Monday, August 25, 2014

When can we take the New York Yankees seriously?

The New York Yankees are certainly an enigma. One good series, one really poor one follows and then another positive step. After a series sweep of the Chicago White Sox, the Yankees have won four in a row. Is now the time to take them seriously? Many think there is no sense in it. All is lost already. Some believe a good run can prove the team deserves a place in the discussion about the postseason. I had a brief chat about it yesterday on Twitter and now I’ll delve deeper into the subject.

The New York Yankees’ massive offseason expenditures have been discussed at length and it put them in the conversation as a team which could make some serious noise in the postseason. Injuries, poor performance and lack of consistency across the board have contributed to a lackluster season thus far. Here’s the thing; the Yankees (67-61) are still in the playoff hunt because the rest of the American League is, well, not very good.

The Yankees have gone 20-14 since the All-Star break and during this recent six-game homestand they finally climbed above the .500 mark at Yankee Stadium (33-31). The problem is they squandered two games against the lowly Houston Astros.

This is what the Yankees have done most of the season. They’ve suffered inexplicable losses to poor teams and followed them up by successful, albeit short runs of good play. It seems that for every good stretch of five, six or seven games, they slump for the same number right after it. Then they put together another respectable series and make me think they’re ready for a run. I thought it after they took three of four from the Detroit Tigers (part of a stretch of six wins in seven games), and then the Yanks proceeded to lose five straight.

When can we take the Yankees’ chances of reaching the postseason seriously?

In short, after they prove they can win consistently and dominantly for an extended period.

The Yankees have been unable to have a truly dominant string of 15-20 games, one which should place them back in the conversation as a team to watch in September (let alone October).

So, here we are in the midst of an upcoming four-game stretch against the Kansas City Royals (makeup game Monday) and then the Tigers, both ahead of the Yankees in the standings. They follow that up with three games in Toronto against the Blue Jays who are right on the Yankees’ heels.

Once again, it seems like we can look at this as a make or break stretch for the Yanks. If they take five of the next seven games that would make 11 wins out of 13 games after suffering the five-game losing streak. Further, they would finish August 17-11.

It remains to be seen if it is enough, but such a finish sets them up for a potential charge in September. The Yankees need to make up a couple games on the teams ahead of them before the end of this month, by winning, not sticking around with a mediocre pack.

If they succeed, I believe the weakness of the rest of the league would surely give the Yankees a feeling that they can reach the postseason and potentially do some damage in October. And at that point, not before, I think we can take the Yankees’ chances seriously.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer/editor and the Director of Content Strategy for Sportsideo.