That’s right … September is around the corner and postseason baseball follows right behind it. But forget about the whole season. What really matters for the New York Yankees is getting hot at the right time.
The season has been absolutely nothing but a pure masterpiece for the New York Yankees.
With significant losses from day one in the lineup, the Yankees banded together and threw together a team of rejects and no-names to create a dominant squad who have annihilated their opponents from the very beginning.
They created a monster, one that the AL East could not quite match up with.
But the season isn’t over. Despite a nine-game lead in the AL East, the Yankees still have plenty of work to do. And when October rolls around, they’ll have even more ground to cover.
While the entirety of their season has been impressive, they have hit a few slumps. They haven’t been consistent, evidenced by their current four-game losing streak. But every team wades through their own ups and downs. Right now, the Yankees are skidding slightly on their trip to the West Coast.
This is typical. This is not something abnormal. And besides, the most significant part of their regular season has yet to begin.
Wait … what?
That’s right. Forget those series against the first-place Tampa Bay Rays back towards the beginning of the year. Screw the Houston series in the Bronx. The most important part of the regular season is September for the Bombers.
They’ve laid down all the groundwork. Now it’s time to finish strong and enter the playoffs as the fully operational Death Star they were once advertised as.
October doesn’t care about regular-season records other than for home-field advantage. It doesn’t give a crap about who hit the most home runs and who dominated the regular season. No, October is an entirely different animal.
For the Yankees, the road to October runs a whole lot smoother when September is a hot month. Let’s take some of their previous seasons as examples.
In 2015, the Yankees could not edge past the Houston Astros in their home ballpark during the AL Wild Card Game. Heading into that contest, the Yankees went 14-14 in the month of September. It became pretty clear with the way they limped into the playoffs just how that game would turn out.
In 2017, by far the most successful postseason in recent history, the Bombers dominated in September, going 20-8. That postseason, they came within one game of the World Series, playing a total of 13 games before getting tossed by the eventual World Series champs—those frustrating Astros.
Then 2018 came, which was a less-than-stellar postseason for the Bombers. While they made it past the Wild Card Game, they fell flat against their rivals, losing 3-1 in the best-of-five series to the Red Sox. In that September, the Yankees went 15-12.
The month of October is all about who gets hot at the right time. Take the 2016 World Series champion Chicago Cubs. They went 17-10 in September and cruised their way to a successful postseason.
The key is to not let up. By the middle of September, the playoff picture for the divisions is typically set. At that point, the Yankees still have to continue to play their game and focus on winning. If they allow themselves to get complacent because they’ve already clinched the division, they are setting themselves up for failure.
And it’s not just the Yankees to be concerned about. They will be playing the best of the best teams in the playoffs and if they come in hot, the Bombers will be in trouble.
Division titles don’t matter. The Wild Card team, if they prepare properly, could easily make a run for the crown. October can be taken by any team if they have the right momentum.
The entire season has led up to right now for the New York Yankees. In order to get through October, they have to absolutely crush it in September.
So the high-stakes games start now. The Yankees need to continue their winning ways for the entire month of September to set themselves up for success.
October is a great month to play baseball. But September might be just as important.