MLB

Yankees move ahead as the AL Wild Card chase enters final furlong

Things are heating up in the American League Wild Card race after the Yankees sweep of the Red Sox, bringing their unbeaten run to six.

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Yankees move ahead as the AL Wild Card chase enters final furlong
Jim Rogash AFP

Things are heating up in the American League Wild Card race after the NY Yankees sweep of the Sox, bringing their unbeaten run to six. Boston fans will be all too familiar with the story as their top spot slips in the waning week of the season to their down coast rivals yet again.

As is all too often the case, this Yankees win was done in emphatic style with a Giancarlo Stanton 2-run shot capping off a chaotic 8th inning. Shades of Buckner, dare I say it. It looks likely, although by no means certain, that these two will face each other for the Wild Card decider. And if you absolutely have to play a postseason game against the Yankees, it is infinitely preferable to do it in Fenway. The Bronx can hold nothing good for a visiting side in the autumn. But never fear, Boston fans, these next six days are likely to be full of swings and roundabouts between these two giant organisations.

New York Yankees v Boston Red SoxBOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 25: Giancarlo Stanton #27 of the New York Yankees connects for a grand slam home run against the Boston Red Sox in the eighth inning at Fenway Park on September 25, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Taking in the long view of the horizon

It would be a mistake to be too pessimistic about this series in the bigger picture. The Red Sox have given up their lead in the Wild Card race to New York by a game, sure, but New York has the tougher schedule ahead of them. There is a three-day away trip to Toronto, themselves only one game adrift of an appearance in the Wild Card game.

New York Yankees v Boston Red SoxBOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 25: Enrique Hernandez #5 of the Boston Red Sox (L) reacts with teammate Kevin Plawecki #25, who connected for a home run against the New York Yankees in the third inning at Fenway Park on September 25, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Dropping any of this series could spell disaster for either of these two teams. While New York are holding off the Jays, Boston will be very much the favoured team in a three-game series in Baltimore and has a chance to pull to a comfortable distance if they get back to solid fundamentals. Rounding out the regular season, the Yankees will go home to face the Rays while Boston will take a ride down I-95 to DC for a three game series against the Nationals. There is a definite preference that anyone would have between these two schedules and it doesn’t include the Big Apple.

Seattle and Oakland are not exactly laying down either, rounding out the peloton that is within sniffing distance of the postseason with only one game between them and while the Mariners dropped a clanger to the Angels, the wheels haven’t exactly come off yet. They move on to face the red-hot Oakland Athletics in a series that will be the death-knell for one of these two club’s fall hopes.

Oakland have been taking their destiny into their own hands in the late season sweeping the AL West leaders, the third game ending with a walk-off. The A’s are looking like they have suddenly become serious about playing in the autumn but with six games between them and the Astros, have they left it too late? They have a very tough fight on their hands in Seattle and even if they pass that test, they will have to finish up on a visit to Minute Maid Park for a return visit against the Houston Astros.

Official Wild Card Standings on MLB

Check out the Wild Card chase on MLB’s website