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The Yankees’ path to home-field advantage

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Home-field advantage for the Yankees could mean the difference between winning or losing the World Series.

MLB: New York Yankees at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

After winning their three-game series against the Texas Rangers, the New York Yankees improved to 18-0-3 in their last 21 home series. The last time they lost a series in the Bronx was in the early stages of the season against the Chicago White Sox April 12-14.

That kind of dominance at home is unparalleled. Clearly there’s an edge to playing in the Bronx and the Bombers must capitalize on that. Currently with 92 wins, they are tied with the Dodgers and Astros in the standings.

With 20 games left in the season, the Yankees just need to win 11 games to tie their season high since their last World Series title in 2009 with 103. More importantly, the difference between winning the World Series or not all factors in to whether the Yankees could finish the regular season with the best record in baseball.

We saw in 2017 just how vital home field was for the Bombers as they came back from a 0-2 deficit against the vaunted Astros to win the next three games at home before falling just short of their first World Series appearance since 2009. If those young Yankees had the benefit of home-field advantage, that series may have ended differently, and maybe we’d be looking forward to championship #29 instead of 28.

But the difference between those Bombers and this year’s squad is experience. This group is battle tested not only in back-to-back postseasons in 2017 and 2018, but because of the vast array of injuries they've had to overcome to key players throughout their lineup, rotation and bullpen.

The Yankees have fared well against the Astros and the Dodgers this season. In their Players’ Weekend showcase, the Yankees went off on Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu, showing just how dominant this lineup could be when everyone in clicking on all cylinders. Keep in mind, Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton and Edwin Encarnacion weren’t in the lineup during that series. A heads up baseball play by Max Muncy prevented the Bombers from having a clean sweep in LA. With Stanton, Dellin Betances and Luis Severino coming back prior to the start of the postseason there’s no telling how far this team could go.

The major issue as we all know is starting pitching. The Yankees are a whopping 31 games above .500 at home, whereas they're 12 games above .500 on the road. Not only do the hitters benefit from being at the stadium, but their starters perform better in the Bronx as well. Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and CC Sabathia all perform much better at Yankee Stadium than they do on the road.

With the addition of Severino they’ll finally have that bonafide ace quality pitcher that has eluded them all season to go along with arguably the best bullpen in baseball. You combine that with the best offense in the league and one of the best home records in baseball, that spells disaster for whoever has to back their bags and come to the Bronx for an extended stay. Here’s hoping that they end the season with the best record in baseball.