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Yankees' schedule offers path to Wild Card
There's still a possibility that the Yankees could claim one of the two American League Wild-Card playoff spots.
Aside from the jolt of power contributed by Alfonso Soriano and the boost at third base thanks to the return of Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees have a decent schedule ahead.
All of their games against teams over .500 are versus those they're chasing for the Wild Card (Rays, Orioles) or an extremely long-shot division title (Red Sox).
Heading into Friday’s game against the Red Sox, the Yankees are six games out of the second Wild-Card spot. Baltimore is three games behind Oakland for the second spot, the Indians are 3.5 games out and Kansas City is 5.5 games back. The Rays have a 0.5 game lead for the first AL Wild Card.
Here’s how each of the teams' final slate looks:
YANKEES (6-7 in August)
Games left: 42, with 19 against teams with sub-.500 records (White Sox, Angels Blue Jays, Giants, Astros) and 23 against teams over .500 (Orioles, Rays, Red Sox).
The good: The return of Curtis Granderson and Rodriguez, plus the trade for Soriano has transformed the Yankees' lineup into something far more representable.
The bad: The pitching staff, however, once the team's strong suit, has issues of its own. Even Mariano Rivera is facing questions after blowing three saves in a row for the first time in his career.
INDIANS (6-8 in August)
Games left: 41, with 23 against teams with sub-.500 records (Mets, White Sox, Astros, Angels, Twins), 18 against teams over .500 (Royals, Tigers, Orioles, Braves, Athletics).
The good: They play a solid amount of games against teams with sub-.500 records or those trending down (Royals) or with a huge lead and not much to play for (Braves).
The bad: The Mets have played better recently and may not be a walkover, especially if Matt Harvey or Zack Wheeler pitch in the series. The Tigers have incentive to deal a knockout punch to their division rivals.
ORIOLES (6-6 in August)
Games left: 42, with 13 against teams with sub-.500 records (Rockies, White Sox, Blue Jays), 29 against teams over .500 (Athletics, Rays, Yankees, Indians, Red Sox).
The good: Not a whole lot.
The bad: They have the toughest schedule left of the current Wild Card contenders, playing the majority of their remaining schedule against winning teams, including 23 against the Rays, Yankees and Red Sox.
ROYALS (9-6 in August)
Games left: 43, with 23 against teams with sub-.500 records (Mariners, White Sox, Blue Jays, Twins, Nationals), 20 against teams over .500 (Tigers, Indians, Rangers, Rays).
The good: They have one of the easier schedules of the teams in the hunt.
The bad: They have to play 10 games against one of the most dominating teams in the majors, the Tigers, and have six games left against another team clawing toward the postseason, the Indians.