe Girardi refuses to use Joba in pressure situations until he is fully recovered, but the Yankees are running out of time. Chamberlain's control has yet to be satisfactory, but that will only come with playing time and New York is running out quickly.
Joba's return may not pan out this season, but if it doesn't, he can be sent down to the minors and save a playoff roster spot. He could also find his groove with innings and be a very useful piece behind David Robertson and Rafael Soriano.
Either way, the Yankees need an answer now.