Check the scoreboard: The Yankees lost today and the Orioles won this evening. What does it mean? Here’s the dealio:
The Yankees have four games left to their 2012 season. Their “magic” number is five – meaning that any combination of Yankees wins and Orioles losses that equal five, by the end of the season, would lock up the A.L. East for New York.
So, yeah, if Baltimore goes 2-2 in their final four games this year, then the Yankees need to win 3 of their final 4 games to take the crown in the East. And, if the O’s go 3-1 to close out the year, then the Yanks need to win every game they have left this year to win it. But, if the Birds go 1-3 then the Bombers would only have to go 2-2. (Raise your hand if you also think there’s little chance that Baltimore is only winning one more game this year.)
Face it Yankeeland, your team is going to need 3 or 4 wins in their last four games to win the A.L. East. And, if you ask me, that’s asking a lot.
Remember, this is a Yankees team who had a 10-game lead in the standings on July 18th and has gone 34-33 since that time. (And, don’t forget, they went 21-21 in their first 42 games of this season too.) So, more than likely, we very well could see the Yankees go 2-2 to close out this year.
Yet, the Yankees will make the post-season this year. Their “magic” number to lock up a wildcard spot is two – meaning one more Yankees win and one more Angels loss seals the deal on New York getting a wildcard berth. However, there’s more…
The Yankees have a one-game lead, at this writing, over the A’s in the wildcard standings. If that holds up, then the wildcard playoff game would be in New York. But, if the Yankees really tank their last four games, there’s a great chance that they will have to fly out west to Oakland for the winner take all game – and then fly to Texas for the ALDS (should they advance).
Personally, I think this all makes Sunday’s game in Toronto huge for the Yankees. You don’t want to lose that one and then maybe be in a situation where you have to win your last three games (at Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox). Granted, Boston’s pitchers for those games are all “TBA.” Then again, you never know when someone is going to have a Rick Waits moment against you. So, why push it?