The New York Yankees have 90 wins and are in a key position so they may close out the 2019 regular season on a strong note.
The calendar has turned to September and for the first time in a while, it feels good to be a New York Yankees fan.
The team sits at 90-48 and leads the AL East by 10 games. Aaron Judge’s home run swing has returned and key players are soon returning from injuries. More importantly, gone is the anxiety of having to potentially play in the AL Wild Card Game.
That is, it will be if the Yankees continue playing well in September. Stumbling in the season’s final month has torpedoed playoff hopes many times. Just ask the 2007 New York Mets, who lost 12 of their last 17 to miss the postseason entirely after leading the NL East on Sept. 12.
The good news for the Yankees is, as of now, they only face one playoff team the rest of the season. The road to October for them should be smoother than a certain Carlos Santana & Rob Thomas hit from the ’90s.
Thus, let’s take a look at the Yankees’ remaining schedule and what fans can expect.
Texas Rangers: Sept. 2-4, 27-29
No, I didn’t believe it either. The Yankees are finally facing the Rangers this season and fortunately for them, they’re doing so in a great position. It also helps Texas ranks 22nd in MLB with a staff ERA of 4.85, so New York’s potent bats should have no issue feasting.
But don’t count the Rangers out just yet. They’ll kick off the start of a three-game set sending lefty Mike Minor (11-8, 3.25 ERA) to the mound. Texas also has some pesky bats in Shin-Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus, but New York should hold a significant advantage.
When the Yankees travel to Arlington to face them again in the regular-season finale, all signs point to an already clinched AL East. Hopefully, a strong performance at home this week puts them on that road.
Boston Red Sox: Sept. 6-9
The rivalry last took place over four games at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 2-4, and New York outscored Boston 26-12 in a four-game sweep. Manager Aaron Boone and his team will hope to do the same and keep their foot on the gas pedal during the Yankees’ final trip to Fenway Park in 2019.
Boston, meanwhile, could be in a position to play spoiler. The Red Sox enter Monday 5.5 games back of the second AL Wild Card spot and some key wins over the Yankees could improve their playoff chances.
However, even though the Yankees lost three of four at Fenway in July, they still enter with an 11-4 series lead. If they let the Red Sox play spoiler this series, it will only be because something went horribly wrong.
Detroit Tigers: Sept. 10-12
Boy, has it been a minute or five since the Yankees and Detroit Tigers saw each other. Detroit last faced New York in a three-game set to kick off April and took two of three as the Yankees’ offense looked banged up and anemic.
Well, times have now changed faster than the Doctor can drive the Tardis. The Yankees will hopefully enter this series within fingertips of clinching the AL East, while the Tigers currently have an MLB-worst 94 losses.
Scoring runs can be hard in deep and cavernous Comerica Park, but the Yankees have the upper hand. Detroit may find a way to make things interesting, but don’t count on it.
Toronto Blue Jays: Sept. 13-15, 20-22
The Blue Jays may have 83 losses but don’t let that number fool you. Toronto is a young and pesky team who has given New York fits on more than one occasion in 2019.
The Yankees currently lead Toronto by 35 games in the division but have gone 8-5 against the Blue Jays this year. Though technically a winning record, most games between both teams have been hard-fought battles.
As a result, when the Yankees face Toronto this month, they must go for the kill quickly. Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, and Vlad Guerrero Jr. are a powerful trio who can make even the best teams look foolish. No game against the Blue Jays should be taken lightly.
The good news for the Yankees is by the latter series, which happens to be the last three home games of the season, the AL East crown should be won.
Los Angeles Angels: Sept. 17-19
It’s always a good time when future Hall of Famer Mike Trout comes to town and this series will be no exception. The Yankees already took three of four in Anaheim back in April and will look for a similar performance at home.
The Angels are once again out of the playoffs, but they always play pesky against the Yankees. These two teams have a mini-rivalry thanks to several postseason meetings this century, so the crowd for a midweek series may be larger than usual.
Plus, who doesn’t look forward to watching not only Trout, but also Albert Pujols and Justin Upton? One way or another, expect the Yankees to pad their win total here.
Tampa Bay Rays: Sept. 24, 25
The Tampa Bay Rays are a very good team, but they just couldn’t beat the Yankees when it mattered this year. This series comes at a time when, ideally, New York will have already clinched the AL East and hopefully home-field advantage too.
Regardless, expect this series to have some fireworks. The Yankees’ last game at Tropicana Field last year was highlighted by CC Sabathia’s now-legendary ejection, and the big lefty kept the rivalry going this year too.
Moreover, the Rays are in a tight race for one of the AL Wild Card spots. This means regardless of the Yankees’ situation, Tampa Bay will be playing its aggressive brand of baseball with the playoffs in sight.
But I digress. The point is, in this series and every other one this month, the Yankees are in a position to enter October strong.
Now, let’s see how they rise up to the task.