The New York Yankees just can’t make things easy this year.
The club entered Saturday needing a win to clinch a spot in the American League Wild Card Game.
Sounds easy enough, right?
The Tampa Bay Rays had other plans, even though they have clinched the top spot in the AL postseason.
A 12-2 beatdown of the Yankees by the Rays took place in a game that saw the Tampa offense get 19 hits.
Jordan Montgomery got rocked from the start and those in attendance hoping to celebrate saw the Rays take an early 3-0 lead.
This one was over fast and the attention now shifts to Game 162.
Oof, that is a bad look in a game where the Yankees are trailing by double digits. Gleyber Torres did not run hard to first base on a ball that got by Mike Zunino.
Aaron Judge is talking to him on the bench right now.
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) October 2, 2021
The Current Standings
At the time this is being written, the Yankees have a record of 91-70.
The Boston Red Sox are currently in action with a record of 90-70.
Toronto won Saturday, putting them one game back at 90-71.
The Seattle Mariners are 89-71 with a chance to tie Toronto with a win Saturday night.
New York, even with the loss, is assured at least some tiebreaker action with their 91 wins.
That could be a four-way tie, a three-way tie, or pretty much any scenario you can think of with all this chaos.
Seeing what Seattle does Saturday night simplifies things a bit.
That is, if they lose.
The easiest path forward for the Yankees is to win Sunday and finish with 92 wins.
Only they and the Red Sox can reach that mark if Boston can win Saturday night.
Responding To Pressure
Sunday’s game will say a lot about this Yankees squad.
Are they built to win under pressure?
This series against the Rays is at home and so far has not gone as planned.
And don’t forget the Rays are the division champions, so if the Yankees cannot beat them at home in the regular season, their postseason odds don’t look great either.
RHP Jameson Taillon will start Sunday’s game vs. the Rays.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) October 2, 2021
Jameson Taillon is scheduled to start Sunday and he will be relying on the offense to step up as well.
The Yankees have scored a combined five runs in the two games so far against the Rays.
Now they must prove that is not a sign of things to come in a potential playoff meeting.
The Yankees got the toughest draw of all as the Red Sox are taking on the Nationals and the Blue Jays get to beat up on the lowly Orioles to end the season.
Even the Mariners have a weaker opponent in the Los Angeles Angels.
Yet someone had to play the Rays and this is providing everyone with a good barometer of what the Yankees can do.
A win Sunday puts all this panic to rest and lets the Yankees focus on the Wild Card Game.