Here’s what last night’s loss did to the Yankees spot in the standings: It left them four games out of the second wild card with six games to play and three teams to pass. MLB.com’s postseason probabilities says that means a 0.4 percent change of making the playoffs.
So, yes, the Yankees are still technically alive. But, no, it probably doesn’t matter. After losing five of six against the Red Sox and Blue Jays, the only remotely logical reason to think the Yankees might make the postseason was the idea that they might be able to win nine straight, use these upcoming three games against the Rays to make a massive push, and get some help from other teams slipping.
But the Indians have won four straight, and the Rays had won three straight heading into this afternoon’s game against the Orioles, which is tied in the eighth.
What’s happening tonight while the Yankees are idle?
• The Indians are also idle, so the Yankees are going to remain four back no matter what.
• The Rangers play the awful Astros in an hour. If Texas wins, the Yankees will be two full games behind the team currently in third place in the need-to-be-top-two wild-card race.
• The Royals play a late West Coast game in Seattle. Another perfectly winable matchup that could push the Royals — the Royals! — a full game ahead of the Yankees.
• The Orioles are currently locked in a 4-4 game with the Rays. If the Orioles win, they’ll be tied with the Yankees and Rays will be tied with the Indians as co-leaders for the two wild card spots. If the Rays win, they’ll come into this week’s series having won four straight to build a one-game lead over the Indians as the top wild card team, and the Orioles will fall five games back, in even worse shape than the Yankees.
The Yankees have guaranteed themselves a winning season. Now the best they can do is reach 88 wins. That would be their lowest total since going 87-74 in 2000. Even in 2008, when they last missed the playoffs, the Yankees won 89 games. If the Yankees fall behind the Orioles and finish fourth in the American League East, it would be their lowest finish since 1992 when there were still two divisions and one of the team’s that finished ahead of the Yankees in the A.L. East was the Milwaukee Brewers.
Associated Press photo