How Does the Schedule Stack Up for the Yankees for the Remainder of the Season?
By Cary Greene
August 17, 2021
Okay, I was forced to write this article….forced by the New York Yankees refusing to mail the season and forced by Brian Cashman’s upgrades to the roster which was his open acknowledgement that the lineup needed left-handed. All of a sudden, I can’t help feeling…reinvigorated?
I’m watching games again, unlike Cubs fans. I’m on the edge of my seat!
Can this team make the playoffs? Is it even remotely possible?
Let’s frame this situation. Fangraphs reports that the Yankee’s chances to make the postseason are now at 52.8%! Wow! Almost even odds, imagine that!
There is one single topic today that trumps all others. We actually do have a statistical crystal ball, which will serve only to frame today’s conversation.
Tempering the excitement might be a wise play at this juncture. Several weeks ago, the Yankees chances were much more remote, as in – under 40%, but here we are! The gap is no longer an interplanetary divide – can the Yankees make it all the way there though?
Also, how does the schedule stack up to those of divisional rivals and wildcard challengers?
See chart below as we start our conversation today:
Everyone is trying to catch the team that clearly has the hardest remaining schedule and it’s not close. The poor A’s have their work cut out for them.
Sitting atop the American League East but also owning a very difficult remaining schedule are the Rays, who have critical series remaining with the White Sox and the Astros.
Teams that are likely to slide in the standings are the A’s and possibly the Rays. Teams that should creep closer are the Blue Jays and the Red Sox. Because of their schedules, they would be the most unlikely teams to fade at this point. Make no mistake, the stretch run will be amazing and it will (of course) decide this wild and crazy season.
Coming into the stretch run, which I define as the last 10 games of the season, the Yankees have the toughest schedule. The Yanks end the season by playing Texas (3 games) and then Boston (3 games), Toronto (3 games), and Tampa Bay (3 games).
The Red Sox, whose last six games are against Baltimore and Washington, should pull away a bit and lock up the top seed in the Wild Card. The Rays (who finish with Miami, Houston, and NY) should slide a touch, making the Division race a little bit closer than it is presently. I could see Tampa winning the AL East again, but this year, the margin might be a single game.
There will be no coasting home for the Bronx Bombers if they intend to make the playoffs. It will need to be all hands on deck and Aaron Boone had better recognize this and not succumb to the temptation of resting key players during that stretch. Catching the Oakland A’s will need to be the Yankees’ focus. Based on the schedule, it is a distinct possibility that the A’s will slide and that the Yankees may rise.
Most concerning however is that the Blue Jays have the easiest stretch run of any contender. Could Toronto overtake the Yankees and snatch the remaining playoff spot? It is easily possible given the Blue Jay’s cushy stretch run schedule. The Jays end the season by playing four against Minnesota, three against the Yankees, and then three against Baltimore.
The Yankees need a huge boost right now. I was hoping Luis Severino would be able to strengthen the rotation, but he’s had a pretty serious setback in his rehab process as he’s experienced shoulder pain and is undergoing an MRI. Not what I was hoping to see develop.
Corey Kluber might provide critical help down the stretch though, along with Jordan Montgomery and … <gulp> Aroldis Chapman.
More than likely, the entire key to the Yankees season will be in the hands of the players Cashman calls up in September, when MLB rosters expand slightly.
Can the Yankees sneak into that second wild card spot?
I really believe a great deal depends on the six remaining games with the Blue Jays with three of them sandwiched between season ending series with Tampa and Boston. I’ll tell you right now, as an avid strategist who is particularly skilled at planning and battlefield masterplans, it’s going to be kind of a miracle if the Yankees pull this off. I think it is unlikely that NY will make it, but I think that it is still possible.
The slow start put them in the position where those final games, against division opponents, are going to huge.
In my opinion, the Yankees have made it this far despite Yankee leadership. They will likely need to win in spite of their leadership, which is my biggest fear as the Yankees charge into the remaining 45 games. The schedule is a touch fuzzy also as there is a concerning “TBD” on the schedule, I’m referring to Sunday, September 26th game in Boston. The start time of this game is up in the air. I’m hoping the game isn’t going to become part of a Saturday Double-Header. The Yankees will be stretched very thin at that critical juncture of the season.
Ultimately, the Yankees need a serious boost or they’re going to fall just short.
What are the thoughts of the Yankee faithful regarding this critical topic?
Can the Bombers make it into the playoffs?