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Looking Ahead: What stands between the Yankees and the Playoffs?

With 35 games left on the schedule, the Yankees are 8 games out of the division and games out of the wild card? So what's stopping a comeback?

Rich Schultz

The 2013 Yankees are beginning to look a little less 2013-y with the arrival of Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano. However, they may not have enough time to comeback. Last season, the Yankees ended the season 21-14 stretch in their final games. If the Yankees finish with the same run this season, they will finish at 89-73. Unfortunately, that hasn't been enough to make the playoffs in the AL East since 2000, when the Yankees won the World Series. The Yankees' best 37 game stretch this season was 24-11 back in April and May. In case you can't add well (I used a calculator), that would put the Yankees at 92-70, which hasn't been enough since the 2011 Rays... I hear they made a nice comeback too. So let's take a look at the remaining schedule and see what to expect before we count out anybody.

August 23-25: @ Tampa Bay

Season Series in Tampa: 3-3

The Yankees travel to St. Petersburg to take part in a crucial series against the wild card leading Rays. The Yankees offense will probably have some trouble keeping its recent hot streak going. They will face Chris Archer, who is 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA against the Yankees, David Price, 0-1/3.38, and Alex Cobb, 2-0/1.08.

August 26-28: @ Toronto

Season Series in Toronto: 2-1 Yankees

The Yankees have owned the Blue Jays this season and have won ten straight against the AL East bottom dwellers. The biggest question about this series will be how the Yankees respond after the big series against Tampa, whether its a big win or a devastating loss.

August 30-September 1: Baltimore

Season Series in New York: 4-2 Yankees

The Orioles will be another big series against a division rival in the wild card race. I expect these two teams to be even at the start of these three games. If there is anything to hope for before this series, it's that Chris Davis decides to stop batting left-handed.

September 2-4: Chicago White Sox

First Series in New York

We don't like to talk about what happened when we played in Chicago, so let's just hope the Yankees can get some revenge.

September 5-8: Boston

Season Series in New York: 4-2 Red Sox

This four game stretch before going on the road may be the most crucial to the Yankees' fate. Four games will more than likely give each team a chance to throw their ace and give each offense a chance to light up a Phil Hughes or Ryan Dempster.

September 9-12: @ Baltimore

Season Series in Baltimore: 5-1

The most difficult four game stretch may be at Camden Yards. The lone Yankees win in Baltimore came in mid-May with a comeback victory off none other than Pedro Strop, who is now gone. New York will need to find a way to win here if they want to make it to the playoffs.

September 13-15: @ Boston

Season Series in Boston: 3-3

Its never a good thing to lose the season series against the Red Sox. With seven games left against their rivals, the Yankees will need to win five of them for bragging rights, even if they don't make it into the playoffs. Although, if we can pull out five of those seven, our playoff chances look pretty good.

September 17-19: @ Toronto

Season Series in Toronto: 2-1 Yankees

We own the Blue Jays. Hopefully there's nothing more to that.

September 20-22: San Francisco

Hey! It's an interleague home series in late September. Hopefully this will be fun. Oh yeah, and this may happen:

September 24-26: Tampa Bay

Season Series in New York: 4-3 Rays

This will be it. Its not the last series of the season but if the Yankees can go into a series with the Astros while controlling their own destiny, things may turn out pretty well.

September 27-29: @ Houston

First Series in Houston

The Yankees took two of three in the Bronx back in early May, but they will be looking for nothing less than a sweep when they travel to Minute Maid Park.

Looking at these 35 remaining games, spread out over 11 series and six different ballparks, the new and improved Yankees look primed for a comeback. However, having a team like the Red Sox, Athletics or Rays collapse doesn't happen too often. I have done the background checks with probable pitching match-ups on all of these teams' final games and came to these five records:

AL Projected Final Standings

Boston 96 66 .593 0
Tampa Bay 94 68 .580 2
New York
91 71 .562 5
Oakland 91 71 .562 8
86 76
.531 10

(updated 8.22.2013 at 9:28 PM CDT)

So this should be a fun last month. It will be even more fun if we find that one extra win somewhere.

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