The Yankees are projected for 87 wins.  They have 26 games in the second half against the Rays, Orioles and Red Sox with 12 against Boston.  How can the Yanks make the playoffs for the 18th time in 19 seasons?  Here is how:

  1. Timely hitting.  The Yankee offense is brutal to be kind.  Other than Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner penciled in, you have no idea who will be in there. Can Derek Jeter do something?  Can Curtis Granderson provide something? Can, gulp, Alex Rodriguez come back and give New York more than David Adams did or what Kevin Youkilis was supposed to give?  Whoever it is, the Yanks need to hit with runners on base, period.
  2. Big 2nd from CC.  CC Sabathia must pitch better in the second half.  He won't ever be the 2007-2011 Sabathia again, but he must look at least like a #2 guy or half of a #1, not a #3 or #4.
  3. Bullpen to Mo.  The bullpen overall has been good.  If the pen can get the ball to x-factor Mariano Rivera even more in one-run games and close games, New York has a shot to get back in this thing.
  4. Beat the East.  As you saw above, the Yanks play a heap of games against AL East counterparts.  They must win series against the Rays, Red Sox and Birds because chances are, those teams will be battling for the AL Wild Cards, if not the AL East, like the Yanks.
  5. Cano the carrier.  Robinson Cano hasn't had a lot of protection in the lineup, but he also has come up empty a lot this year.  He needs to provide the Yanks with big hits in big spots.  Cano's production could add five more wins alone.

Prediction:  Yankees somehow make the playoffs.  Sabathia usually turns it up in the second half, the pitching will continue as a pleasant surprise, the Yanks will get a few players back and the bullpen should be solid.  If nothing else, the entire team should put everything on the line so that Mariano Rivera gets one more crack at October.

By:  Mike Lindsley, "Mid-Day with Mike," M-F 1-4, Yankees pre/post game host on 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio.  Follow him on Twitter at