Connect with us


Wild Card And Down To Wire

Bill Menzel/ Latino Sports

Bronx, NY: Three teams from the AL East and the Mariners out of the AL West all for two American League wild card spots up for grabs. The final two standing move on to the postseason. This is what MLB envisioned with pennant chase baseball in the final three games of a 162-game season.

The Red Sox and Blue Jays won their games Friday night. The Yankees lost to the division winning Rays in the Bronx and all eyes were on the Mariners who had the late west coast game and lost to the Angels leaving them one game behind the Red Sox.

The Yankees lost a nail biter, 4-3. They made it interesting but Gary Sanchez and Rougned Odor struck out with two runners on in the ninth inning and the comeback failed.

So it was a nail biter, more on the line for the Yankees than the rival Tampa Bay Rays. Last week the Rays clinched their commanding Al East division lead and have secured home field advantage for the division series and ALCS.

If the Yankees want to clinch home field for the wild card, they will need to win their final two games in the Bronx against the Rays. This is what the wild card is about and the Yankees are in for a memorable finish.

With two games remaining of the 160 played, Saturday afternoon, now becomes the most important one of the year with the Yankees and Rays. Then again, it seems the last week all have been significant for the Yankees as they took five of six from the Red Sox and Blue Jays.

And It could come down to the final day for the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Mariners to determine those wild card spots.

“Just couldn’t break through enough and love the fight there at the end and the quality of the at-bats there at the end,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. “Just couldn’t break through.”

The Yankees will play Saturday with a one game advantage over the Red Sox for the top wild card and two ahead of the Blue Jays.  

But the Yankees did not take care of their own business and left this wild card race in turmoil and left their magic number to clinch at two. There is the possibility of a two or three team deadlock going into the final day or when game number 162 is completed Sunday afternoon in the Bronx.

Again, this makes for good baseball theater and exactly a reason why MLB has always been a fan of the wild card.

The Rays pitching held the Yankees to a Giancarlo Stanton first inning RBI single through eight innings. Then the final inning of theatrics and Boone questioned about the usage of his bullpen.

Boone said prior to the game, “Put ourselves in a good position to be here. We’re really just trying to focus each and every day with the task at hand.”

Boone was going to use the pen that had tossed to a 0.96 ERA in their last nine games and that was a task. After starter Nestor Cortes gave up two runs and five hits in 4-⅔ innings, five relievers took over.

Righty-lefty moves and Domingo German making his first appearance since July 31 against the Marlins, but the right hander walked two in the ninth with one out. Albert Abreu followed and a Wander Franco two out single up the middle off a low sinker gave the Rays some cushion.

The Yankees made it interesting. Argue that analytics made the calls for Boone and the bullpen was not effective in this wild card mania. Either way, the next two ball games in the Bronx promise to be a wild ride.

And Major League Baseball is more than pleased.

CRUZ Home RUN: Nelson Cruz go-ahead first inning home run off Cortes was the 449th of his career putting him 40th on the all-time list with Vladimir Guerrero Sr. and Jeff Bagwell.

Nelson Cruz (PC: Bill Menzel)

“I think one of the most memorable homers of my career,” he said.

Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Latest Article

More in Baseball