With pennant races ending in a whimper in every division but AL Central Casting, baseball writers across the country are apparently starved for interesting storylines these days. How else to explain the dizzying takes of late on the Yankees' playoff aspirations?
Last week, a stumble against the Mariners and a series-opening loss to the Angels in Anaheim led to a barrage of stories hinting that the mighty Yankees were heading toward another hard fall in October.
There was the "After Sabathia, the rotation is horrible" angle, the "Sabathia is terrible in the playoffs and Pettitte's shoulder is FUBAR" angle, the "Joba sucks, it's the Yankees' fault, and they will pay for that reality accordingly" angle, and my personal favorite, the "Albaladejo is stealing everybody's lunch from the office fridge and it's destroying team chemistry" angle.
Okay, the last one (probably) isn't true, but the other storylines were all reported ad nauseam in newspapers and blogs across the country last week. It was enough to make you wonder if the Yankees should even show up for the ALDS.
But writing off a team that has played .700 ball for over three months isn't exactly smart journalism. Following their hiccup, the Yankees beat the Angels twice in a row and then flew home and swept away the Red Sox to clinch the AL East and home-field throughout the playoffs. New York (101-56) has now won six straight.
With that, the Yankees are a juggernaut again, the "team to beat," etc., etc.
The binging and purging of Yankee Kool-Aid this season is enough to make a Gossip Girl jealous.
Ultimately, both sides of the argument are entirely plausible. The Yankees are both unstoppable and imminently stoppable, depending on how you want to look at it. We won't know for sure until they play meaningful games again.
Eight days and counting. The suspense is killing me.