After Sunday’s sloppy 10-5 loss to conclude this three-city eight game road trip, the Yankees head back to New York. The Bombers ended up 4-4 on the trip with one rainout in Kansas City. A four game winning streak bookended by a pair of losses. This trip showed exactly who the 2014 Yankees are, which is a flawed aging team capable of looking either championship caliber or cellar dweller on any given night.
Their starting pitching can be absolutely lights out, or pretending it’s home run derby. They have an offense that can score 20 runs in four wins or 11 runs in four losses. They have a bullpen that effectively shorten games shutting the other team’s offense completely or completely implode on themselves. They have a defense that can feature multiple outstanding plays in one game, and have multiple errors in the next. They can be terrors on the base-paths or they can forget the number of outs left in the inning.
All of this leaves the Yankees with what exactly? Is this a playoff team? Are they truly only a player or two away from contending in the AL East? Or are they one more injury away from a second straight disappointing finish? Can it be both?
Time will tell and it may tell quickly. The first place Toronto Blue Jays will the Yankee opponent in six of the next nine games. They will play only American League East teams from now until Fourth of July weekend, fifteen straight games against division opponents. This could be the most important stretch of the season for the Yankees. If they can go 10-5 or better, we will know they are for real and ready to tango with American League elite. Likewise, if they limp to a 5-10 finish they will need to determine what kind of season is likely and think about actually being sellers at the deadline and try to plan for the future. Now is the time for this veteran laden team to step up and produce the way the back of their baseball cards says they can. Or face the consequences.