Via Jack Curry today -
When the Yankees gazed at their schedule last week and noticed that they had six games with the Cleveland Indians and the Toronto Blue Jays, they realized they had a superb opportunity to silence two wobbly teams and strengthen their lead in the American League East. It is politically correct for the superior team to say that the inferior team could win on any given day. But, in sports, politically correct isn’t always correct.
When the Yankees woke up on Friday morning, it was the 80th straight day that they had been in sole possession of first. But, because the Yankees didn’t stomp on the Indians and the Jays by going 5-1 or 6-0, they have put themselves in a precarious spot. Besides the Orioles, the pitching-rich Tampa Bay Rays are also chasing the Yankees and sit 4 1/2 games out of first. Across the next 10 days, the Yankees will play the Orioles seven times and the Rays three.
While I focused on the Yankees going 3-3 in the last week, they have actually been a .500 team for more than a month. In their last 32 games, the Yankees are 16-16. Yes, they have endured a spate of injuries, but they have too much talent to play .500 for that long. For the next 10 games and beyond, the Yankees have to prove that.
The next ten days will not make or break the Yankees 2012 season. But, I do strongly believe that it will tell us a lot about the character of this team. If the Yankees do not win six of their next ten games (over this ten day period) – at the least – then, in my humble opinion, they are pretenders and not contenders this year (no matter what their overall record is this season, to date, and where they are in the standings).
How about you, what do you think?