Because of the series against the Sox in which Boston won three of four, the Yankees are now half a game behind both Baltimore and the Cleveland Indians for the second Wild Card spot. But, because the Tampa Bay Rays have lost three of their last four as well, the Yanks are where they were before the Boston series started: 2.5 games back for the final playoff spot in the American League.
So, now the Yankees will face the Orioles for the last time this year in a four-game series. These four games could determine which of the divisional rivals has a better shot to get to the postseason.
The last time the Yanks visited Camden Yards in June, they got swept by the Orioles. But this isn’t the same team that they were the last time they were in Baltimore. The additions of Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, Alfonso Soriano and Derek Jeter (if healthy) significantly alter and lengthen the once-anemic lineup.
With a win yesterday, the Yankees’ probability to make the playoffs is now 6.9 percent. Because the Orioles are only a half game ahead of the Yanks, they must be in the same ballpark percentage to continue playing baseball in October.
The Yankees do have an advantage schedule wise, with the San Francisco Giants coming to the Bronx and the team ending the year against the Houston Astros, basically a triple-A team. The Orioles’ remaining schedule is exclusively against AL East opponents who would love nothing more than to eliminate a rival from the postseason.
The Yanks will begin that AL East gauntlet tonight, not only to try and end Baltimore’s season early, but to extend theirs into October as well.