Yankees: Are they capable of making some noise in the playoffs?

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

The Yankees will be competing in the 2017 playoffs. That much is virtually certain. But do they have what it takes to make some serious noise once they get there?

In 1998, the Yankees went on an 11-2 run in the playoffs, eventually sweeping the San Diego Padres in the World Series. Last year, it took the Chicago Cubs four more games to win their title, but they still finished 11-6 overall. Either way, the winning team is always the one capable of establishing momentum, enabling their unit to fire on all cylinders when it’s time for the World Series.

Do the 2017 Yankees have the ability to establish that kind of momentum?

At first glance, the answer is a resounding, no!  Check that, make it if the Playoffs were to start today, the answer would be a resounding no. Because if the Yankees are proving anything now, it’s that they can’t get hot and stay hot.

Will it be Deja Vous all over again?

A microcosm of the problem was seen this week in the series against the Red Sox. On Friday, defeat was snatched from jaws of victory when the bullpen imploded. But then, they come back on Saturday with a chance to make a statement by taking the rubber game in the Red Sox home ballpark.

Reason says the atmosphere gets better when you can make a statement before the playoffs during the regular season by getting hot and staying hot, letting the momentum you’ve built carry you into the playoffs

Not to be and also not possible when the team manages only three hits yesterday afternoon with the entire middle of the lineup stinking up the joint against Rick Porcello, a pitcher who pulled off the heist of the century when he won the Cy Young last season.

And it doesn’t have a thing to do with whether or not the Yankees win the Division. It’s more about establishing yourselves as a team that proves it can beat the teams they have to beat to ascend in the playoffs.

Of late, the Yankees are not doing that. They went 2-2 against the Cleveland Indians recently, and they lost a series to the Red Sox this weekend. Coming up the schedule are those same teams, all at home, beginning as soon as next week when the Indians visit Yankee Stadium.

Those games are the ones the Yankees need to emphatically win if only to demonstrate to themselves they are in the same league with their rivals.

Can they do it? Well, recent history says no. And no one says they have to because we can rationalize it all away by saying once you are seeded in the tournament, you have as much of a chance to win as any other team. You just need to play more games and win them to snare the prize.

But reason says the atmosphere gets better when you can make a statement before the playoffs during the regular season by getting hot and staying hot, letting the momentum you’ve built carry you into the playoffs.

The Yankees have been as enigmatic as any team in baseball, save for the Toronto Blue Jays, who were supposed to have a seven or ten game lead by now in the Division. Their record (66-57) says they’ve won 53 percent of the games played so far. That is just not good enough in October.

Yankees have a day to think about it

The team has a day off today to think about it. And after all, what else can you do in Detroit? And the man doing most of the thinking will be Joe Girardi, who is charged with the task of putting the right pieces together at the right time, to give the Yankees their best chance to succeed.

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He knows he can’t keep writing Aaron Judge‘s name in the lineup just from habit. And maybe a seat on the bench for 2-3 days against the Tigers is just what the doctor would order. But then, there’s always the chance that Judge could break out against the less than worthy Tiger’s pitching staff.

Same with Aroldis Chapman. Is the Detroit series the ideal time to get him into a couple of games? Or, would Girardi only be setting him up to fail if Chapman can’t produce against a team like the lowly Tigers.

There’s a “but” to everything it seems. Except for one thing. There’s no but to the fact, though, the Yankees need to establish themselves as a team playing .600 baseball and not .500 baseball from here on in.

We know confidence is everything for a player (think Aaron Judge). But the same also applies to teams. At the moment, I can’t imagine there’s a high level of confidence in the Yankees clubhouse. That needs to change over the next 35 games to finish out the season.

Next: What's up with all the Aaron Judge bashing

If it doesn’t, the only noise we’ll hear from the Yankees is their plane taking off, sending them back to Yankees Stadium to clean out their lockers.

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