The New York Yankees fortified their position among the best in the American League with a promising series win at Safeco Field.

Heading into a pivotal late August three-game set in Seattle, which would wrap up a six-game west coast swing, the New York Yankees had numerous questions regarding just how formidable they were.

The excitement that came with post-deadline call-ups, rookie phenoms, and furthered success was propelling itself into the headlines. However, multiple winnable games had been squandered and it was simply unclear as to whether Joe Girardi’s team was ready to take that imperative next step.

The potential, the explosiveness, and the winning bravado had made its way to the Bronx. With contributions from numerous areas, the Yankees had resolidified themselves as a force in the American League.

Whether it be Gary Sanchez’s absurdly lethal tear, Aaron Judge’s raw and eye-popping power, Masahiro Tanaka’s brilliance on the hill, or the rest of the unit, which has collectively excelled thanks to a newfound mystique, 2016 had transformed from an afterthought to a realistic desire.

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With that said, the Yankees had still accomplished nothing. Traveling from Los Angeles up to Seattle, determination to prove legitimacy resided in the minds of each individual. Attempting to make waves in a chase for the second AL Wild Card, New York had a slate of telling games forthcoming.

Let’s just say, now in hindsight, they answered the bell.

Two out of three against the Mariners easily could have been a sweep. But the resiliency, poise, grit, passion, and perfection illustrated in the final two games simply went to show the strides this team has taken.

From a team utterly boring to watch in the fourth inning of a generic game to an eyes-peeled, edge-of-the-couch scenario, the leaps have been downright impressive. Those leaps have now turned into hardcore results, resulting in a mere six-game deficit in the AL East, which has ironically become the most plausible path to the promise land.

With the Baltimore Orioles coming to town this weekend, a revitalized squad has the opportunity to do even more damage.

The recent success, leading to a seemingly reasonable climb up the standings, has fans longing for a full 162-game slate with this roster.

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Let’s just make one thing clear: the Yankees are, at large, the best team in the American League East with this regime, effectively silencing secondary shaky opponents.

Sure, you can ignorantly call out their 19-27 record inside the division thus far. However, nobody should be that close minded.

Considerable improvements provide for considerable results. New York is 9-10 against AL East opponents since the all-star break. Not dazzling by any stretch, but it gets the job done. You can even erase a dreadful late July Tampa sweep from the equation. An unmotivated, helpless effort which benefitted them, in fact, by opening ownership’s eyes.

Soon thereafter, Carlos Beltran and Alex Rodriguez — two DH clogs — packed their bags, a new charisma was installed, and the back end of the bullpen — which lost Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller — did not miss a beat.

Right now, it is looking like the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox, and Orioles will have a difficult time firmly grasping their respective spots for the remainder of this season.

A recently-transformed, dangerous Yankee team has nine meetings left with Baltimore, seven meetings left with Toronto, and seven meetings left with their arch rivals, the Red Sox. If that is not viewed as an open door, you cannot define such a thing.

Imagine this rate of success projected over a full year? The Evil Empire would be reformed, and epically revered.

Questions have been silenced, a bona fide Seattle team has been handled, the correct winning formula has been showcased, and pure optimism lingers throughout Yankee land. The piled up victories are not a representation of a fluke, but rather a symbol of reality.

The rebuild has hit the ground running yet with youngsters more than capable of molding the team of seizing each and every positive pathway.

Yes, it is time to get excited.

NEXT: ESNY’s Yankees Prospect Profile — Dillon Tate

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