Pinstripes in October?
PLENTY OF REASONS
The Yankees have made the playoffs 17 of the past 18 years, and there are plenty of reasons to believe it'll happen again in 2013.
First, let's look at the pitching. As a staff, the Yankees currently sport a 3.71 ERA.
How good is that? Well, believe it or not, that's the team's lowest ERA since this remarkable run began back in 1995. In fact, the Yankees have had a team ERA higher than 4.00 in 13 of the past 18 seasons. Yet that's still been good enough to reach the postseason practically every time.
The numbers alone give you confidence. But look a little deeper. The Yanks have proven veteran starters in CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda. And they have arguably the best back end of a bullpen in the major leagues in David Robertson and Mariano Rivera.
Sure, the lineup isn't producing as much as it has in recent years. But the Yankees have been decimated by injuries in the early portion of the season.
Yes, Mark Teixeira just returned to the disabled list, and Kevin Youkilis could be lost for the year. But Teixeira should be back in two weeks, Curtis Granderson should return not long after, followed by Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. You can't predict how much these guys will provide, but that's certainly quite an infusion of talent.
Furthermore, the Yankees -- despite the inordinate amount of injuries -- are still seven games over .500 (38-31), and just a half-game out of the playoffs if the season ended today.
No one's running away with the AL East -- everyone except the Blue Jays is currently within five games of first place. And MLB's recent addition of a second wild card gives the Yanks an even better chance of playing in October.
Add it all up. Who would bet against the Bronx Bombers?
Kieran Darcy is a staff writer for ESPNNewYork.com
JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH
The Yankees will not make the playoffs because their roster, from top to bottom, is not good enough.
Well, the pitching is there, but the hitting is not.
The pitching has been above average all season and has kept the Yankees near the top of the AL East. CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda at the front and now David Phelps at the back have given the Yankees an excellent one-through-five. In the pen, Mariano Rivera, and all bridges leading to him, have been strong all season.
The Yankees might eventually receive some reinforcements. But if Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter come back, how good will they be? Both will have missed half the season and are now in their late 30s. That is not a good recipe.
Plus, I don't think the Yanks have the payroll flexibility or the high-level minor league prospects to pull off a big trade. Even if a trade is possible, they are limited by their high-priced veteran infield.
So far, the Yankees have done well, but I don't see them winning 90 games. Before the start of the season, I thought they would finish fourth in the tough AL East with 86 victories.
From what I've seen, I still like that prediction.
They just can't score enough runs.
Andrew Marchand covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com