By now you've heard about all of the different reasons for the Yankees' resurgence. Alfonso Soriano came back to the club and started clubbing the ball, at one point going on a 4-game stretch in which he racked up 18 RBIs to tie an all-time record. Ryan Dempster plunked A-Rod, fired up the Yankees, and lost a crucial game for the Red Sox. And, generally speaking, the team is finally getting healthy, with A-Rod, Curtis Granderson and Derek Jeter back in the lineup. The result of all this is that the Yankees are actually back in the playoff race, and are even up to having the 12th best odds to win the World Series (not great, but not bad considering where we were a few weeks ago!). For updated betting odds, click here.
But if the Yankees are truly going to make the postseason, it will take something beyond these obvious highlights and developments. So here are 4 reasons (beyond Alfonso Soriano) that the Yankees could still make the playoffs.
1. Derek Jeter
I know, I know… we covered the "getting healthy" thing. But Jeter's return isn't just about health. Getting the Captain back has changed the mood for the Yankees before, and will do so again. There's no explaining how or why, but his presence alone could provide the last needed push.
2. The Schedule
As of Monday the 26th, the Yankees had an extraordinary number of games left against division opponents - 23 of 32, to be exact (with the other 9 games coming against sub-.500 opponents). Of course, this can backfire, but what it means is that the opportunity will be there for the Yankees to gain ground quickly on the likes of Tampa, Baltimore and Boston. For a look at the remaining schedule, click here.
3. CC Sabathia
Let's be honest: the Yankees are where they are with a CC who's been far less than his usual, dominant self. But if you look closely (not just at wins and losses), it's clear that CC may be rounding into form at last. On Saturday against the Rays, CC pitched a gem through 5 innings, letting up just 1 hit and 1 walk, working efficiently and clocking in at 95 MPH multiple times. David Price was just a bit better, and CC stumbled in the 6th, but we got a glimpse of the dominant, late season CC Sabathia the Yankees will absolutely need moving forward.
Confidence alone can't win you games, but with this much talent on a roster, it can do a lot to get people playing better. This team - counted out all season, injured, old, and mired in controversy - handled Boston in fiery fashion a little over a week ago, and just doesn't look the same. This is why a series loss to the Rays this past weekend is no longer a death sentence - the Yankees have proven they can compete, and that will go a long way.