The New York Yankees clinched yet another playoff birth in their illustrious 100 plus year history. New York, led by rookie manager Aaron Boone and a core of young and up and coming stars, defeated the lowly Baltimore Orioles in extra innings by the score of 3-2 on a line drive double to left field by outfielder Aaron Hicks in the 11th inning.
The walk-off hit ignited the crowd as shortstop Didi Gregorius, who was on first base when Hicks connected on the pitch that was sent into the outfield corner, hustled all the way home with a head first slide.
It is the Yankees major-league leading 54th post season appearance (The Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers are second with 31). This is also the Yankees 7 wild card clinching since the introduction of the post season format to major league baseball in 1995.
Much to the chagrin of most fans of the Bronx Bombers, the Boston Red Sox won the American League east again and clinched it last week at Yankee Stadium. Despite this, the Yankees have the third best record in baseball behind Boston and the Houston Astros, who are in first place in the American League West.
In play for the Yankees is whether they can sew up home field advantage in the wild card game. Currently the Oakland Athletics trail the Yankees by 1 ½ as to who will host the one game winner-take-all playoff game.
The Yankees made the playoffs despite enduring injuries to several of their key players. Slugger Aaron Judge missed significant time with a broken wrist; shortstop Didi Grigorius went on the disabled list with an injured heel. Rookie of the year hopeful Gleyber Torres also missed significant time with various injuries. Several other Yankees missed time. Also, the Yankees had to deal with a underwhelming second half by their ace Louis Severino who looked like he was on pace to win the Cy Young award.
The Yankees had high hopes coming into the season and were expected to dominate the competition especially after the acquisition of super slugger Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins, it was expected that they would dominate baseball and in fact the Bronx Bombers were on a record setting pace to hit the most home runs in a single season by a club. The Yankees season had started off so well beginning with a 54-27 mark, which amounted to the best record in baseball, at the midway point through the season. Both Stanton and Aaron Judge were projected to hit 50 plus home runs each based on what both did last season. While both Stanton and Judge produced good numbers, they fell well short of their expected totals. Stanton currently has 35 home runs and Judge 26.
The wild card game, which is a one game winner-take-all to be held on October 3. The Yankees 95-win season is the most victories the franchise achieved since 2012.
Manager Aaron Boone, despite the poor second half, still believes because of the with return of many of his young players, that the Yankees still have a chance to make a mark this postseason.
“Everyone in that room understands that we feel just as capable as any other team that’s going to have the opportunity to do something special,” Boone remarked after the win against Baltimore.
Despite not living up to certain expectations, the Yankees did achieve another mark. In addition to the game winning RBI, Hicks, one of the core young players of this up and coming team, belted his 26th home run, a solo blast which makred the 250 round tripper of the season making them the sixth club in Major League Baseball history to hit 250 home runs.
While the season has marked many ups and downs for New York, the Yankees do really want to establish themselves again as an elite franchise much in the way they’ve done through their history with their sports record 27 World Series championships and their 40 American League