For the 54th time in their existence, the New York Yankees have made the playoffs. By their win Saturday night against the Baltimore Orioles they have secured entry into the playoffs. But that was only the first step to completing the ultimate goal of winning the World Series.
The second step for the Yankees has two parts for completion. The first part of step two is locking in the number one spot for the AL Wildcard game. The Yankees have played much better baseball in the Bronx than they have away from it this season. In the big ballpark in the Bronx, the Yanks have a record of 53-27 (.663 winning %). While away from New York the Yankees 42-32 (.568 winning percentage.) Now let’s be clear the Yankees are having a tremendous year at 95-59. Their year has been highly criticized because of the legendary the Red Sox are having. But the Yanks are no slouch of a team. And they remain a dangerous threat during October.
The second piece of step two for the Bronx Bombers is winning the AL Wildcard game. The New York Yankees have faced off with the Oakland A’s six times this season. They have split the contest 3-3. And both home teams would take their respective series. The Yankees would win 2 of 3 in New York. And likewise, Oakland would take 2 of 3 in Oakland. Now in just a one game play in showdown, anything can happen. The Yanks have started playing better baseball recently with the return of Aaron Judge. But they haven’t yet found the groove they had early in the year. So leading into the playoffs, they will need to fire on all cylinders. One of those cylinders is not going to be firing, as Didi Gregorius may be out for the rest of the season with torn cartilage in his wrist after the slide into home on Saturday night. The Yankees can only hope that Didi’s wrist response in the best way with the cortisone shot and he can return for them.
If Step Two is followed to completion. Then the Yankees will have locked in the number one spot in the AL Wildcard race and won the Wildcard game itself. Then moving onto the real playoffs. Which would lead them straight into the hostile territory that is Fenway Park in Boston. This would be arguably the toughest test for the Yankees in trying to be successful at their goal, of winning the World Series. It’s no secret that these teams have been rivals since 1918 and will continue that way for years to come. This season, however, marks a different feel as both teams have been incredible. The Red Sox have won 105 and although ten games back the Yanks have won 95. Meaning the series will be intense and hard fought but the Yankees can matchup with Boston as we saw last week in New York.
Should the Yankees defeat the Boston Red Sox they will advance onto the next step. That step will be either the Cleveland Indians or the Houston Astros. Both teams have played well this season and are set to face off in the ALDS. The Astros and Indians both have a quality core of position players and devastating pitching staffs. Neither matchup will be easy for the Yanks. However, should the Bronx Bombers get to the ALCS they will have faced and defeated their toughest foe. And therefore should be able to compete with either the Astros or the Indians.
The final step for the Yankees in completing a successful quest for Championship #28 will be taking on the National League representative in the World Series. While the AL playoff brackets are all but set, the National League remains wide open. And many of those clubs are very evenly matched. The journey to the World Series is a hard and treacherous road. It is filled with historical heroics and late-inning blunders, players that cement themselves as immortal postseason greats. And other who’s otherwise incredible legacy are tarnished by inconsistency when it’s most crucial. If the Yankees are going to be successful, they will have a difficult journey to achieving it. But if the Yanks take things one step at a time, they can achieve their true goal and win the 2018 World Series.