NEW YORK -- It's the question on everyone's mind these days: "How many games do the Yankees need to win the rest of the way to get into the playoffs?"
That was what Michael Kay asked Joe Girardi on YES network's "The Joe Girardi Show," taped Saturday night after the Yankees had been fairly well trounced by the Detroit Tigers, 9-3, earlier in the day and before they rallied to overcome Mariano Rivera's third straight blown save Sunday afternoon to win on Brett Gardner's ninth-inning home run, 5-4.
"A lot," Girardi said. "Thirty-five, maybe. It might take 35 to get in."
The manager set his team a lofty goal; before Sunday's win, 35 more victories would give the Yankees 93 on the season.
The number is probably pretty close to reality -- Oakland, the team in the lead for the first wild card spot, is on pace to win 91 games, and Tampa Bay, which right now holds the second spot, is on pace to win 90.
So at the very least, the Yankees would seem to need to win 32 of their remaining 46 games -- a .695 winning percentage, something they have not approached all season -- to even be in the conversation, assuming everyone in front of them, and there are four teams between the Yankees and the Rays, continues to play the same caliber of ball.
Can they do it?
Well, the returns of Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson should help. And it is safe to assume that at some point in the next week or two, Derek Jeter will rejoin the team. Plus, the schedule helps -- 22 of their final 46 games come against teams who are at or near the bottom of their divisions, starting with tonight's game against the Los Angeles Angels (ESPN, 7:05 p.m.) -- although one of those last-place teams, the Chicago White Sox, just swept the Yankees in Chicago.
So while it is certainly possible, is it plausible? (My own preseason prediction had the Yankees winning 88 games, meaning they need to win 29 of their last 46, and I'm not even sure they can do that.)
And, more important, do you think the Yankees can win another 32 games this season and sneak into the playoffs? Is Girardi being confident or delusional? Let us know in the comments section.