If the Yankees win five games, they will make the playoff.
Today, Wallace Matthews of ESPN notes the lack of excitement in the Yankiverse last night, as the team plods toward whatever the hell it's plodding toward.
T]he entire mood, in the stands and in the clubhouse, seems to be one of resignation, if not disinterest. With their team fighting for its playoff life, Yankees fans left about 10,000 seats empty Friday night, which meant about 2,000 more showed up than on Thursday, the night the Yankees honored the memory of the late Yogi Berra. And there were a lot fewer than that left in the ballpark by the time David Robertson -- who was known to blow a three-run lead from time to time during his tenure as Yankees closer -- came on to nail it down for the White Sox.
Nobody cares? Not an exciting pennant race? Well, I'd say Yankee fans recognize a basic truth here:
THE ONE GAME PLAYOFF IS NOT THE POST-SEASON. THE YANKEES WILL CLINCH NOTHING BUT A CHANCE TO MAKE THE POST-SEASON.
Matthews continues, noting the team's current malaise:
... [S]teadily downhill. Nathan Eovaldi, their winningest starting pitcher, is out for the year. Mark Teixeira, the most potent bat in their lineup, is out for the year. Jacoby Ellsbury, their $153 million table-setter, has looked mostly lost since returning from the DL in July. Brett Gardner, who was supposed to be 1a to Ellsbury's 1, has hit .196 since the end of July. A-Rod has two hits in his past 23 at-bats and his average has fallen below .250. Chase Headley still is making throwing errors.
In July - when the Evils led the AL East by seven - the NYC courtier press enshrined Brian Cashman into Cooperstown and debated which superstar - A-Rod or Tex - would win the Comeback of the Year.
Now, we're limping to a silver medal and the phantom slot, because the lords of baseball expanded the number of teams that can chase the phony "post-season." But NYC fans aren't buying it. The truth is, if Bud Selig's expanded playoff system existed in the 1980s, the 14-year barf, the Yankees several times - with their sorry lineups of Danny Tartabull and Lenn Sakata - reached the Wild Card playoff.
Unless it wins the one game, the 2015 season is another flop.
And until Oct. 6, when the smoke clears, YES ought to get its facts down:
THE PLAYOFF IS NOT THE PLAYOFFS.
THE ONE GAME WILD CARD IS NOT THE POST-SEASON.
IF WE DON'T WIN IT, WE ARE JUST ANOTHER ALSO-RAN.