There are only two kinds of Yankees fans right now, in light of what happened to their team at Fenway Park last weekend, when the Yanks were swept in four games. There are glass-half-full fans and glass-half-empty ones. The first group isn't giving up on catching Boston. But suddenly the
There are only two kinds of Yankees fans right now, in light of what happened to their team at Fenway Park last weekend, when the Yanks were swept in four games. There are glass-half-full fans and glass-half-empty ones. The first group isn't giving up on catching Boston. But suddenly the fans in the second group aren't looking up ahead at the Red Sox, they keep looking behind them, because the objects in the mirror -- the A's and Mariners -- are even closer than they appear.
It wasn't long ago, when the Yankees were 50-22, that they were the ones who looked like they might win 110 games or more, just as the Red Sox might. No more. The Red Sox are 9-1 over their past 10 games, 15-5 over their past 20 and 24-6 over their past 30. The Yanks, over the same stretch of season, are 5-5, 9-11 and 16-14.
Half full or half empty? You decide.
Glass-half-full fan: We've still got six games left with the Red Sox in September, and three of them are at Yankee Stadium. And look at the schedule Boston has to play in September. Six against us, and three apiece against Cleveland, Houston and Atlanta.
Glass-half-empty fan: Wow. Six games left with them. So they can do to us six more times what they did last weekend? How many of those games is Jonathan Holder going to pitch? And just so you know -- our September schedule isn't such a soft place to land. Six with Boston, and three apiece in Seattle and Oakland, and a four-game series against Tampa Bay, which we haven't exactly bounced around. Forget the Red Sox. Go check our record against everybody else in the American League East this season. You know what it is against the Blue Jays, Rays, Orioles? 21-16. You know what the Red Sox's record is against those teams? 30-9. They're eight games ahead of us in the loss column. Do the math.
Half-full: Listen, I know the A's and Mariners have played well, especially Oakland over the past two months. But come on, the worst we're going to do is end up in the AL Wild Card Game.
Half-empty: And if we win it, who starts Game 1 of the AL Division Series?
Half-full: Listen, we had a bad April, and all things considered, a worse July. But we came back from the bad April and played lights-out ball for two months. We can do it again from here until we play in Boston on the last weekend of the regular season.
Half-empty: Gee, you think we had a bad July? When we beat the Red Sox 11-1 on July 1, we were two games ahead of them in the loss column. That means we've lost 10 games of ground to them in five weeks. Our approval ratings are lower than, well, you know.
Half-full: We're going to get Aaron Judge (who has been out since July 26 with a fractured right wrist) back eventually. Imagine what Boston's lineup would look like without Mookie Betts or J.D. Martinez. Everything changes when Judge is batting first, second, third or wherever manager Aaron Boone wants to hit him.
Half-empty: Tell me exactly when we're going to get him back. The stories on Tuesday were that his wrist still hurts.
Half-full: J.A. Happ and Lance Lynn have to make the rotation better. Happ was 20-4 just two years ago. Before he got to Minnesota, Lynn had been a solid, tough, reliable guy for the Cardinals for a long time.
Half-empty: Yeah, Lynn did finish with 18 wins for St. Louis one time. You know when? 2012, which happens to be the last time our team finished in first in the AL East.
Half-full: I'm not conceding anything. By Sept. 1, we could easily have cut Boston's lead in half. But to say this isn't our year? Would that be the worst thing in the world? Maybe what happened last October, when we got on the kind of roll we did after we wound up in the AL Wild Card Game, happened a little ahead of schedule. Look at how well we're set up for the future with Gleyber Torres at second base and Miguel Andujar at third. Judge is still just 26 years old. It seems as if Stanton has been around forever, but he's still only 28. General manager Brian Cashman has replenished the farm system on the fly. Even if we're not as good as Boston or Houston this year, we could win multiple World Series titles over the next five years.
Half-empty: Or not. We haven't won the World Series since 2009, which means it's the only title we've won since '00. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we owned the 20th century. But how does that help us now? Say the Red Sox do win it all again -- it will be their fourth title in the past 14 years. When did we go from being a win-now team to a win-someday team? We've been playing that hand, in one form or another, for nearly a decade. Cashman hasn't made the moves he has because he thought this was a Red Sox year. This was supposed to be our year.
Half-full: Lot of baseball left.
Half-empty: That's what I'm worried about.
Mike Lupica is a columnist for MLB.com.