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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 9/22/21

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Joely Rodríguez proving he was not a throw-in to the Joey Gallo trade; Yankees-Red Sox perhaps the most juicy potential Wild Card matchups; Chaos still possible in AL Wild Card race; Boone not worried about his job

Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

New York Post | Dan Martin: Aaron Boone spoke on his own job on Tuesday, emphasizing that he’d be fine no matter what happens and that he was focused on the Yankees’ playoff chances, not his job security. It’s the most that Boone or anyone among the Yankee brass had commented on the manager’s status in some time. Boone would obviously be on a very hot seat if the Yankees’ season ended after Game 162. Back in June, GM Brian Cashman had stated that no one would be fired during the season, but offered no further assurances.

Yahoo Sports | Scott Thompson: The Yankees got a small bit of good news as Jonathan Loáisiga threw on flat ground yesterday without trouble. Boone said he felt very encouraged that the right-hander threw “free and easy,” even if it was just a catch, rather than a bullpen session or simulated game. The Yankees still hope to get the relief ace back this season, but he’ll have to progress through some sort of rehab program in the next week or two to do so.

NJ.com | Randy Miller: When Joely Rodríguez came to New York in the Joey Gallo trade, you’d have been forgiven for feeling he was a bit of a throw-in. The left-hander has had a somewhat anonymous career thus far, and owned a 5.93 ERA in 31 appearances for the Rangers. But the Yankees felt that he was a key piece in the deal, and he’s proven them right down the stretch. Rodríguez has become a trusted piece of Boone’s bullpen, and has produced a 2.30 ERA in 19 games as a Yankee.

CBS Sports | Mike Axisa: With just a couple weeks left in the season, we know what the potential matchups are for the pair of Wild Card Games. Red Sox-Yankees ranks as one of the most enticing possible matchups, given the juicy starting pitching stare-down between Gerrit Cole and Chris Sale. Axisa ranks Dodgers-Padres as the only more intriguing possible showdown, though with the Padres fading fast, it doesn’t seem likely to come to pass.

FanGraphs | Jay Jaffe: There’s still the potential for chaos in the AL Wild Card race. Jaffe runs down the ways that the various playoff races could end in dead heats, and there are non-zero chances of three-way ties for each of the two AL Wild Card slots. There’s a forest of complicated tiebreaker rules determining matchups and location, should there be some sort of pile-up after 162 games. The Yankees will look to avoid invoking any of those rules by way of gaining sole possession of a playoff spot.