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Are the New York Yankees for real? What you should — and shouldn’t — believe

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You’ve probably heard the Yankees are for real this year, but what does that mean? If you’re not a baseball fan, it’s hard to know. Here’s everything you need to know about whether or not the New York Yankees are actually good this year.

The yankees playoffs odds is a question that many people ask themselves. However, not all of the answers are true.

7:45 a.m. Eastern Time

  • Joon Lee

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    1630248727_13_Are-the-New-York-Yankees-for-real-What-you-shouldESPN

      • Previously, she worked as a staff writer at Bleacher Report.
      • Graduate of Cornell University
  • Schoenfield, David

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    1630248728_698_Are-the-New-York-Yankees-for-real-What-you-shouldSenior Writer for ESPN

    • For ESPN.com, he covers baseball.
    • Page 2’s former deputy editor
    • Since 1995, I’ve worked for ESPN.com.

Is it true that the New York Yankees are for real?

The Bronx Bombers came into this series on an 11-game winning run against the Oakland Athletics, one of their main competitors for an American League wild-card berth. It was their longest winning run since 1985, and they had swept the Red Sox in a series to overtake Boston in the AL East and grab the wild-card lead.

Before the A’s broke their winning run on Saturday, they had stretched it to 13 games, their longest since 1961. Despite this, the Yankees have been probably the greatest club in the American League in the second half.

Will this high-level performance continue into the second half, or will we see more of the same inconsistency we saw in the first? We asked ESPN baseball analysts Joon Lee and David Schoenfield for their predictions on how far the Yankees will go this season.


In the Bronx, it’s been an up-and-down journey so far. Give us one reason to think the Yankees’ red-hot second-half version is the genuine deal, and one reason to feel it’s a mirage.

Lee: Everyone is coming back to full strength, and they are beginning to feel the effect of the whole roster. At the trade deadline, the most essential thing GM Brian Cashman accomplished was restore the Yankees’ depth. You can’t win in baseball with a top-heavy team, as the Los Angeles Angels have shown with Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout. The Yankees entered the season with both depth and star power, but it seemed as though the two could never come together for success. They are at the moment.

The Red Sox and Yankees, on the other hand, seem to have had their seasons flipped. In the first half, the Red Sox excelled, while the Yankees suffered. Since then, the situation has flipped, with the teams trading positions in the rankings. However, the first-place Tampa Bay Rays haven’t been uneven all season, while New York has shown that it has two extremes that may emerge on any given day. Despite the Yankees’ recent dominance in the second half, we have no idea who will show up in October.

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Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo brought not just two much-needed left-handed hitters to the order, but they also offered some much-needed confidence. The Yankees seemed to be wallowing in mediocrity and unrealistic expectations. They were hitting.235/.323/.394 until July 29, which coincided with Rizzo’s first game on July 30. The Yankees have gone 23-5 in their last 28 games, hitting.249/.337/.436.

Pitching has also become better. On July 29, they were defeated 14-0 by the Rays in a game started by Gerrit Cole. It was, without a doubt, the lowest moment of the season. During that 23-5 span, they have a 2.77 ERA and opponents have scored 3.18 runs per game. They accomplished most of this without Cole, who was on the COVID IL for two weeks.

So, hitting and pitching are two reasons why this uptick isn’t a phantom. If you need more reason to be suspicious, consider that the bullpen is 12-2 with a 2.09 ERA in 28 games, averaging almost four innings per game. Will it be able to maintain that level of performance in the face of a high workload?

In the final stretch, who will be the most crucial Yankee?

Lee: Starting pitchers Corey Kluber and Luis Severino’s return may help the Yankees prepare for a good playoff run, but third baseman Gio Urshela could also be a game-changer. Urshela has recently returned to the Bronx Bombers after missing almost a month due to a hamstring injury, and he has been a key member for the team the last two seasons. Urshela hasn’t been as good in 2021, striking out more than he did in 2019 and 2020, but if he can hit like the Urshela of old, the Yankees’ lineup will be even more dangerous down the stretch.

Schoenfield: I addressed the bullpen before, but Aroldis Chapman remains a question mark in the ninth inning. Aaron Boone had to take him out of two recent save opportunities, bringing in Lucas Luetge and Wandy Peralta for the last out. If Chapman can’t be trusted, Boone will have to reserve Chad Green or Jonathan Loaisiga for the ninth inning, which will have an impact on the rest of the game. The greatest Yankees team has Chapman pitching in the ninth inning, and they’ve been successful despite Chapman’s struggles, but that’s not a formula for postseason success.

This season, how far will the Yankees go?

Lee: As a wild card, they’ll reach the playoffs, but I don’t believe they’ll be consistent enough to make it to the World Series.

MLB-Power-Rankings-Week-20-Where-all-30-teams-stand

The MLB season of 2021 will be broadcast on ESPN and the ESPN App.

All timings are in Eastern Standard Time.

Sunday, August 29th, 7 p.m. on ESPN, Yankees vs. A’s

Monday, August 30th, 7 p.m. on ESPN, Red Sox-Rays

Sunday, September 5th, 7 p.m. on ESPN, Dodgers vs. Giants

Schoenfield: Although the lineup has improved, how does it compare to Houston’s, Tampa Bay’s, or Chicago’s? I’m still undecided. Although Rizzo and Gallo offer left-handed balance, I believe this is a lineup you can match up against in a playoff series by bringing in a left-handed pitcher to confront the Rizzo/Aaron Judge/Gallo section of the lineup and then a right-handed pitcher to take down the bottom of the order. Nonetheless, they have a legitimate ace in Cole, and the White Sox have seemed to be more susceptible recently. Houston, in my opinion, is the team to beat, and the Yankees may face them in the division series.

What would it mean for manager Aaron Boone if the Yankees missed the playoffs or were eliminated early? What impact could it have on the team’s offseason strategy?

Lee: Part of this, I believe, would be determined by how the Yankees leave. Boone must accept part of the responsibility for the team’s early struggles, but he also deserves credit for helping them turn things around. Beyond Boone, I’m interested to see how the Yankees handle Gleyber Torres’ future, particularly considering his difficulties this season and the availability of a star shortstop like Trevor Story as a free agent.

Schoenfield: Given that Boone is in the final year of his contract and that there has been little public discussion of an extension, it appears that the Yankees must at least make the playoffs for him to keep his job, especially in a season in which they were the AL’s World Series favorites — something the Yankees haven’t done since 2009. After dismal ALDS defeats to the Red Sox in 2018, the Astros in the 2019 ALCS, and the Rays in the 2020 ALDS, I don’t believe a wild card is enough. To return to pinstripes in 2022, Boone may have to win the American League.

In terms of the summer, we’ll have to wait and see how the new CBA plays out, as well as if the Yankees are willing to break the luxury tax (if one exists) after keeping under it this season. I agree with Joon that they will have a new shortstop next season, with the question of whether Torres will go to second base or be moved for prospects or pitching assistance. They need to become a bit more athletic (Gallo helps with that), and a strong two-way player like Story, with his power, defense, and baserunning, would be a nice match. Although Aaron Hicks is still under contract, the team may need to look for a replacement center fielder.

The yankees playoff odds 2021 is a question that has been asked for years. It’s hard to say if the Yankees are for real or not, but one thing is certain: They will be in the playoffs next year.

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