Yes. Yes, we know what “Power Rankings” are. They’re a week-to-week-shifting collection of opinions meant to generate clicks on the internet, written by someone who intends to garner both haters and appreciators. A World Series doesn’t get determined by a team’s average Power Ranking. No league has ever handed out participation trophies for “Most Appearances on Power Rankings.” The Yankees, if they retain the best record in baseball all year long, simply will not remain No. 1 in the rankings week after week after week. Non-Yankee fans read these things, too, after all.
So it comes as no great shock that CBS Sports began this week looking for a way out of keeping the Yankees in the top spot (while not actually moving them anywhere at all). Ultimately, CBS’ Matt Snyder determined that, although the Yankees are 9-7 since their first walk-off win over the Astros (arbitrary beyond belief) and 5-4 in July (5-2 before they tripped and fell over the weekend!), they still deserve the top spot because they’re … legitimately very good. Their +177 run differential is real, and so is their 23-14 record against teams over .500.
After examining the facts, Snyder left the Yanks in his top spot … but the framing of his argument still slanted quite negatively, framing the Bombers as beginning a “spiral” that might not be inevitable at all.
The Astros are 19-5 since June 13, another arbitrary point cited within the article. The Yankees are 18-8 since then. The Dodgers are 19-6. All three marks are similarly great.
And yet, this apparently represents the Yankees “drifting back.” Not to mention that when it comes time to blurb them, their entire writeup is:
"“I don’t think it’ll be too long before there’s a new number one. It’s headed in that direction. It’s just not there yet.”"
Alright! And when it happens, it’ll be because it just … had to happen, for the sake of page views. Think of the page views!
Yankees stay atop CBS’ MLB power rankings, but “slip”; Red Sox move way up for stinking?
If the Yankees clatter to the turf, then pick them up and toss them to the middle of the pack, sure. For now, though, would anyone have written about a grand backslide if they hadn’t blown a late lead Saturday with one out to go, and a mid-game lead Sunday (as they’re wont to do at Fenway)? If that wasn’t enough to eject them off the list (after impressive wins in different ways Thursday and Friday), then anything less than a grand collapse up 4+ games on their competition probably won’t do it, either.
But you … you really want it to happen, don’t you?
This discussion — which ended with the Yankees on top of the flaming hot Dodgers and Astros, after all — was not the egregious point of the column, though. The Yankees moved perilously close to the rest of the pack by beating the Red Sox only twice in four tries on the road, while the Red Sox leapt up four spots for losing to everyone, but beating the Yankees in two wild games at home (after losing twice).
The Yankees get dinged for leading for nearly an entire four-game set, but losing twice on the road? Not seeing that factoring into the Astros discussion whatsoever, even though Houston did that in the Bronx at the beginning of this “drift back.”
Red Sox beat the Yankees? We ignore the rest. Yankees beat the Red Sox? Eh, I slept through it. Was that at the beginning of the “drift back” or the end?
Luckily, Boston used its season-changing momentum to fall 10-5 to the Tampa Bay Rays in their opener on Monday. Hopefully, that two-game vomitorium will help them as much as coming back in a series finale on June 19 helped the Blue Jays (not at all).