It was over, effectively, when the Yankees failed to hold a 5-1 lead against the Devil Rays, and lost 6-7 in 10 innings on September 25. That loss put the Yankees 3 games behind the Red Sox, with only 5 games to play.
Contrary to the mindless mathematical manipulations of a blogger who shall remain nameless here, it was not over following the games of July 4, when the Yankees trailed the Red Sox by 11.5 games (not 12 games as asserted by said blogger).
But the Yankees rallied to come within 1.5 games of the Red Sox on September 19 and again on September 24. Which just goes to show you: "It ain't over 'til it's over." *
Now, it's over.
Are the Yankees in Meltdown?
Yankees vs. Red Sox: The End Games
Yankees vs. Red Sox: The End Games (2)
As I Was Saying...
* Said byYogi Berra in 1973 when his New York Mets were, on August 7, 9.5 games behind the leader of the NL Eastern division. The Mets rallied to win the division title by 1.5 games, and went on to take the NL title before losing the World Series to the Oakland A's. The Mets took the A's to the seventh game of the Series. It was over for the Mets only when they lost that seventh game.
The 2007 Mets, by contrast, led their division from May 16 through September 26. As of this morning, the Mets trail the Phillies by 1 game, with 2 games left to play. To wrest the division title from the Phillies, the Mets must win both of their final games while the Phillies lose both of theirs. There will be a one-game playoff if the teams finish in a tie.
The best the Mets can do is tie the Padres and/or the Rockies in the W-L department. (That outcome requires the Padres to lose both of their final games.) The Mets and Padres and/or Rockies would then have a playoff game (or games) to determine the NL's wild-card team for 2007.
It's almost over for the Mets. But it ain't over 'til it's over -- ain't it?
P.S. (09/30/07): Now, it's over for the Mets. Amazing.
On the morning of September 13 the Mets had a .572 record and led the Phillies by 7 games with only 17 games remaining. A mindless prognosticator might then have opined that the Mets would have to play only .500 ball the rest of the season in order to win the NL East title -- as if that would be a cinch.
Well, the Mets could have won the title by playing .412 ball the rest of the way, even had they lost their 3 remaining games with the Phillies (as the Mets did). But the Mets played only .294 ball the rest of the way. In the process, their 7-game lead became a 1-game deficit, as the Phillies won 13 of 17 while the Mets were dropping 12 of 17. Thus the Mets fell 2 games short of taking the NL East title outright, and 1 game short of entering a playoff (with the Padres and Rockies) for the NL wild-card slot.
C'est la vie en baseball.