Apr 10, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees catcher Kyle Higashioka (38) congratulates New York Yankees pitcher Chase Shreve (45) after the Yankees defeat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-1 at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are in the underdog role for the first time in a while but it is exactly where they want to be to make a run.

For the first time in a long time, the New York Yankees find themselves in an interesting position. They are no longer the powerhouse team that strikes fear in the hearts of their opponents.

Instead, they are a team that has been projected to finish the season out poorly. They are the team that nobody is expecting anything from.

That may be a bad thing for some teams. However, for this Yankees squad, it is the best thing for them. It is a role they must embrace.

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The Yankees have bathed in success throughout their franchise history with some winless streaks along the way. There is no way they can be successful every single year.

However, fans have been spoiled and come to expect that from their boys in pinstripes.

There is no sense in denying that this year the Yankees aren’t at full-strength. With a fairly new team, alongside some key injuries, the Yankees don’t have all the pieces to make a championship run just yet.

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Apr 10, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) is congratulated by third base coach Joe Espada (53) after a home run in the 4th inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

On the surface, at least. The Yankees are in unfamiliar territory but they are making the most of it. The expectations for the Yankees this season are next to nothing. They lost their four of their first five games against division rivals.

But then, just when people least expected it, they willed themselves to victory. Think about yesterday’s fulfilling victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees sent Michael Pineda to the mound, who had already faced this Rays lineup and failed.

 RELATED: Martha Stewart Jinxes Michael Pineda's Perfect Game 

The expectations were low but Pineda stepped up his game and fed off the atmosphere to help the Yankees win their second game in a row. Fans were dreading Pineda’s return to the mound after he surrendered four runs in 3.2 innings pitched.

And that’s how the Yankees will succeed this season. They must feed off the energy that comes with being the underdog. They need to focus on the mentality that they have nothing to lose.

Yesterday the Yankees played without their starting catcher and first baseman. They were starting an unreliable pitcher. They should have lost.

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Yet they worked together and found a way to win. Even when the odds were stacked against them, the Yankees went out and realized they had nothing to lose. And that’s how they won.

The role of the underdog has been prevalent in the sports world for decades. It just seems that the Yankees never inherited that role. But that title is not something to be ashamed of whatsoever.

In fact, that title will only make them stronger as a team. They’ve done better when they are expected to lose when the pressure isn’t on them.

And that’s okay. It is okay to be labeled the underdog in the sports world. We may not be used to seeing the Yankees in a rebuilding mode but that’s the story of this season.

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The 2017 team is young but talented. They have potential but have not proven it yet. They exhibit the makings of a beginning of a dynasty.

This Yankees team is underrated. They might not make it to the World Series but they have the potential to make a run. That potential is there and being the underdog brings out the instinct of this team.

The Yankees are the underdog this season and it already seems they are settling into that role quite nicely. This year they may be the underdogs but next year? Who knows?

We might as well embrace this underdog team while we have them for all the excitement, thrills and joy they’ll bring this season.

 NEXT: Pineda Turns In Masterpiece, Yankees Cruise Past Tampa Bay (Highlights) 


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