One of my greatest fears as a child was being left behind. Whether it was hanging out with friends or while being with family, there was just something that terrified me about losing pace with people and just not being able to catch up. Alone to fend off the impending terrors that haunted my mind. I was also claustrophobic, but I don't think the Yankees need to be concerned about enclosed tight spaces right now. They do, however, need to be very concerned with getting ditched by the teams they're chasing in the playoff races. While the Yankees have been falling all over themselves, the Seattle Mariners, Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles have decided to play like legitimately good teams. They've all picked up the pace while the Yankees have slogged through the mud.
Sometimes we get accused of being too optimistic here at Pinstripe Alley (yet still probably too pessimistic by others) for not having buried this team a while ago. But as much as the Yankees and their crummy offense and terrible run differential made it seem like they weren't a playoff team, the odds were as such that the Yankees had more than a fighting chance to sneak in as either the second Wild Card team or even possibly as a division winner. Not because we thought they were any good, but because their competition seemed equally as flawed. Even as the Yankees continued to hover around the .500 mark, they remained close to or even occasionally found themselves in possession of a playoff spot. Boy, that seems like years ago.
The Orioles were the first to leave the Yankees in their dust last month, and have added another 3.5 games to their lead in August. And in just the last ten games the Royals have put four full games between themselves and the Yankees while the Mariners have tacked on three themselves. Of course the Royals have been so ridiculously hot that they're actually leading the AL Central, but I don't think the thought of the Yankees pursuing the Tigers and their rotation from hell is going to inspire any confidence. With the Yankees being stuck firmly in neutral, their playoff odds on FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus both sit right around six percent. It's the sort of outlook that might make me suggest the Yankees start putting their more attractive and tradeable assets on waivers, but I'm not going to waste my breath suggesting this franchise wave the white flag. One of those "I'll believe it when I see it" things.
It did seem like things were really breaking right for the Yankees this season when both the Red Sox and Rays fell on hard times. The two favorites in the division went by the wayside. But even then you can't be a mediocre team and just waltz into the playoffs; other unforeseen teams are bound to surprise and throw themselves into contention. As it just so happens, those teams are significantly better than the Yankees right now. Perhaps the Yankees have another run in them and their rivals are bound to have a slow stretch or two, but that will probably not be enough to propel them into the postseason. On the plus side, at least the Yankees aren't being ditched all by their lonesome. It looks like they'll have the Toronto Blue Jays to hang out with.