clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

It’s time for the Yankees to put away the competition

New, comments

With a huge homestand coming up against the Orioles and Twins, this will be the Yankees’ best shot to earn the top wild card themselves.

MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles
The Yankees and Orioles will meet one more time next week.
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

For much of the season, the Yankees have teetered between 1st and 2nd place in the division. While there may still be a run at the division in sight, there is business that the Yankees would do well to take care of first. With two of the top three teams still in the wild card hunt scheduled to visit the Bronx next week, a strong showing to clinch at least the top wild card now would be vital to begin what is essentially playoff baseball.

As it currently stands, the Yankees (75-64) have a three-game lead over the Minnesota Twins (72-67) for the first wild card. The Baltimore Orioles (71-69) sit a game and a half behind the Twins in the hunt. Both clubs had a strong August to get themselves back in the conversation, and are 6-4 in their last ten games, so neither will make for an easy victory. In particular, among the many weird stats about the Twins this season, they have a winning road record but a losing home record (37-30 road, 35-37 home).

After taking 3 of 4 from Boston and 2 of 3 from Baltimore, the Yankees have some momentum themselves. They are the superior team on paper compared to the contenders still without a spot, but until now have lacked the decisive series victories to pull themselves away.

This homestand will be their last chance to do so. If the Yankees fail to extend the gap or worse, lose ground on these teams, they will be throwing away the one advantage they have heading into the final weeks: control of their own destiny.

Following the Twins series, the Yankees do not play another team within striking distance of them the rest of the way. This is their last opportunity to step on the competition’s throats and give themselves the slight comfort of knowing they’ll have home field advantage in a one-game playoff should they need it.

The Yankees seem well equipped to handle the task at hand. Their additions, both internally and externally, over the course of the last month have reinvigorated the team. Sans Aaron Judge, the core players are performing at their respective maximums. They will be playing in an environment where they have been superior to their competition. They need to continue this for one more homestand to earn the separation that will finally put this race away.