This has been a frustrating Yankee season, to say the least. The combination of injuries and austerity has sucked some of the fun out of following my favorite team. Losing is part of the game. But it isn’t exactly engaging to know that your team is losing because of a poor combination of frailty and management stinginess.
That’s why these past few weeks have been such a breath of fresh air. Suddenly Yankee fans are getting a taste of the team they could have had. Hate him or really hate him, Alex Rodriguez can still hit, certainly better than guys the Yankees had been putting at third before him (Al’s wRC+ is 114 this year). Alfonso Soriano is currently making Cubs fans wish they’d put some protection around him in the batting order. Curtis Granderson has come back to give the Bombers a .375 wOBA. And it should come as no surprise that at the same time that the Yankee lineup got so much deeper Robinson Cano has started hitting again, improving his season long numbers to .297/.382/.493 (far worse than what he’s done in years before, but still). And that’s before Derek Jeter gets back. Suddenly, the Yankees have a lineup.
The Yankee pitching has been middle of the pack this year, but is the combination of decent pitching with renewed hitting enough for the Yankees to make a run at a Wild Card slot? As of this writing there are exactly 40 games left in the Yankee season. The Pinstripes sit six games out of a Wild Card slot, behind the Athletics (and a host of other teams). Based on that, the odds look steep. Stranger things have happened, but the Yankees would have to become one of the hottest teams in baseball and would still need a bit of luck to pull it off.
But, it’s an enticing prospect. The collective media freak out alone would be worth it. Were it to happen I can only hope that A-Rod would make a solid contribution down the stretch. Speaking from a purely baseball perspective it would breathe some much needed life to a moribund season. It’s a long shot, practically an impossibility, but with pop back in the lineup it’s something to think about.