The New York Yankees have managed to start winning again and are currently 44-42.
That’s good for fourth place in the always competitive American League East division.
The Boston Red Sox are first, the Tampa Bay Rays are second, the Toronto Blue Jays are third, and the Baltimore Orioles are last.
The Yankees are currently nine games behind the Red Sox for the division lead, and while the gap isn’t insurmountable, it remains large and thus the Bombers are unlikely to overcome it.
The Yankees refuse to give up, and understandably so.
They do have an offense full of struggling stars that should wake up eventually, and they could soon welcome back Luis Severino.
They need to remain active in the trade market if they want to keep up with the rest of the league, though.
Perhaps their biggest hopes can be directed to the quest for a Wild Card spot.
Right now, the Red Sox, the Houston Astros, and the Chicago White Sox are the division leaders.
The Rays have a two-game advantage in the first Wild Card spot.
The Oakland Athletics currently hold the second spot, and the Yankees are 4.5 games behind them.
They are not that far!
Yankees have certainly helped themselves out by picking up three wins in a row. They enter today's afternoon game still 8.5 games back in the AL East, but just 3.5 games back for the second Wild Card spot.
— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) July 8, 2021
However, they will need to win these three series if they want to keep fighting for a place in October baseball.
3. July 15-July 18 Vs. Boston Red Sox
The Yankees kick off the second half with a series against their arch-rivals, the Red Sox.
Boston has been better than anticipated and are actually fighting for the best record in baseball.
The Red Sox have swept the Yankees in both series they have had so far, so the Yankees need to make a statement right out of the gate if they are serious about taking the division.
Eh the Yankees still got swept by the Red Sox twice in a month
— peter polachi (@PPolachi) June 30, 2021
If the Yankees want to say they are competitive enough to fight for a postseason spot, fine, but they need to prove it on the field against top opponents, like the Red Sox.
Taking at least three of these four games is a must.
2. July 27-July 29 At Tampa Bay Rays
The Yankees have not only struggled against Boston this year: you can add Tampa to that list, too.
In fact, the Rays have been dominating the Yankees since last year.
They won the regular-season series and then knocked out the Yankees in the 2020 Division Series.
The Yankees need to prove they can beat Tampa.
In fact, doing is a necessity: the Rays currently hold the first Wild Card spot and winning this series would mean the Yankees would make up some of the lost ground.
1. August 26-August 29 At Oakland Athletics
Right now, the Oakland Athletics are the owners of the second Wild Card spot.
Things can certainly change from this point until late August, but the A’s look good enough to fight for that spot all season long and catching the Astros is a long-shot.
The most likely scenario is that Oakland gets to this series against the Yankees as the owner of a postseason spot or very close to one.
The playoff implications make this series a must-watch, and a must-win for Aaron Boone’s team.