Five of ESPN.com's MLB beat writers who cover teams battling for wild-card berths were asked to make a case for why their team will be playing a do-or-die playoff game in October. Below, Andrew Marchand argues for the New York Yankees against fellow writers Eddie Matz (Baltimore Orioles), Mark Saxon (St. Louis Cardinals), Katie Strang (Detroit Tigers) and Adam Rubin (New York Mets).
For more on the other contenders, check out Wild-card Wednesday.
Marchand: For those who think the Yankees will take the wild card, the logic is simple -- they are playing as well as anyone in baseball right now. Despite the fact they have a brutal schedule, those who believe the Yankees will succeed think that going 13-5 in their final 18 games will be no problem. I tend to doubt the Yankees can get to the 89 or 90 wins it will take to win a wild card, but if they go into their final three games against the Orioles with a chance to make the playoffs, that will be a pretty significant accomplishment in itself.
Matz: If Marchand himself can't even defend the team he covers ("I tend to doubt the Yankees ..."), then there's no need for me to pile on. My work here is done.
Saxon: Remind me not to hire you if I'm looking for someone to sell my house. "Those who believe?" You were supposed to believe, Andrew. That was the assignment! Since you don't, I don't either.
Strang: I imagine the sort of success the Yankees have had since selling off assets at the trade deadline isn't something anyone would have predicted, but eventually the joyride must end. Youth and inexperience will leave the Yanks exposed as the playoff race heats up, with a slew of games against divisional opponents also desperate to nail down a playoff spot.
Rubin: Gary Sanchez might be a nice story, but the Yankees simply do not have the pitching horses to get to the 89 to 90 wins it will take to earn a wild-card spot in the American League this year. Furthermore, while playing the teams ahead of them in the standings in a simple sense might seem like an opportunity, it realistically means the Yankees have too steep an uphill battle.