I’ve convinced myself that A) the Yankees don’t deserve to make the playoffs, and B) they won’t make the playoffs. Yes, it’s possible, and I was fairly optimistic as recently as last week, but the series against the Red Sox and the two games against the Blue Jays have hinted at an offense which isn’t that much different from the beginning of the season. So many fans (and the Yankee players) believe they have the team has the capability of making a strong run over the next 10 games. There’s an improved lineup, a beneficial schedule, and they’re only 2.5 games out. But there are so many teams to jump over, it’s hard to imagine everything going their way. On top of that, the lineup has shown their true colors. After putting up a .267/.337/.417 line in August, they’ve now hit .234/.304/.384 in September. The pitching performed equally as bad.
So is it possible? Sure. You can’t predict baseball, but the odds are terrible. CoolStandings has the Yankees’ odds at a Wild Card berth at 6.0%, and assuming they have a 50% shot at winning the 1 game playoff, it’s 3.0% to make it the ALDS. So that’s why I’ve convinced myself that this little playoff run isn’t happening. Not because it’s impossible, but because it’s improbable and I don’t feel like being disappointed through the next 2 weeks.
I mentioned above that the Yankees don’t deserve to make the playoffs, and I think a lot of Yankee fans will agree with that point. The problem is, which teams deserve to make it out of the American League Wild Card race? The Rangers and Rays are completely falling apart, and the Indians and Royals are benefiting from a weaker division. If you want to root for the underdog, the Royals and Indians are probably your pick, but with all those opportunities to beat up the Twins and White Sox, do they really deserve to win anymore than the Rays, Orioles, or Yankees? With the ridiculous amount of injuries, maybe the Yankees do deserve to make the playoffs, but I hate rewarding bad baseball. It’s not the team that I’m rooting against, it’s the front office and decisions that have been made. Making the playoffs might send the signal that the Yankees are good enough. It might encouraging more of those moves we hated during the 2012-2013 offseason and the 2013 trade deadline. Making the playoffs, perhaps even just the 1 game Wild Card, might tell ownership that $189 million should happen.
Meanwhile, if the Yankees don’t make the playoffs, I think there’s a chance ownership skips the $189 million budget. When the Yankees performed like this in 2008, ownership gave Cashman the money to acquire Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, and AJ Burnett. It was enough to win it all in 2009, and an example of why the Yankees shouldn’t rebuilt, but instead flex their monetary muscles.
In the back of my mind, I know there’s a chance to win it all. It would be nice to give Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte (assuming he retires again) a chance to win in their last season. This just feels like the way it should happen.
At the end of the day, a part of me is rooting against the Yankees during these last 10 games, but not because I’ve grown to hate this team. 2013 has actually been one of the more exciting roller coaster seasons, one where every game matters. You have to push for some of these young and old players who wouldn’t have a shot in other years. But ultimately, there’s some merit to rooting against short term success for long term assurance. Ownership and management shouldn’t be content with what they’ve done. The Yankees shouldn’t have to rely on Ichiro Suzuki and Chris Stewart and Vernon Wells and Phil Hughes and Lyle Overbay and Eduardo Nunez and Jayson Nix. Part of me would rather see these decisions rejected in a fiery blaze of late season losses. But a bigger part of me just wants to see Rivera and Pettitte pitch game 7 of the World Series, and a part of me wants to see Alex Rodriguez hit some walk off home runs while a bitter Bud Selig cringes.