I know what most of you are thinking at this point in the season. We are 8 games back in the division ,3 out
of the Wild Card and labeling this as a “disastrous season”. Before we all panic and write off this season as one of the worst ever, there are some things you should take into consideration when we step back and evaluate the season so far.
While I would agree that winning the division is not the most realistic option at this point, you are only THREE out of the Wild Card . Since when is that considered a failure? The problem here lies deeper than what is on the surface of looking at statistics and leaderboard charts. We, as Yankee fans have been spoiled rotten. We are used to getting the top players no matter the cost, leading the division by 5 or more games and it has become almost a foregone conclusion that the Yankees are always a part of the postseason. The 1996-2003 Yankee teams gave us 4 championships, dramatic comebacks and the beloved “Curse of the Bambino”. Since that time, the Red Sox have won 3 championships and the Yankees being knocked out in the first round of the playoffs has become a recurring theme (with the exception of 2009).
The issue here is perspective. We are in a transition phase in baseball. One in which going to the postseason is no longer “destiny” or a foregone conclusion. Just ask the Phillies and Rangers about that one. However, changing one’s mindset regarding the expectations of the Yankee’s fans is easier said than done. We are seeing the results of this right now. A team that had 80% of its starting rotation go down to injury and is still 3 games over .500 is now considered a failure.
Amazingly, pitching has not been the issue. The patch work solutions of Greene, McCarthy and Capuano have given you more than you could have possibly expected. When Tanaka went down a lot of people wrote off the Yankees rotation as weak. Ironically, it has not been the pitching that has been the culprit. Offensively, the Yankees have been anemic. They have lost more 1-run ballgames that I can remember in recent history.
While it is encouraging that this team isn’t getting blown out night after night, their failure to get the ‘big hit’ or hit a home-run is very concerning. How many times have we seen single, single, double play. I keep waiting for them to finally breakout as they seem to always do each year. No doubt, this is a frustrating offense to watch. I mean, these are the Bronx Bombers right? Unfortunately, we can’t live in the past glory of who the Yankees were. We need to realize who they are right now and think logically. For a team to be 3 games behind a Wild Card spot after losing the majority of their rotation to injuries is pretty amazing. To the benefit of the Yankees, this is one of the most mediocre baseball seasons for the majority of teams, excluding the A’s & Dodgers and Orioles.
Want perspective? Do you think the Mets would trade records with the Yankees? How about the Phillies? We need to realize that while yes, a 2014 Division Title realistically may be a pipe dream, getting into the playoffs this year may not be so far-fetched. All that Yankee fans need to focus on is getting into the playoffs, no matter the way they do it. Then, from there as we know, anything can happen. After all, that’s baseball Susan. Right?