Just for a moment, imagine that it's possible.
The New York Yankees making the 2013 postseason, that is.
It's been a challenging-as-all-heck year for the Yankees, who had an aging roster to begin with and then endured injury after injury after injury over the course of 150 or so games games so far.
Things didn't get any easier for the Yankees on Tuesday, either, following a 2-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays—their fourth straight loss. That leaves New York, at 79-72, three-and-a-half games back of an American League wild card spot entering play Wednesday, a deficit that while not entirely impossible to overcome—at least, mathematically speaking—puts the Yanks as the last of six teams fighting tooth and nail for the two wild card berths.
That's a lot of leapfrogging for such an old team.
But for a moment, let's just hit pause on all the aging, all the injuries and all the other problems that have occurred, and let's find a hypothetical path—an idealistic yet realistic one—to get the Yankees to the postseason outright (i.e., no play-in tiebreaker) for a fifth straight season.
It's not going to be easy, and there's a lot to keep track of, especially with many of these six clubs playing each other down the stretch. Essentially, the Yankees' potential for getting to the postseason is like a tenuous and intricate web of maybes and if-so's where a pull here causes a ripple effect there.
For the sake of simplifying things—and grounding this rather fanciful exercise in somewhat of a reality—we'll figure that the Yankees would need to shoot for the second wild-card position (the top spot would be going even further overboard), and they would need to finish with at least 88 wins on the year. That means they would have to go at least 9-2 over their final 11 games.
That in mind as the goal, let's get started.