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New York Yankees Running Out of Time in Playoff Push

The Lineup is 'Whole,' but the Mountain May Be Too Steep for New York

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | With the return to action of Derek Jeter on Monday night, New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi says the team is "as whole as we've been all year long."

Is there still time for the "whole" Yankees to make the MLB playoffs? And, more important, do they have what it takes?

A little more than a week ago, I wrote that I was resigned to the idea the Yankees would not be playing October baseball this season. At the time, the Yankees were 6 games out in the race for the second wild-card spot and had four teams to leapfrog to get there. Today, with 31 games to play, the Yankees are 4.5 games out of that spot and have three teams to get by.

Yes, that is better. The Yankees, though, still have only a 7.8-percent chance of reaching the postseason, according to MLB.com. To get to the 92 wins that I previously estimated, the Yankees would need to go 23-8 the rest of the way, a ridiculous .742 winning percentage.

With Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, a rejuvenated Alfonso Soriano and Curtis Granderson now added to their lineup, scoring runs should not be the issue the rest of the way.

Pitching, however, is a different story.

Phil Hughes lasted only 4.2 innings in a Monday night loss to the Toronto Blue Jays and is now a miserable 4-13 with a 4.91 ERA. CC Sabathia is 11-11 with a 4.81 ERA and looking nothing like an ace. Hiroki Kuroda, the Yanks' best starter, was tagged for seven runs over 6 innings by the Tampa Bay Rays in his last start.

I want to believe there will be a magical September for the Yankees, not to mention an October to remember. Somehow, it just doesn't seem right that the Yankees could send Mariano Rivera into retirement without one more visit to the October stage he has dominated like no other reliever.

Right now, however, time is running out, and I still can't make myself believe the Yankees have what it takes to get the job done.

Ed Valentine is editor of bigblueview.com, covering the New York Giants. He has also been editor of SB Nation New York and Pinstripe Alley, covering the Yankees.

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