Over the last week, I’ve been doing some soul searching. After watching the Baltimore Orioles stand toe-to-toe with the Bombers, I started to wonder if I was watching a changing of the guard. Yes, the Yankees have one of baseball’s biggest payrolls and a star-studded roster, but that roster is starting to get older and some key injuries have slowed them down. In addition, it’s apparent that CC Sabathia is pitching with some sort of injury. His fastball doesn’t have the same zip that it normally does and his command isn’t as sharp. Behind Sabathia, the Yankees have enjoyed a solid season from Hiroki Kuroda, but the rest of the rotation has its share of holes. Outside of the injuries and under performance, this Yankees just doesn’t seem to have much fight–and that’s the most troubling part. Blame whoever you want, but it seems like the players and senior management keep making excuses. Mark Teixeira blamed the umpires for a bad call last weekend in Baltimore–and the Yankee management stood behind him!

As I’m writing this, the Yankees and Orioles are still deadlocked for first place in the AL East. Online sportsbook has the Yankees as a favorite on Friday night as they start their three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays.  The Yankees need to take care of the Rays if they want to keep pace in the tight AL East race.

As a Yankee fan, I hope they make the playoffs. However, I’m also realistic when it comes to my expectations. The Yankees don’t have Mariano Rivera and CC Sabathia appears to be pitching with an injury. Mark Teixeira has offered little-to-no production in the playoffs, but the Yankees will miss his mere presence. It may be better if the Yanks miss the playoffs all together and start building towards 2013.