New York Yankees’ Playoff Hopes Still Very Much Alive

1995 and 2007 Seasons Give Reason to Stay Optimistic About Fourth-Place Yankees

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New York Yankees’ Playoff Hopes Still Very Much Alive
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What was that, Yogi? It ain't over, 'til it's over? Well that's music to the 2013 Yankees' ears.

COMMENTARY | If the playoffs started today, the New York Yankees wouldn't be in the postseason. But good news for Yankees fans: The playoffs don't start today. In fact, they don't start for another 2 1/2 months.

Yes, it's the All-Star break. And, yes, the Yankees are 51-44 (.537), six games behind the first-place Red Sox, and three games back of the second wild-card spot.

But all is not lost, and the Yankees' playoff hopes are still very much alive.

While I'm sure many would scoff at this statement, consider this: The Yankees are missing five key offensive players, they've scored less runs than they've allowed, their .243 team batting average is second-worst in the American League, and they're still in contention.

Honestly, with everything that has gone wrong for the New York Yankees this season, and just about everything has, to be where they're at is quite an achievement.

"I think based on the unprecedented number of injuries that they've exceeded expectations, they've over-performed," Yankees president Randy Levine told ESPNNewYork.com.

And he's right. They have over-performed, but does this mean that this type of performance can't be sustained or improved upon? Absolutely not.

In fact, the worst is almost over. The Yankees have weathered the storm. The reinforcements are on their way back and a trade for a bat is looming.

The offense is bound to be better in the second half, which means so will the Yankees.

But just in case these reasons aren't enough for you pessimists out there, let recent history be another telltale sign that the 2013 New York Yankees' playoff hopes are alive and well.

1995 at the All-Star Break: 30-36 (.455)

Games back in AL East: 7.5

Games back in wild card: 7

Final record: 79-65 (.549), won the wild card

2007 at the All-Star Break: 43-43 (.500)

Games back in AL East: 9.5

Games back in wild card: 8

Final record: 94-68 (.580), won the wild card

As you can see, the climb facing the Yankees has been steeper before, and the mountain has been miraculously scaled.

So Yankees fans can find comfort in the fact that these seasons make this year's six-game deficit in the AL East and three-game deficit in the wild card seem like a walk in the park.

Just like what will be required for this season, the Yankees teams of 1995 and 2007 had amazing second halves, playing .628 and .671 second-half baseball, respectively.

Even more comforting, in those seasons, there was only one wild card to be had. Now, thanks to Bud Selig and company, there are two cards of the wild variety to be claimed.

I know the doomsayers, doubters, and cynics of the world would love to ask the question, "But what about 2008?"

Ah, yes, 2008: The only season in the Derek Jeter-era that the New York Yankees have failed to reach the playoffs.

And the big problem is, it looks alarmingly similar to 2013.

2008 at the All-Star Break: 50-45 (.536)

Games back in AL East: 6

Games back in wild card: 5

Final record: 89-73 (.549), 6 games back in the wild card

Will 2013 be 2008 all over again? Or will the Yanks conjure the spirit of '95 and '07?

Well, only time will tell and as the great Yogi Berra once said, "It ain't over, 'til it's over."

And for these 2013 Yankees, it's far from over.

Tobias Rosen is from northeast Pennsylvania. He has been an avid Yankees follower his entire life. He is the creator of the recently launched sports blog Not Quite Grantland.

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