I have to wonder whether Yankees fans even want their team to make the playoffs any more. Because if the Yankees are a wild card, and then win the one-game wild-card playoff, they would advance to the American League Divisional Series — almost certainly against the Boston Red Sox.
Haven’t the Yankees and their fans suffered enough in 2013?
Sunday’s 9-2 Red Sox win finished a three-game weekend sweep and was the last of the two teams’ 19 games this year. The final totals: 13 Red Sox wins, 120 runs scored and seven Mike Napoli home runs (it might have been more but Napoli was a DNP in three games vs. the Yankees).
It was also the last of seven Red Sox-Yankees games in 11 days, of which the Red Sox won six and scored 59 runs, or eight and a half a game. Napoli homered four times, the Sox 12. Before the first game, the Yankees thought they could win the division and Anthony Weiner thought he could be mayor.
Now the Yankees are eliminated, the Red Sox Sox will clinch shortly and Weiner has gone back to using his cell phone to raise something other than campaign cash. Like the Yankees and their injuries, I’m not sure we want to hear.
But here’s something Red Sox fans might not want to be privy to: they may not be done with the Yankees in 2013.
When the Yankees resume play Tuesday, they’ll be two-and-a-half games out of a wild-card spot with 12 to play, three teams to pass (Rays or Rangers, Indians and Orioles) and one to hold off (Royals). But the Yankees will play nine of those games vs. the Blue Jays, Giants and Astros, none of whom has yet reached 70 wins and the latter of whom is going for 100 losses.
The Yankees will also play three against the Rays, and the Red Sox will play six against the Orioles (this presents a quandary for Red Sox fans, whose two favorites teams are the Red Sox and whomever is playing the Yankees).
The Rays and Rangers play four against each other, the Indians and Royals play three against each other, and everyone plays the Astros, it seems. Thirty-seven games out of first place, the Astros play all 13 of their final games against NL and AL wild-card contenders. Imagine being the Rays or Rangers or Indians, and having your playoff berth depend on the Astros beating the Yankees on the last day of the season. I think I’d rather be in the position of needing Vanderbilt to beat Alabama.
(The Indians may have an even easier schedule than the Yankees: four against the Astros and Twins, and two against the White Sox after their series with the Royals).
The Yankees in the playoffs seem as unlikely as Eli Manning throwing four interceptions in a game. But it’s not impossible.
It’s worth noting that the Yankees, since they were 57-56, are 21-9 against teams other than the Red Sox. Of course, that’s the Yankees’ problem, aside from injuries, age and payroll, in 2013: they can beat almost everyone else in the American League except the team they’re going to have to eventually beat. Do Yankees fans want to go now? Or play another series against Mike Napoli?