The New York Yankees broke a five-game losing streak over the weekend by beating the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday and Sunday. New York trails the Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners by three games for the second Wild Card spot as the season approaches the latter stages. After a day off yesterday, the Yankees are about to begin a pivotal week that could determine whether or not they stay in the playoff hunt.
Any given team in Wild Card contention needs an extended hot streak that lasts a few weeks in order to capture the spot at the end of the season. The Yankees have as good an opportunity as any to get it started in the next six days.
The Bombers open a six-game homestand tonight, but what’s more important this week is the competition. The Yankees have three against the Houston Astros followed by a weekend series with the Chicago White Sox, two teams that the Yankees should be able to handle. They also have the chance to build on their short two-game winning streak.
The Astros have one of the worst records in the league, and Chicago isn’t much better. As a team that needs to win every game, the Yankees need to capitalize on these games against seemingly weaker opponents. Not only are the two teams way out of the playoff hunt, but they’ve also been struggling of late. In the last two weeks, the Astros are 5-8 while the White Sox are 4-8 over that time.
Given the opponents and the circumstances in the standings, the Yankees need to take five out of these next six games if not all six. It seems like a lot to ask, but even going 4-2 won’t be good enough because they most likely won’t gain much ground on anyone. Considering the Yankees still have some series against tough teams to come, they need to take advantage of the remaining games against teams with losing records.
The Yankees need to win these games because plain and simple, these are teams that they should beat. If the Yankees miraculously do make the postseason, how do they expect to fare against other playoff teams if they’re struggling with teams like Houston and Chicago? The easy answer is that if they do struggle this week, they most likely won’t have enough time to catch the Wild Card leaders.
Winning five out of six is certainly no sure thing against any major league team, but this is where the Yankees need to string together some wins and make up ground. It will certainly be a pivotal six games that could help the Yankees stay close as September rapidly approaches. Of course, it won’t be easy because nothing ever is with the 2014 Yanks, but the opportunity is there.