Yankees: Forget The Wild Card – There’s A Road To The Division Title

Yankees: Now, A Familiar Sight

The Yankees run has taken them to a 2.5 game lead in the Wild Card Race. No lead is ever safe, but the Division is not that far from reach now.

The 2021 Yankees are a story about two teams and two seasons in one, both vastly different from the other.

Fumbling and stumbling with a nonchalance that made Yankees games almost unbearable to watch, the team is now the hottest in baseball – officially.

Yankees: When was the last time we saw Aaron Boone smiling?
Yankees: When was the last time we saw Aaron Boone smiling?

The ho-hum, it’s just another game attitude is gone, and it’s been replaced by an ever-evolving 26-man roster where contributions come from everywhere and everyone.

What was Aaron Boone‘s relentless and laughable spin about the Yankees being a better team than they were showing is now supported by their meteoric rise in the American League East Standings?

As the games begin today, the Yankees are +2.5 games in the Wild Card Race, and they trail the Tampa Bay Rays, who themselves have been relentless, by only four games.

It’s time, therefore, to take a look at both team’s schedule that finishes out the regular season, looking for possible hiccups and dangerous road crossings.

First, we’ll take the Yankees schedule, concentrating on these highlights:

  • The first and most formidable hurdle comes this week when the team makes a seven-game trip to the West Coast. Usually a bugaboo for the Yankees, who never seem to play well out there, the Oakland A’s await their arrival on Thursday for four games, and then it’s on to play the Angels for three. Target: 4-3
  • The schedule thins out a bit at home, but there are four games with the Toronto Blue Jays, interspersed with series with the Orioles (twice), the Indians, Mets, and Texas Rangers.
  • Then it gets tough again with back to back away series against the Red Sox and Blue Jays to close out September.
  • Finally, there’s the coup de gras and a series to close out the season with the Rays – at home.

What did the schedule makers know, and when did they know?

For Tampa Bay’s schedule, we’ll work backward.

  • The reason is the Rays play the Astros in Houston for three games just before coming to Yankee Stadium.
  • In mid-September, the Rays play home and away series with the Blue Jays, interspersed with series against the up and coming Detroit Tigers (twice) and the Marlins.
  • Tampa Bay also has a home-and-away series with the Red Sox to begin the month of September.

I don’t see any particular advantage to the Yankees or the Rays, but do you agree – the final three games of the season stick out – and could decide the whole thing.

For the Yankees, and as Aaron Boone keeps reminding us, there can be no let-up.

Yankees Luke Voit: Putting base hits where his mouth is (NJ.com)
Yankees Luke Voit: Putting base hits where his mouth is (NJ.com)

The difference, however, between the team a month ago and the team they are now is huge.

Brian Cashman’s redemption came when he brought in Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo. Even before that, though, the laughs about trading for Wandy Peralta in a deal that sent Mike Tauchman away are no more as Peralta is now a mainstay in Boone’s bullpen.

Add Nestor Cortes Jr. and Luis Gil to the rotation mix, plus a healthy Giancarlo Stanton taking his turns in the outfield and a home-grown 27-year-old phenom in Andrew Velazquez – and this team oozes with the scent of a brand new car.

First down with 38 to go…

Today’s game with the Twins has been postponed due to the arrival of a tropical storm. A make-up game is scheduled for Monday, September 13, at the Stadium.

Here’s What Readers Are Saying…

Michael Chieco Of course, they are only 4 out and play Tampa the last 3 games of the season.

William Michael Go for the division. If you come up short you still have the wildcard. Settle for wildcard and you could lose it.

Hubie Mercado The team is only 4 games outta first place. The team has been on Fuego since the All-Star break and will continue upward the rest of the season.

William Michael

Kenneth Gruenfeld I can see Boone saying “we are in a good spot right now and it would be a good time to give <insert player> an extra days rest”

Closing Comments And Final Thoughts

The article was intended mainly as informative, so comments were sparse, accordingly.

As a postscript, the Rays rolled over the White Sox today while the Yankees were postponed, picking up a half-game in the standings It’s on to Atlanta tomorrow…

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Steve Contursi
– Story Teller

Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.