The Yankees have only one thing to play for over the 33 remaining games. Losers of four straight 3,000 miles from home, there’s no room for a swoon…
The Yankees, like all teams in contention for the postseason, are feeling the weight of a major league schedule that never seems to end. Bodies break down, not necessarily to the point of placement on the IL, but we begin to hear “he’s playing through it” a lot more than we did in June.
Mental if not physical fatigue, sets in. Plane rides get longer. Hotel rooms all look and feel the same. Frustrations creep to the top and boys do childish things like ramming a bat on the roof of a dugout in August. As opposed to a bad call that is overlooked in May and it’s on to the next at-bat.
The Yankees have lost three straight, leaving Masahiro Tanaka to put a finger in the dike tonight in Oakland. With a nine-game lead over Tampa Bay, the Yankees are still secure in the MLB Standings. They can and will waltz to the AL East title. Note: Tankaka coughed up five runs – A’s sweep.
Yankees: It’s Not Only About The Division Title
However, the Yankees still have miles to go before they sleep. Home field advantage throughout the postseason is at stake. Playing before a loud and rowdy crowd at Yankee Stadium is no small thing. Don’t believe it? Remind yourself of what you witnessed last year when the Yankees met with Red Sox fans at Fenway.
Surprisingly, the Yankees have not lost ground to the Houston Astros, who appear to have problems of their own of late. The lead is still one game, and more significantly, the Astros have one more loss than the Yankees.
The Yankees have, however, lost ground to the Los Angeles Dodgers and they now trail the Dodgers by two games in the loss column. Not a big difference, but if the season were to end today, only three World Series games would be played at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees, with their questionable starting pitching staff, can’t have that. The team needs every single perk they can get for the postseason.
If you believe in coincidence, here’s one. Following tonight’s game against the A’s, the team flies to play – who else – but the Dodgers for three games at Dodger Stadium, where they’ll draw their usual 45,000 rootin’ and hollerin’ fans.
Another loss tonight by the Yankees while the Dodgers are feasting on Toronto pitching and well, you get the picture.
Yankees: Time Now To Dig Even Deeper
As we know, the Yankees have dug plenty deep this season. What is it now? – Twenty-Nine different Yankees have done time on the Injured List? Aaron Boone has pressed the reset button how many times?
Still, 3,000 miles away from home and the kids are going back to school. You won’t be there to pick them up. You’ll be calling room service at midnight when the team returns to the hotel. Woe is me; I know what you are thinking. These poor big-league ballplayers are having to put up with so much. Just go out there and be the robot we see you as…
Cheer up. This road trip could have come in the middle of September instead of August. The team better get used to it, because only 12 home games are left on the Yankees schedule with the remaining 22 in foreign territory.
The core of the team, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Masahiro Tanaka, DJ LeMahieu, Aroldis Chapman, and Gio Urshela will need to dig still deeper if the Yankees are going to snare the prize of home-field advantage in the postseason. Aaron Boone has pushed all the right buttons. He’ll need to keep doing it.
Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, Luis Severino, Dellin Betances, Luke Voit and others too many to count stand on the periphery, waiting to join the party. But none are scheduled to return anytime soon.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll repeat it. This season cannot end before the Yankees secure home-field at Yankee Stadium throughout the playoffs.
The team cannot afford to come limping home from the West Coast. Two of three against the Dodgers will help. It’s not panic time yet, but things are surely beginning to feel a bit edgy…