New York Yankee fans have been patiently waiting for one of their veteran stars to break out and deliver the kind of September that makes October playoff baseball a reality.
Exactly 20 games remain in the 2012 regular season—12% of the full slate of 162 games— so while the Yankees poor play over the last eight weeks makes it feel like the sky is falling, there are still plenty of games left for the Bombers.
That doesn't mean there's not a sense of urgency or that the Yankees shouldn't be on high alert for the streaking Orioles and even the Oakland A's—potentially— charging in the wild card. Though for a veteran-laden club with loads of championship experience, the Yankees need to remain calm and get back to basics.
Namely, the basics that helped get them a 10-game lead back in mid-July. There were encouraging signs on Wednesday night as Curtis Granderson returned to being the slugger that Yankees fans have come to love, blasting two home runs in a 5-4 win in Boston.
Robinson Cano also bombed his 30th homer on the season and David Phelps, who had struggled over his last several starts, delivered a strong five and two-thirds innings performance to get the victory in Beantown.
The Yankees know better than anyone that they can still get hot and that great starting pitching, power hitting and a sound relief corps will help them win the division. Baltimore has been red-hot for a while and may threaten to take the AL East for the first time since 1997.
The Yankees would much rather win the division to avoid having to play the wild-card play-in game which is a one-game, winner take all entree into the division series. Though ultimately, it's all about getting there and the Bombers will attempt to do so by any means.
Helping their cause of late is catcher Russell Martin, who has finally come out of his season-long slump to get on a seven-game hitting streak. The Yankees are relying on veterans like Martin, Jeter, Swisher and A-Rod to carry the load. They're also hoping pitchers like Ivan Nova can dazzle over the final 20 games.
Here are five New York Yankees due to get hot the rest of the way in September.