Who's 'now'? The Yankees 

August, 13, 2007
Well, now that Barry Bonds has 756 (and counting) and Tom Glavine has 300 (and counting), the biggest story in baseball is ... I'm sorry: I know some of you aren't going to like this ... the biggest story in baseball is the New York Yankees. I never counted them out, but I have to admit I didn't think they would be this close to first place in the middle of August. I could go on at some length about the Yankees' turnaround, and how well all the young homegrown players have done, and that amazing job Mariano Rivera did yesterday in the ninth inning. But if you're a Yankees fan, you already know all that, and if you're not, you've probably already stopped reading.

As Tim Marchman writes, though, the Yankees haven't caught the Red Sox yet, and they're not likely to. If the Yankees and Red Sox were tied and if they played the same schedule down the stretch, you would have to give the Yankees the edge in the race. But the Red Sox still are four games ahead and they do have the easier schedule. Marchman:

The difficulty is really that the Yankees' schedule is a lot tougher than it seems. For instance, they have nine games left with the Baltimore Orioles, who are eight games under .500 but have, according to those third-order standings, played about as well as the Tigers have. Much the same is true of the Toronto Blue Jays, whom the Yankees will face seven more times this year. No one looks at the schedule and trembles at the thought of Baltimore and Toronto, but these teams are quite capable of playing spoiler roles. The Yanks get the Devil Rays for six games, and the Kansas City Royals for three. But every other team they play is, at least theoretically, tough. The Yankees are much, much better than their record says they are, but the same is true of some other teams, as well. This race will be a nail-biter.

Meanwhile -- and this really looks like the deciding factor in the race -- the Red Sox still have 12 games against the Devil Rays. Remember, there aren't many games left. If the Red Sox win eight or nine of those 12 games, they'll be hard to catch. According to those third-order standings, the Yankees have just a 13 percent chance of beating out the Red Sox ... but a 61 percent chance of winning the wild card.