On Saturday, the Yankees punched their ticket to the postseason, as they clinched postseason berth. They celebrated their victory in the clubhouse, as multiple players discussed the Yankees‘ mindset moving forward: keep working and be in the best position to win in October.
On Sunday, Yankees manager Aaron Boone made a devastating announcement that SS Didi Gregorius tore cartilage in his wrist during a head-first slide home and may not return for the remainder of the season. Gregorius, however, is staying optimistic that he’ll return in time for October:
Didi Gregorius said that his wrist got caught under him on the slide. It didn’t bother him until this morning. The MRI showed a small tear. He said that he has a “high” level of optimism that he can return this year.
“I would not want to sit out and watch that (Wild Card Game).”
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) September 23, 2018
Luke Voit has been one of the most influential pieces of the Yankees’ success since he joined the team. In his previous 100 ABs, he has 23 H, 25 RBI, 11 HR and a .320 AVG. In his last seven games, he’s slashing .308/.357/.769 with 4 HR. In his short time with the team, he’s been one of the strongest offensive players in the lineup. Despite a slow start to his time with the team, he’s made a name for himself in New York.
Aaron Hicks has also gone on a tear in recent games. In his previous seven, he’s batting .360 with nine hits, seven RBIs and two home runs. Despite his streakiness over the season, Hicks can tremendously boost the lineup in the midst of a hot streak. If he continues this strong play into the postseason, the Yankees’ center fielder is in good shape to make significant contributions, both offensively and defensively.
The Yankees have yet to announce which starter will pitch in the Wildcard game. The top three contenders are JA Happ, Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino. Happ’s previous five inning, one run outing has kept him in the conversation for potentially starting. He’s 6-0 with the Yankees since his acquisition and has overall exceeded expectations. Tanaka’s coming off his worst start in weeks, but he’s been one of the strongest pitchers in the rotation, recording a 2.66 ERA in his last seven games. Severino has improved his consistency, though he’s 1-2 with a 4.11 ERA in September. Despite a disappointing season, the Yankees still have great confidence in the young starter.
Aaron Judge made his return to the lineup in the Boston series. He’s slowly easing his way back into the game. In six games, he has three hits and one RBI, batting .150. By the time the postseason comes, however, Judge should be in better shape to provide the Yankees the consistent ABs and defense they’ve desperately missed. His presence automatically reinforces the lineup because of his power bat.
Boone discussed the team’s fight for home-field advantage with opportunities quickly running out, northjersey.com’s Sean Farrell reports:
“We want to play the game at home,” Boone said. “We also feel like we can beat anyone anywhere. But we know we have a home field advantage here.”
One of the weak points in recent times has been the bullpen. In two games against Baltimore, A.J. Cole allowed six ER, including three HR, his ERA continued to skyrocket. Yankees fans questioned Boone’s decision to pitch Cole in Sunday’s game after discussing the importance of winning for home-field advantage. Aroldis Chapman returned from the DL, but allowed three ER in his first game back against Boston. The ‘pen has not been awful, but it lacks the “lights out” dominance it once possessed.
With the final games of the regular season dwindling, the Yankees have one goal in mind: win. They look to do everything they can to ensure they play the Wildcard game in the Bronx. The Yankees hold a 95-60 record, while the A’s are right behind them at 94-62.
Winning against the Rays won’t be an easy task, either. The team has not lost a series since losing two of three to Boston on August 19. The Yankees have a challenge in facing the Rays and Sox, but a home field advantage would be absolutely huge to them.
There are still questions about the state of the team and with injuries continuing to plague the team, some fans ponder if the Yankees are suited for a postseason battle. But until October, the Yankees will take each game as it comes and look to earn the strongest record they can, hoping for a hot streak diving into the playoffs.