The New York Yankees have a chance to pull within 1.5 games of the Toronto Blue Jays for first place in the American League East when they meet at Rogers Center on Wednesday night. After they finish their season series with the Blue Jays, the Yankees will try to win the division by beating up on three teams that have nothing to play for.
The Yankees are still in the hunt for the AL East title and home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs, but they could be headed towards winning a wild-card berth. They have a four-game lead over the Houston Astros as the No.1 wild-card team, and the Blue Jays will be difficult to catch, considering they have been MLB’s hottest team since the trade deadline.
Since the Yankees could be out of the playoffs with just one loss as a wild-card team, they are still pushing hard to win the division. Below is a look at their schedule to finish out the 2015 regular season.
Chicago White Sox (Sept. 24-Sept. 27)
The Yankees have only played the White Sox (72-79) in one series this year, taking two out of three in Chicago on the first weekend of August. New York averaged nine runs per game, and they might have to score a lot again in their upcoming series at Yankee Stadium, since they won’t have their No.1 pitcher on the mound.
Every starter in the Yankees’ rotation will take the hill, except for Masahiro Tanaka. Fortunately for New York, they’ll miss Jose Quintana, who has probably been Chicago’s best starting pitcher this season.
The White Sox are among the worst offensive teams in the AL, ranking dead last with a .691 OPS and second-to-last in runs scored. But the team’s top hitters have all improved in the second half of the season. Adam Eaton is hitting .329 since the All-Star Break, while Melky Cabrera has hit .29 points better in the second half. Jose Abreu has 15 home runs in a little more than two months.
Boston Red Sox (Sep. 28-Oct. 1)
The Red Sox (72-78) have been one of MLB’s most disappointing teams, and they could be headed towards a last-place finish for the third time in four seasons. The final chapter of this year’s rivalry between the Red Sox and Yankees might not mean much to Boston, but they have done a good job of playing spoiler.
Boston recently took two out of three games against Toronto, and they have played pretty well for the majority of the season. The Red Sox have gone 44-39 since mid-June, but their playoff hopes were dashed by a 28-39 start.
The Yankees have dominated the Red Sox in 2015, winning 10 out of 15 games, including nine of their last 12 meetings. Boston is four games over .500 at Fenway Park this season, but they could have trouble in the Bronx, considering they’ve gone 32-42 on the road.
Baltimore Orioles (Oct.2-Oct.4)
The Yankees will close the season with a series at Camden Yards that could mean nothing if the Blue Jays keep winning. Even though Baltimore (74-76) has been mediocre for much of the season, they won’t be a pushover.
Baltimore was knocked out of the postseason race in late August when they suffered 12 losses in 13 games. But the Orioles have played well in recent weeks, going 8-4, including two victories against the Yankees. The Orioles are 42-29 at Camden Yards, giving them a better home record than the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. The two teams have played each other close in 2015 with New York holding a 9-7 edge.
The Yankees have their three best starters lined up for the final series, with Luis Severino, Tanaka and Michael Pineda closing out the season. If Toronto has already clinched the division by Oct. 3, the Yankees will likely sit Tanaka and save him for the wild-card game.