As you can see from the picture above, Joe Girardi has as much interest in seeing the possible outcomes to his season as you do.
So let's all face it: The Yankees, as we have come to know them, are not playing "up to par"—and that may be putting it very nicely. Blame whom and what you want—injuries, not making the right moves, underperforming by players, etc.
We can all sit and blame whom and what we want, but ultimately, that is not going to help the Yankees win/score more/pitch better/get healthy.
I'm not here to place the blame on anyone, but I will look into the crystal ball and talk about a few possible outcomes for the Bombers season.
First Scenario: The Best Case (real world)
This scenario is one that all Yankee fans would like to see. First off, Mike Mussina continues to pitch as well as he has and ends up with a 19-win season. This is helped by a Yankees offense that all of a sudden starts consistently running on all cylinders and scores the most runs in the majors for August and September.
Joba Chamberlain comes off the DL and resumes his role in the starting rotation, continuing to pitch very well and is helped by said offense. Phil Hughes and Carl Pavano return to the order, pitching well, not great, and earn a win or two to bolster a rotation that has been suspect at best.
The Rays, in part due to injuries to Longoria and Crawford, go into a slump and get into a tight battle for first with the Yankees and Red Sox. The Yanks somehow wind up in first by a half game, and the Rays take the wild card.
The Yanks play the Halos in the Divisional Series, but ultimately lose in Game Five due to a Vlad Guerrero walk-off. Although it is not a World Series, the young Yanks show promise, Girardi and Cashman keep their jobs, and Steinbrenner sits in the luxury boxes at the new Yankee Stadium lighting cigars with $100 bills.
Likeliness Rating: Very
Second Scenario: Worst Case (real world)
The Yanks' poor, inconsistent play continues, causing them to miss the playoffs, finishing 10 games out of first in the East. Hal and Hank fire Cashman but keep Girardi, but also say that if there are any signs of struggling next season, Willie Randolph is the new manager.
This is the worst case for the obvious reason of missing the playoffs, something that has not been seen by most middle schoolers of today.
Likeliness Rating: Very (yes, it is very likely that either of those could happen)
Third Scenario: Best Case (Fantasy Land)
Now it is time to have some fun. The Yankees, all of a sudden, are playing absolutely perfect. Chamberlain, Hughes, Pavano, and Matsui all return from the DL, and Jorge Posada uses holistic medicine to cure his ailing shoulder.
The Yankees are almost all healthy, besides Chien-Ming Wang, who injured himself thinking about a world with no DH.
The Bombers go on a stretch where they win 40 of their next 42, pitching five perfect games and one no-hitter in the process (due to a Robinson Cano error). They lose the two due to forfeit, because those games happened to coincide with Brett Favre/Jets preseason action.
They win the East easily, cruise through the playoffs, and by some loophole win the World Series in three games—don't ask me how. It is tough to explain.
Likeliness Rating: Doubtful (Hey, you never know)
Fourth Scenario: Nightmare (fantasy/maybe reality)
The Yankees lose 40 of their next 42 games, while their whole pitching staff goes on the DL, forcing them to start bullpen guys and minor league call-ups.
A-Rod still manages to put up good numbers, posting all of his HRs and RBI only when the Yankees are down by double digits. Derek Jeter requests a trade, stating, "I want to play for a winner for once," baffling the New York media and fans, and ultimately accepting a trade to the Washington Nationals.
Steinbrenner sells the team to a man with mob-related ties, who ultimately changes the name to the Bronx Money Launderers, but claims they don't even play baseball but run a legitimate dry cleaning business in the tri-state area.
Likeliness Rating: Improbable
Fifth Scenario: The "Somehow Carl Pavano Wins" Scenario
Carl Pavano gets activated from the DL just in time to bolster a struggling Yankee rotation. During his first start, he gets into some trouble in the first inning and starts to hear the boo birds, but eventually settles down.
The Yanks and Pavano go on to win that game, the first of many for Carl in September. He is somehow able to go 4-0, with two key wins against the Rays, and one against the Red Sox, and the Yankees make the postseason.
There, Pavano again pitches well, earning four wins, and one of the Yankees' wins in the World Series, where they lose to the Cubs, four games to three. Pavano showed many teams that he could still pitch in the majors after Tommy John surgery, among other injuries.
The Yankees do not opt to resign him, but he gets many other offers from other teams, ultimately signing with the Red Sox for $35 million.
During his press conference announcing the signing, Pavano strains his mouth muscles from saying "cha-ching" so many times that he is forced to go on the DL for the rest of the season. He goes to bed later that night on a pile full of money next to a supermodel girlfriend.
Likeliness Rating: High (some people have all the luck)
And finally, the Sixth Scenario: WWE
The Yankees make it to the ALCS, where they are facing the Red Sox in Game Seven:
We are live from Fenway Park, tied in the bottom of the ninth with Mariano Rivera pitching, Jim Ross has the call...
"Here we are folks, in the shadow of the green monster, and it sure has been a slobberknocker thus far. We are tied here at 2-2, and the Red Sox have a runner on second.
"Mariano delivers AND IT'S A WILD PITCH, PEDROIA TO THIRD PEDROIA TO THIRD. OH MY GOD! But no runs score, Rivera settles down and delivers ANOTHER WILD PITCH, IT WAS IN THE SAME SPOT AS THE OTHER ONE, ALMOST 50 FEET IN THE AIR OVER THE UMPIRE'S HEAD, RIVERA PLANNED THIS, PEDROIA SCORES AND, WHAT'S THIS?
"MARIANO RIVERA IS TAKING OFF HIS YANKEE JERSEY TO REVEAL A RED SOX JERSEY! THAT S.O.B! THAT TWO-TIMING PUNK! WITH ALL THIS YOU HAVE TO WONDER WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN IN THE WORLD SERIES?! GOODNIGHT EVERYBODY!"
Likeliness Rating: High if Fenway Park decides to add a "Hell in the Cell" to the outfield
So there you have it folks, those are the ways the Yankees season could be coming to an end. Let's all hope for the best but prepare for the worst, as it could be a long offseason for the boys in pinstripes.