The Yankees are on the verge of missing out on the playoffs for the second time in 19 years after dropping three straight, as the team sits three games behind the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers for the two AL Wild Card spots.
The AL Wild Card race is a tight one, as six teams sit within four games of each other for the two postseason berths.
|Tampa Bay Rays||81-67||-|
|New York Yankees||79-71||3|
|Kansas City Royals||78-71||3.5|
As you can see from these standings, the AL Wild Card will be decided largely by the last two weeks of the regular season, but the Yanks are on the outside looking in.
However, try as the Red Sox might to eliminate their rivals this year, the Yankees aren't out just yet.
#RedSox finish the 2013 season 13-6 against NY..if the Yankees miss the playoffs by a game or two..it's because of the Sox.— RedSoxLife.com (@RedSoxLife) September 16, 2013
New York could be in a much worse position after being decimated by injuries in 2013. The Yanks might sit in fifth place in the AL Wild Card race, but the door is still open.
The Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays will open a four-game series on Monday that could easily eliminate one of the two teams from the playoff race.
The Rangers are currently in free fall after losing six straight, and now the team could lose three of four to the Rays, or even be swept.
The Rays would essentially take the Rangers out of contention by winning the series against them, as Texas would continue its downward spiral and be forced to watch the postseason from home.
The Yankees play nine of their final 12 games against teams with records under .500, with the other three coming in a crucial series against the Rays.
While the Red Sox are good enough to sweep the Yankees, the Rays are not. Boston owns the best record in baseball, whereas the Rays have lost 14 of their last 21 games and have also been slipping.
The Yanks have an easy schedule coming up, which will allow them to keep the pressure on the other teams in the Wild Card chase for these last two weeks.
The Yankees know that their season is far from over. Third baseman Alex Rodriguez told Andy McCullough of The Star-Ledger that he hasn't ruled out the possibility of playing in October.
A-Rod on the Yankees making the playoffs: "Crazier things have happened."— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughSL) September 16, 2013
Star second baseman Robinson Cano went one step further on Monday, claiming that the team will make the playoffs because "God has a plan for Mo."
A-Rod and Cano are absolutely right. There's no reason to believe that the team can't make the playoffs, as it's schedule couldn't be much better.
According to CoolStandings.com, the Yankees only have a 6.5 percent chance to make the playoffs. However, the team's opportunity is there.
Will the Yankees steal one of the two AL Wild Card spots?
The Yanks are five games under .500 on the road and 13 games over .500 at home. That works in favor of the team, as it plays its vital series against the Rays in the Bronx, and its only remaining games are against the Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros.
For every time we've seen the Yankees appear to fall out of contention, they've always come back. When the team gets hit, it gets right back up, and that's what's going to happen over these next two weeks.
The Yanks have a solid chance to steal a postseason berth, and we'll see them make a run at it over these final games.