In the end, the Yankees finished 6 games behind the Boston Red Sox this season – and six games back from being the A.L. Wildcard team.
On the season, the Yankees went 51-46 when playing “winning teams” (meaning they had a winning percentage >=.500) and 38-27 when playing “losing teams” (meaning they had a winning percentage <.500).
It was New York's play against "losing teams" that hurt them in the standings this year - as Boston went 46-18 against "losing teams" and Tampa Bay went 42-19 against "losing teams." The difference here between New York, Tampa and Boston is why the Yankees finished where they did in the standings.
In total, when the Yankees played the Reds, Pirates, Indians, Tigers, Royals, and Rangers this year, they went 15-21. And, those are ‘bad’ teams. If you want to say that those 7 games under .500 against these ‘bad’ teams is the difference between the Rays, Bosox and Yanks this season, I would not fight you on it.
In particular, from June 6, 2008 through July 10, 2008, the Yankees lost six games to the Royals, Reds, Rangers and Pirates that they should have never lost. Here are the games – and the player on the Yankees who probably had the biggest hand in that loss:
Damon…Melky…Giambi…Posada…and A-Rod. Hey, what can you say? It was a team effort, right?