Yankees: Here’s how NYY could still get stuck playing Tampa Bay in Wild Card Round

The Yankees could still dip all the way to the No. 8 seed if they don’t take care of business against the Marlins this weekend.

All the Yankees had to do was win two games out of the four they were set to play this week in Buffalo to lock up second place in the division. Win two, lose two. Gerrit Cole and Masahiro Tanaka on the mound. Eminently doable.

Well, as you know, since Buffalo was involved, that didn’t happen. They won the Cole game 12-1 to momentarily quell worries before losing the final two 14-1 and 4-1. Gary Sanchez hit a grand slam-ish ball to the wall with an expected batting average of .880; it was caught.

And now, the Yankees have a fairly realistic shot, all things considered, of dipping to the No. 8 seed in the first round of the playoffs and heading to Tampa to face a team they’re 2-8 against in a best-of-three. A team that won’t stop trolling them with threats of violence. Are we having fun yet?!

You can, unfortunately, all but kiss home field advantage goodbye at this point, but that should be the least of your worries.

How can we get a nightmare first-round trip to the dreaded Tropicana Field? It’s quite simple, actually.

If the Yankees win two games against the Miami Marlins at home this weekend, in a series that the Marlins certainly need for positioning and playoff clinching in the NL, that would ensure second place. But if they win fewer than the required pair, and Toronto wins at least two of three against the Baltimore Orioles at Sahlen Field (who wants to bet on the O’s even taking one of those?), the Jays move up to the five hole, and the Yanks pack their bags for a nightmare voyage.

The Cleveland Indians, current “Wild Card” participants in the seven seed, are outflanking the Yankees for sure right now, and would maintain their seed if the Yanks crater this weekend.

If you’re going to play the swaggering Rays, you at least want to do it in the ALDS bubble. Tropicana Field? With that roof and glare and disrepair? You don’t want any of that smoke right about now.

And it could certainly happen. A win tonight would’ve salted the whole thing away. Nope. No fun at all.

Maybe this was all just a long con to make sure the team had to play a series that mattered before October began?