Being Their Own Worst Enemy Could Kill the Yankees’ Slim Playoff Hopes

If the Yankees are going to survive this hellacious season and miraculously make the playoffs, they have to stop squandering huge opportunities like Sunday’s loss to the Orioles. Yes, the injury bug really bit them big time this season and the starting pitching other than Ivan Nova and Andy Pettitte has crashed into a wall, but somehow they’ve managed to stay within four games of a playoff spot despite all of that.

But these golden opportunities they’ve wasted could potentially kill any momentum they could get to make that run to get into the playoffs. After a miserable 2-6 road trip dropping series to the atrocious Padres and White Sox early August, the Bombers immediately turned it around by going on a 11-3 run against the good (Detroit and Boston at Fenway) and the bad (Anaheim and Toronto) of the Junior Circuit to bring them within 3.5 games of the 2nd wild card spot.

The two series at Fenway and at home vs. the Blue Jays began a stretch going toward the end of the season where the Yankees would play a motherload of games vs. division rivals as well as a slate of games against some of the worst teams in the sport. 10 games vs. Boston, 10 games vs. Toronto, six games vs. Tampa Bay, seven games vs. Baltimore and the rest against the SF Giants, the White Sox, and Astros. It was and still is a perfect opportunity to steal games on the standings directly from the teams they’re chasing as well as potential easy pickings against some terrible squads.

Last nine games they’ve disappointed. They needed an extra innings victory to avoid being swept by the Rays, one of the two wild card teams they’re trying to catch. They also dropped a series in Toronto, as ace Hiroki Kuroda pitched very poorly in outings against both squads. Against Baltimore they were nine outs with a 3-0 lead from sweeping them until the normally reliable bullpen self-destructed allowing seven runs in an ugly decisive 7th inning which ruined Andy Pettitte’s stellar start.

With the Rays having a 1-5 week and getting swept by Oakland, the other wild card team, the Yankees blew another chance to get closer to them. Had they won yesterday and perhaps took the series in Tampa last weekend, they’d be literally right there. Instead, still 3.5 back with pair of four game sets against Boston and Baltimore in the immediate horizon. The Yankees cannot continue to squander these prime opportunities to get back in the race and overtake other teams in the hunt like Baltimore and Cleveland. They’re only being their own worst enemy if they do.

The Yankees host Chicago and Boston this week before heading off to Baltimore and Fenway next week. This could make or break their season. Gotta take it day by day. Win today, worry about tomorrow tomorrow all meanwhile hoping for some help. There still is plenty of opportunity. Just have to take advantage.

Just win, baby.

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