Most of all, this game is a fun reminder of how quickly feelings can change in baseball. When this series started on Friday night, most of us were feeling crappy about the dreadful series against Boston, and the 6-3 road trip felt like a distant memory. Now the Yankees have rattled off three straight wins against a struggling Cleveland team, scoring 11, 4, and 9 runs along the way, and the team looks a lot better than they did Friday morning.
In the big picture sense of things right now, the Yankees really look like two teams; the team that plays Boston and the team that plays everyone else. The team that plays Boston looks like total crap, with a 1-8 record and a handful of embarrassing losses (plus the Jorge Posada drama, for that matter). The team that plays everyone else, on the other hand, looks like bona fide World Series favorites, with a 35-19 record, an offense that can blow up at any time, and a surprisingly effective starting rotation, and their .648 winning percentage would easily be the best in baseball.
The nice thing is that, though it might now feel like it, the Yankees play more games against everyone else than they do the Red Sox, and thank to that the non-hypothetical Yankees are still in a pretty good position as well. They’re 36-27 at the moment, good for a winning percentage of .571, the second best in all of the American League behind just those darn Red Sox, and their offense is still tied for the league lead in wRC+ with Boston (or was entering play today, anyway). Realistically, if the Yankees main competition right now were anyone but Boston, things would be looking like roses and there’d be little doubt the team was headed to another October.
But because Boston is hot, and in part because the Yankees are still just two games ahead of third place Tampa Bay in the A.L. East, things seem a lot worse than they are. Of course, there’s plenty of reasons to be worried, especially considering the mounting number of pitchers on the disabled list, but there will be opportunities to add some help in the next month or so, and hopefully help will be coming from within in the form of Phil Hughes and Rafael Soriano returning from injury.
But the big thing to remember is that the Yankees can’t control anything but how they play. They can’t control the outcome of a Red Sox-Blue Jays game, nor can they control how well individual Boston players are performing. The only thing they can control is how well they play, and right now they’re playing very well in cases where the opposing team is wearing anything other than a Red Sox jersey. That needs to continue, and hopefully the wins will start to come against Boston as well, but right now it’s hard to really complain about where the Yankees are sitting on June 12th.