With the final month of the regular season upon us, let us take a look at what the 27-time World Series Champion New York Yankees’ chances are to finish at the top of the baseball world for the first in eight years. While eight years does not seem like a very long time considering there are still a couple of players on today’s roster who were on the 2009 World Series team the goal remains the same.
The Yankees have had an up and down season, but with the trades they made and the return of Greg Bird, Matt Holliday and Starlin Castro this team could do great things if they get hot at the right time. If the season were to end today the Yankees would have the first spot in the American League Wild Card while the Minnesota Twins would be their opponent in the one game playoff.
The one game playoff is scary as baseball is very unpredictable. The Twins do have a stud pitcher in Ervin Santana who would be the prime candidate to start the game while the Yankees will likely go with Luis Severino. The Twins do have some thunder in their lineup, however they are without Miguel Sano will return in a couple of weeks. If the season were to end today they would have to worry about one of their best hitters going deep. If the Yankees can get Santana out of the game early, good chance they can close it out fairly easily. The Twins’ bullpen has been a struggle this season especially after they traded their closer, Brandon Kintzler. The Twins’ only hope in beating the Yankees in the Wild Card game is if Santana shuts down or if they out slug the Bronx Bombers. Overall, I like the chances of the Yankees beating the Twins in the Wild Card game.
The winner of the Wild Card game would have to then play the team with the best record in the American League, which in this case would be the Houston Astros. The Astros have been the talk of the league for the first half of the season, and the Yankees have not played well against them. However, this was before they made trades for Sonny Gray, David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle and Todd Frazier to bolster their roster. This was also before the Astros struggled in the second half thanks in part to their pitching staff. Outside of Dallas Keuchel, no one in the Astros’ rotation is very intimidating in a postseason series. The question is can the Yankees get over the hump and beat them in a best of five series? With Severino presumably being unavailable for the first few games of the ALDS after pitching the Wild Card game, Sonny Gray will likely get the ball for Game 1 with 2009 ACLS MVP, CC Sabathia getting the ball in Game 2. Gray is no stranger to the Astros as he has made nine career starts against them and possesses a 4-3 record with a 3.09 ERA. The Yankees are hoping his track record will work in their favor.
The Yankees will need to get off to a good start in the ALDS, because it is very difficult to see them coming back to win the series against them that has owned them this year while their backs are against the wall. The Yankees would then have to deal with reigning American League Champion Cleveland Indians or the rival, Boston Red Sox who have both given them trouble this year. The team dynamics are pretty identical between the Red Sox and Indians with the two best pitchers in the American League leading the ship in Chris Sale and Corey Kluber respectively. It is hard to say which team would give the Yankees the better chance to win the pennant, so perhaps the Indians would have the advantage since the Yankees are quite familiar with the Sox and have beaten Chris Sale three times.
Both teams are extraordinary and are going to put up a good fight, so it is difficult enough to get through the Astros and the Indians or Red Sox. At that point, it would not matter who they faced in the World Series. It is widely predicted that the Los Angeles Dodgers will be representing the National League in the World Series. Who knows what will really transpire because that is what makes baseball so grea.t It is hard to count out the underdog in the postseason because that point in the season the hottest team is the most successful, not the best team on paperq