The New York Yankees are about to face the toughest test of their season with a roster in tatters, a whole bunch of limp bats and their playoff hopes stuck in dwindle mode.
You know, just in case anyone was wondering how it's going.
Oh, sure. There are positives to accentuate as the Yankees head into their first showdown against the history-making Tampa Bay Rays. They're at least over .500 at 17-15. And if a team must be in last place as they are right now, it might as well be in an American League East division in which everyone's a winner.
But such things are clearly no comfort to the Yankee Faithful. Manager Aaron Boone was even the recipient of "Fire Boone!" chants at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, so the fans either didn't hear or didn't care when general manager Brian Cashman had pleaded for patience earlier in the day:
To essentially rephrase what Boone was hearing on Wednesday, here's our counterpoint: no.
The Injuries? They Hurt.
While over .500, the Yankees are further out of first place (9.0 GB) now than they were the last time they were in the AL East cellar this late in the season (6.0 GB in 2016). And whether we're talking about World Series championship No. 28 or a second straight AL East title, their odds of achieving their goals are down significantly.
The schedule won't provide handholds out of this hole. Difficulty ratings for the Yankees' remaining slate range from tough to very tough, and the tough customers aren't far down the road. Of the Yankees' next 29 games, seven are against the Rays and 13 more are against the Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers.
It's also not exactly a secret that the Yankees don't have the appropriate tires for the rough road ahead right now.
Indeed, really the only things the Yankees lead the league in are cumulative injured list days and $20.2 million spent on players while they've been on the IL. That's more than 11 teams spent on IL-bound players in all of 2022.