MLB New York Yankees

5 Reasons Why New York Yankees Are So Close to Playoff Berth

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New York Yankees Are Close to Playoff Berth: 5 Reasons Why

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are just one game out of a playoff spot in a season that seemed like it was lost before it really got started. The injury bug hit as hard as the midges swarmed Joba Chamberlain in Game 2 of the 2007 ALDS.

This team also was one on the way out; most of its stars are on the back end of their careers, and no young heralded prospect in the weeds waiting for his turn to get a shot in the bigs. They had players like Lyle Overbay, Travis Hafner, and Vernon Davis having to fill in before some of their injured stars returned. Players that were looking for jobs found starting spots on the most storied franchise in sports history.

But, somehow, the Yankees are in the thick of the playoff hunt in mid-September and are pushing hard to extend their season into October. When every analyst, baseball executive or anyone else who has a voice called for the Yankees’ heads, they’re still here and can jump into the second wild-card slot tonight with a win against the Boston Red Sox and a loss by the Tampa Bay Rays.

Of course, there have to be a multitude of reasons that a team that looked like a triple-A squad combined with a bunch of has-beens treaded water until their current standings right now. There have been reinforcements, new additions, and other factors that combined have led to the Yanks being able to sneak into a playoff spot. The following are the five most important factors as to how and why the Yankees are so close to making the playoffs.

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5. Alex Rodriguez

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Alex Rodriguez has played spectacularly, even while getting unmercifully booed wherever he goes. His numbers are miraculous considering his circumstances, batting .294 with six home runs, 13 RBI and he even has four stolen bases.

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4. Alfonso Soriano

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He has the most RBI in the MLB since the All-Star break, and has the second-most home runs on the Yankees, even though he’s only played 45 games for them; he should get some MVP votes in the 10th selection range.

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3. Robinson Cano

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He has been in the lineup from the start of the season until now, and has produced the entire year. He leads the Yanks in most of their offensive categories and deserves to be in the top three in the MVP race.

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2. Tampa Bay Rays

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

On August 24, the Tampa Bay Rays were in first place of the AL East. Since then the Rays are 5-13 and have let the Yankees creep within a game of them for the final playoff spot.

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1. Joe Girardi

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He shuffled a lineup full of backups and newcomers to keep the Yankees in contention until their reinforcements returned from injury, and he deserves manager of the year consideration.