The Yankees tumultuous season comes to a dramatic end this week with showdown series against the Sox, Jays, and Rays. How wonderful is that?
While the Yankees have disappointed large numbers of their fans and probably themselves as well, the fact is that after 150 games, they remain in control of their season.
One near-perfect week will propel the Yankees into a playoff appearance, and from there, it’s any team’s chance in what amounts to a crapshoot, where a ball landing fair or foul by inches can mean success or failure.
It’s now or never for the Yankees, whose remaining season ends with three against Tampa Bay while Boston gets the Washington Nationals, and the Blue Jays play the Orioles to close out the season next weekend.
For the Yankees, though, it’s never been more true that the only game that counts is the one you are playing today, and that includes tonight’s series sweeping test against the Rangers at Yankee Stadium.
Yankees Rotation Lined Up
With two days off next week, Gerrit Cole will face both Boston and Toronto on complete rest, and if necessary, could pitch the final game of the season at Yankee Stadium on four days rest.
Emerging Jordan Montgomery, who pitched solidly in last night’s win, will catch the Red Sox but miss the Blue Jays while being on call to pitch the middle game of the Tampa Bay series if necessary – or he can be held back as a candidate to start the Wild Card Game.
But as we know, it’s the streaky bats of the Yankees that give the cause for concern. That lonely 13-game win streak when offense contributions came from everywhere is a distant memory now, as well as an aberration compared to the overall nature of the Yankees’ offense.
The home runs keep coming from Joey Gallo, Giancarlo Stanton, and Aaron Judge. Still, in close games, like we expect the approaching ones to be, situational hitting, “the big elephant in the room,” takes a step above the power game, especially when facing a team’s best pitching.
The Red Sox are a nasty and resilient bunch who play each game as though it was the 7th game of the World Series, and their mark of five straight wins is not an anomaly.
The Blue Jays simply pummel the hell out of teams with a lineup that stretches far beyond Vladimir Guerrero Jr., with no let-up for opposing pitchers.
Nevertheless, the Yankees have it in their hands to beat both teams to salvage their season.
The Yankees bullpen, overworked all year, sometimes out of necessity, and other times by Aaron Boone‘s tendency to have a quick hook, received a lift last night when Luis Severino threw two near-perfect innings. Plus, before the game, injured Jonathan Loaisiga tossed a modified bullpen successfully.
You can argue that Boston has no business being here based on spring training predictions from Las Vegas, and Toronto was supposed to be here next year, not this year.
But the standings do not misrepresent the truth – that the Yankee’s overall inconsistency during the season is a form of poetic justice for them now.
Betting On The Yankees Offense
I remain sided with Aaron Boone in saying the Yankees are a better team than we’ve seen, but the margin for error has been reduced to zero, and five of six next week is the only thing that can prove that opinion.
While the pitching will hold, it’s those Yankees bats that put me and others on edge, and a +30 run differential is nothing to write home about, compared to Boston (+77) and Toronto (+177).
All three teams are facing the same fate of being exiled to their homes come next Sunday, with the other two preparing for one game that will decide their future the following Tuesday for the American League Wild Game contest.
Which way will the dominoes fall for the New York Yankees?
Postscript: As of this writing, Tampa Bay is beating Toronto 7-0
Here’s What Readers Are Saying…
Leon Knapp Its gonna be hell..but that’s what it’s gonna take to be in the playoffs so letssss goooo..
Mark Dobbs Great teams win big games. We shall see if the Yanks are up to it. If not, then they didn’t deserve it.
Jerry Smith Well, the very teams in the way are as good as any to be playing, win or go home, can’t be any simpler. But first, there’s a game tonight.
Al Kolakowski If you can’t beat these teams we don’t deserve to be in the playoffs
Susan Abbott I have a feeling I’ll be screaming at the tv, drinking way too much wine and curling up in the fetal position, and crying myself to sleep after we get our consistently inconsistent asses handed to us by teams that we should have put away months ago!!
Freddie Santiago With the kind of season the Yankees had it’s only fitting that the last 3 series of the season is against Boston, Tampa, and Toronto. What else did you expect? However with Severino return and German and Taillon following him, it might be the shot in the arm they need not mention Gallo’s recent emergence(just in time you think?), and Torres waking up, they have a very good chance. Would it hurt to give Odor some playing time? Excellent point made about Odor.