You know how in baseball there's this cliche called "every game counts" and how it's pretty false?
I mean when you look at a major league baseball schedule there are 162 games played per year by every team. A lot can happen in 162 games. More often than not every team wins at least 60 games, loses at least 60 games, and every team does what it can with the remaining 42 games. So in theory, there are barely 50 games that actually count.
Your average MLB season spans across six months (minus spring training and the postseason). In that span of time teams can take first place in their division, lose their place in first place, or suddenly make up a 13 game deficit. So games in the first half might as well be moot. The Brewers were in first place for most of 2014 and they fell apart in the second half. On the other side of the coin Athletics were barely in contention for most of 2012 and yet surged near the end to take the AL West away from the Rangers in game 162.
Now that we're approaching the end of the 2015 season, we're starting to get into the games that actually do count (especially now that the schedule makers have arranged for more in division match ups in August/September than ever before).
The thing about short season baseball though is that every game does indeed count.
The Staten Island Yankees play roughly 81 games per season. Roughly 40 on the road and roughly 40 at home. In 81 games there is a lot less time to dig yourself out of a hole if you stumble at the starting line. So you need to cash in every win you can possibly get.
It's also tricky because these minor league playoffs aren't exactly the biggest priority for the organizations. I mean sure, having players exposed to a winning environment is always a plus but at the end of the day the main purpose of minor league baseball is player development.
So as a result you'll often find the better players the team had to offer moved up to higher levels. On one hand it's great because they probably deserved that promotion and they're getting closer to the big leagues. On the other hand the team the guy used to be on just lost a player who helped them contend. And the player being brought up or sent down to fill the void on the roster is no guarantee to come in and pick up where the other guy left off.
As of this post the Staten Island Yankees are in first place in their division in the McNamara division and are very much in contention. They have three weeks of baseball left and those three weeks will be intense. They have at least one series with their division rivals the Aberdeen Ironbirds, Hudson Valley Renegades and Brooklyn Cyclones respectively. Those three teams aren't too far behind in the standings and the outcome of those series(es?) could determine whether postseason baseball returns to Staten Island or Scooter The Holy Cow gets a head start on his winter vacation.
Despite how Jorge Mateo was promoted from Charleston to Tampa (both teams are out of contention BTW), the Yankees have not moved All Star Thairo Estrada up to Charleston. It's most likely a combination of how the Yankees want to see what Angel Aguilar and Vicente Conde can do, as well as possibly keep Thairo down in the NYPL to help the team get to the postseason (hey I never said that the playoffs aren't a priority ;)).
So will anybody be coming to SI to help out their chances of clinching a playoff berth? Well Jeff Degano was recently promoted up here but then again I think he might be able to make two more starts before being shut down for the year. Kevin Cornelius has been really good since being brought up and Trey Amburgey has had some nice games here and there since being called up too. The affiliate right below SI, the Pulaski Yankees, are also in contention in their league but whether or not the Yankees fiddle around and move somebody from that squad up to SI is a big question mark. Although if they sent Drew Finley or Carlos Vidal up here that'd be quite something. More likely the SI might get somebody from the GCL (both GCL affiliates are out of contention). James Kaprelian is a maybe but he's still shaking off some rust down in the GCL. Maybe an out of nowhere guy in top prospect Wilkerman Garcia?
Nah forget it, reinforcements aren't coming.
In any case these next few weeks will be crucial. The Yankees got swept by the Williamsport Crosscutters and that really hurt their chances of clinching the division (luckily every other team in the division keeps losing too). And the Yankees will be going up against in-division teams that could either shorten or lengthen their lead with every game. The Yankees are also going to need to win as many of remaining games against the out of division teams like Lowell (BOS), Connecticut (DET) and Tri-City (HOU). Especially against Lowell and Tri-City who are both battling each other for first place in the Stedler division.
This is the beauty of short season baseball, we wouldn't be having this conversation about contending if the team had gotten off to a lousy start or suffered a horrendous slump because their season would be over right then and there. Every game counts.