The Yankees themselves won't celebrate simply making it into the playoffs, because the bigger, more important goal of winning the American League East is still hanging over head, but that doesn't mean that we fans can't breathe a small sigh of relief. With the addition of a second wild card, the races in the AL have been ridiculously tight, with no division winner having been settled with three games left to play. Despite all that, the Yankees are guaranteed at least one game of postseason baseball, and hopefully a few more if they can take care of business against the Boston Red Sox beginning tomorrow at The Stadium.
Along with the Yankees, the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles also clinched a spot in the postseason picture. It seemed all along that Texas would be there, but the Orioles' inclusion will certainly be one of the best stories in baseball for 2012. Should the American League East race end in a tie, the Yankees would head to Camden Yards for a one-game playoff to settle the division title. The loser would end up in the unfavorable Wild Card game.
There is work still to be done, for sure. Not beating up on the Red Sox at this point would be unforgivable. The Yankees will also need to rely on a little help from the Tampa Bay Rays to do work against the Orioles if they are to come out on top without needing a game 163. Either way, they are heading to the playoffs, and that's something to celebrate for now.