The Yankees enter their final homestand of the season and they will face a tough test. The Yanks have been unable to go on a long win streak since the early part of the season. And have spent much of the latter part of the season as a .500 ballclub. So the Yankees hold their fate in their own hands.
AL East Division
A month ago the Yankees were counted all but out of the AL East Division. And to be far it will take a Herculean effort from the Yankees and Pompeian collapse from the Red Sox for the Bronx Bombers to take over the lead in the AL East. But this is baseball and anything can happen. Previously I wrote about the potential the Yanks had to recreate a scenario from 40 years ago. But to this point that hasn’t seemed to be the case. Now let me be clear this is not a situation I foresee happening as the Bombers are 10.5 games behind the Red Sox in the division. And Boston’s “magic number” to clinch the AL East is down to 6. So any combination of BoSox wins or Yankee losses dwindle that number. The Yankees would need to sweep and Boston must lose every series from this point forth for the Yanks to win the division. So the Yanks must turn their attention.
As I said a month ago the Yanks were presumed to be out of the AL East Division. And that their only path to the postseason was as an AL Wildcard representative. And at that same moment in time, it seemed a foregone conclusion that the one game AL Wildcard game would take place in the Bronx. However, as play begins the today the Yankees hold only a game and a half lead in the AL Wildcard lead. The Yankees find themselves in a must-win scenario for the rest of the season. Every series holds significance as the Yankees try to stave off elimination. The red-hot Oakland A’s are chasing down the big bad boys from the Bronx and are right on their heels.
If the Yankees continue playing as they have a .500 ballclub they will face the worst case scenario for themselves. The scenario would be having to fly 3000 miles out west to play the one game wildcard game in Oakland. In their recent trip to Oakland, they Yanks were outplayed by the A’s. The A’s would outscore the Yanks 15-10, the A’s would also outhit the Yanks 23-17. And to continue proving that they are a formidable foe the A’s would be much more successful with runners in scoring position. With runners in scoring position the A’s would be 7-28 (.250) while the Yankees would manage just 2-15 (.134.)
The Yankees control their fate but there will need to be a major offseason audit to understand what caused this late-season collapse. The Yankees are very likely to make the playoffs. But the seemingly season-long struggle must bring about reflection and evaluation. If the Yankees make another deep playoff run then the struggles could be forgotten. But before a long run can be made the Bronx Bombers must get passed the AL East and the Oakland A’s.