Bronx, NY -one more game is on the Yankees agenda and it will take a Sunday afternoon game in the Bronx to decide where they stand in the AL wild- card post season picture. The Yankees could have took care of their own business and assured a wild card and home game Tuesday,
But the division winning Rays with home field advantage in the playoffs, and with 100 wins for the first time in franchise history, have put a halt to the Yankees plans.
The Rays have put the Yankees in that must win situation. Two consecutive losses to the Rays left the Yankees Magic Number at 1 to assure a wild card spot. The Yankees 12-2 loss Saturday, and the Red Sox win over the Nationals put them in a tie.
Randy Arozarena went 3-for-4 with two stolen bases, and Wander Franco had three hits for the Rays. One more stolen base and Arozarena will achieve a 20-homer, 20-steal season.
The Red Sox win Sunday and they host the AL wild -card game at Fenway Park. Earlier this week, after the Yankees went 5-1 on the road up in Boston and Toronto, their wild -card lead was two games.
Regardless, it’s been difficult to comprehend where this wild- card outcome is going. The Mariners are also a part of this equation and could force a tie all depending on outcomes in the Bronx, with the Red Sox, and Blue Jays.
Boston holds the playoff tiebreaker over the Yankees because of head-to-head wins. The Blue Jays are a game back and the Mariners 1-½ behind. The Yankees needed the Mariners and Blue Jays to lose Saturday and if anything will play an extra game Monday if there is a tie.
Confusing for sure are these wild-card situations. What is clear, though, is the Yankees continued inconsistency that has been a theme of their season of streaks.
Saturday was no different. Brandon Lowe hit a career high three home runs and drove in seven runs. The Rays hit five home runs off Yankees pitching and the offense was held to four hits.
Indeed, this was not in the Yankees plan. Jordan Montgomery had his worst start of the year. Lowe hit Montgomery for two three-run homers in the first and third innings. The Rays tied a season high with 19 hits.
“Just a bad day for us and we’ve got to get over it quickly,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “We’ve been down this road before, where we’ve taken it on the chin or had a tough one. There won’t be any flinch. We’ll come out ready to go tomorrow”
Boone is expecting a win Sunday. The Yankees, yes, they have been on this road of uncertainty with a season of streaks. They have had that comeback in them and they know the implications of the season finale.
“When you look at our season, we had highs and lows in a way we are used to that,” Gary Sanchez said through an interpreter.”In a way been playing playoff games all season. Mentality is come in and win tomorrow.”
And Sunday will be that playoff game in the Bronx. The Yankees need to win to assure they will play another day. It’s all a part of this wild-card havoc that MLB has always looked for when this format started.
Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso
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