With their victory last night — the 10,000th in franchise history — the New York Yankees have clinched their first playoff berth since 2012. They will be playing in the relatively new Wild Card game, most likely against either the Los Angeles Angels, Houston Astros, or Minnesota Twins, on October 6. While it is going to be a long road to reach the Fall Classic, the Yankees certainly have the talent as well as the ability to take home their 41st American League Pennant.
The first step in making it to the World Series is to win the do-or-die Wild Card game. Last year, the Kansas City Royals won the Wild Card game, and eventually lost in Game 7 of the World Series. So this game means a lot, and says that there is a chance to make it far if you win this crucial game. For the Yankees to win this game, they need to continue to play solid baseball. All of this starts on the hill, and as I previously mentioned, I think the Yankees should start Nathan Eovaldi because he gives the Yankees the best chance to win. Even though he is currently shut down, the Angels and Astros are the teams that Eovaldi has pitched the best against this year. They need Eovaldi to give a solid performance, the bullpen will be lockdown as it always is, and they need to score early. If all of this happens, the Yankees can easily move on to the ALDS.
If they Yankees win and move on to the ALDS, they will face division rival Toronto Blue Jays, who have had one of the most incredible second halves in baseball history. Toronto is dominant at home this year, and home-field advantage will certainly help them out. The Yankees need to take at least one of the two early games against the Blue Jays. If they drop both, then they’re as good as dead. But if they come into the Bronx in Game 3 with a 1-1 series tie, then they can definitely take this series. Toronto, who has the MVP favorite and a possible Cy Young Award winner, has been scary good, but the Yankees can take out their foes north of the border. While they have all of these big names, most of them are in the postseason for the first time, and that can bring nerves. The Yankees have a lot of veterans on their team, and a few World Series champions, so that experience can and will help them in the postseason. But the key to winning this series is to split the first two games of the series, and to take advantage of playing playoff baseball in Yankee Stadium.
After defeating Toronto, the Yankees will then either face the Royals or (probably) the Texas Rangers, depending on who wins the other ALDS. Regardless, the Yankees will be on the road to start the series. The key again for the Yankees is to win early when they are away. They are a solid team on the road, posting a 42-36 record away from the Bronx. Alex Rodriguez, Brian McCann, and Carlos Beltran have to be those leaders who come up clutch and mentor the younger guys to teach them what postseason baseball is all about. Both the Royals and Rangers have been solid all year, and will be a tough test as the ALCS should for any team. If the Yankees can have timely hitting, as well as contributions from the younger guys, then they will have success and reach the fall classic.
The New York Yankees are built on a long history of success and winning. With a record 40 pennants and 27 World Series titles to date, to goal at the end of every season is to capture another ring. At the beginning of the year, the Yankees were written off and no one thought they would even make it to the postseason. But hey have proved a lot of people wrong, and can certainly surprise the baseball world by making it to the World Series. If their lineup can keep on contributing one through nine and they win early games on the road, there’s no doubt that they can make it back to the Fall Classic, and even take home championship number 28.