30 Aug 2011
Another Yankees-Red Sox series, another chance to hear that the Yankees can’t beat Boston. So far in 2011 that has been true, but it isn’t something I will worry about if they meet in the ALCS. And it doesn’t matter what happens in the final six games of their season series either as far as playoff predictions go. Let’s say the Yankees win all six, does that mean they are now the “hot” team and would clobber Boston in the postseason? As anyone who watches sports knows, of course not.
The 2007 Yankees dominated Cleveland in the regular season, sweeping them twice and outscoring them 49-17 in six games and then promptly got bounced out of the playoffs by that same team. The 2007 Giants lost to the Patriots in the final game of the regular season and then beat the perfect Pats in the Super Bowl. LeBron James is still waiting to get the ring Dirk Nowitzki now has. And did anyone have the Mavericks making the finals when the NBA Playoffs started this year? We just saw Aaron Rogers lead the lowest seeded team in the NFC, Green Bay, to a Super Bowl title. Nope, the playoffs are unpredictable and it is foolish to try and extrapolate a future result from past performance.
So, the Yankees 2-10 record versus Boston means two things to me. First, head-to-head the Red Sox have been significantly better than the Yankees so far. Second, as a result of their superiority so far, they are in first place and the Yankees are not. Think about it, if the Yankees had split their series with Boston so far they would be 84-48 and Boston would be 78-55. That’s translates into a 6-1/2 game lead in the AL East. That is what is significant to me about 2-10, because I believe that winning the AL East is vitally important to the Yankees chances to win a World Series title this year.
I don’t know if Joe Girardi or Brian Cashman would agree with that. Last year, the Yankees seemed confused about what to do during the final month of the season and they alternated between taking their “foot off the gas” and “putting the pedal to the metal”. (Remember when Dustin Moseley got scratched from a start and Hughes took his place after the Red Sox crept close in late September?) This year, I would love to see a definitive push for the AL East title. The good news is, despite their ineptitude against Boston, the Yankees are right in that race. The question is, will they take advantage of their good fortune?