Yanks seek home field for wild-card game
In the American League East, the Boston Red Sox have been controlling not only the division but also the entire league. This has been troubling for their rival, the New York Yankees, as they have held the second-best record throughout the entire major leagues despite their division deficit not reflecting that.
At one point in time, the Yankees deficit grew all the way to 10.5 games, and any shot of even competing for first place in the division was pretty much out of the window.
Recently, the Yankees have been able to cut that deficit to six games, although as of late, the deficit grew to 8.5 games with recent loses.
In their previous two series against the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers, the Yankees went 3-3.
Now, the Yankees have their final West Coast trip against the Oakland Athletics and the Seattle Mariners.
With the Yankees’ chances of coming back in the division slim, these next two series could easily make or break their chances for home-field advantage in the wild-card game. The lead on the wild card for the Yankees is 3.5 games, with Oakland in second place and Seattle in third.
Since the Yankees have been riddled with injuries throughout their lineup — including Aaron Judge, Gary Sánchez and Didi Gregorius — the organization went out and made another trade for former National League MVP Andrew McCutchen and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarría. McCutchen will be used as the everyday right fielder until Judge gets healthy and will also hold a vital role as the leadoff hitter for their lineup.
Hechavarría will be used as a platoon at shortstop, with rookie sensation Gleyber Torres sliding back and forth from second base.
With Sánchez coming off the disabled list in the final game against Detroit and the addition of McCutchen, the Yankees hope that they will be able to hold down the lineup until Judge and Gregorius get healthy. However, Judge has begun to take swings off of a tee — he is on track now to start his return.
Gregorius is also close to his return as he has begun to run the bases after suffering a left heel bruise during a game on Aug 19. Before his injury, he was hitting a hot .324 with a .921 OPS in his previous 11 games, but following his injury he will have to kick the rust off quickly.
The offense has not been great as of late, but they have had much-needed production from their two rookies, Torres and Miguel Andújar.
In his past seven days, he has hit an outstanding .409 with four homeruns and 10 RBIs. These stats were able to give him his second AL player of the week for this season. In Andújar’s previous seven games his stats were not as good as Torres’ but over the past month, he has been the Yankees’ most consistent hitter. Over his past 28 days, he hit .324 with 16 extra base hits and 26 RBIs.
With Andújar’s past production, he put his name into the AL rookie of the year voting and maybe even first in the rankings.
But where there is good, there is also bad. In slugger Giancarlo Stanton’s last 14 days, he only hit .114 with one homerun and four RBIs. The one homerun was the 300th of Stanton’s career, but he has had very little production.
The Yankees hope that Gregorius and Judge come back healthy.