Yes, the dreaded Yankees have closed within five games of the Red Sox seemingly once insurmountable lead. Of course, the Red Sox still have six head-to-head games with the Yankees this season, and I really do not see the Red Sox finishing less than ten games ahead of the Yankees. As the pumpkin patch grows and Autumn lurks around the corner, the Red Sox remain in the drivers seat.
I know, I know, the Yankees fans out there are preparing all those email and text messages about the Red Sox swooning in September and that the Yankees are peaking at the right time. But, I am willing to give them a mulligan and a chance to wait until the end of the next couple of weeks before telling them I told them they were delusional. Here are three reasons why the Sox hang tight.
1. All Yankees fans fervently believe that this team will win 67% of the their games with a rotation of the Wanger, Old Man Andy Pettite, Older Man Mike Mussina, Oldest Man Roger Clemens, and a reincarnated Whitey Ford (I mean, Phil Hughes). Yeah, sure this team is going to win two-thirds of their remaining games.
2. The Yankees last 29 games have all been against sub-.500 teams (well the Blue Jays are a .500 team, but let us face the facts: they are floundering). In those 29 games, the Yankees won 19 (about two-thirds). So the Yankees pick up a couple games on the Sox playing the dregs of the American League (Chicago White Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays, Kansas City Royals, et al) while the Sox beat up on the Wild Card competition for the Yankees (LA/Anaheim/California Angels, Seattle Mariners, and the Cleveland Indians. Seems to me, the Yankees just finished their last gasp chance to catch the Sox.
3. Regular Joe Torre knows he has to win the AL East or win the World Series as the Wild Card to have a prayer of returning in 2008. He has already ground one bullpen incarnation into the dirt. How long until he destroys what is left of the tattered arms in the pen? Oh, and I almost forgot the Steroids Poster Boy Jason Giambi and his shower buddy Johnny Damon have the chemistry-killing joy of fighting each other for at-bats like ravenous wild dogs fighting for scraps beneath the table of a medieval royal banquet.
The Yankees took their best shot and have fallen short. Now the Red Sox have a chance to get hot against the bottom-feeders while the New Yorkers struggle to hang around .500 for the next month. Be sure to tell all the Yankees fans you know to enjoy the thrilling Wild Cardrace this fall as they slip beneath Cleveland/Detroit as the days begin shortening.
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