The New York Yankees are likely to finish the 2021 season with a losing record against their AL East foes. They’re 33-37 in such matchups after their sweep of the Boston Red Sox, but they’ve already clinched losing records against the Sox and Toronto Blue Jays. They’ll need to sweep the Tampa Bay Rays (which won’t happen) to go 10-9 in their 19 contests.
But that’s not even the one that matters most. Now, with less than a week left in the season, the Yanks are battling with the Sox and Jays for pole position in the AL Wild Card race, with the Rays laughing atop the American League.
A playoff spot is far from a lock for the Bombers, who hold a two-game advantage over Boston and a three-game advantage over Toronto with five games to go … and the Seattle Mariners are still right there too!
That leaves very viable scenarios for a three-way tie, especially among New York, Boston and Toronto. Fancy a nightmare situation, Yankees fans?
Going back to what we were saying earlier … it sure is important to win your division games in the event your 162-game season comes down to the unlikeliest of scenarios! But here we are with five games to go! Thankfully the Yanks have some cushion after Tuesday night’s win, but this season is far from over.
If the Yanks, Sox and Jays are all tied in the Wild Card picture when the season ends on Sunday, it’s really bad news for the Bombers because of their losing records against their rivals.
Let’s take a look at how the Yankees would fare in a three-way AL Wild Card tie.
We’re not even going to get into a five-way tie. There’s no capacity for that stress after what the Yankees put their fans through this year.
Anyway, assuming those three AL East teams finish with the same record, here’s what will be determined, per Major League Baseball:
"“If Club 1 has a better record against Clubs 2 and 3, and Club 2 has a better record against Club 3, then Club 1 chooses its designation, followed by Club 2.”"
In case you’re not following, the Yankees would be Club 3 since the Red Sox have a better record than them and the Jays, while Toronto has a better record than New York. The Yankees, therefore, would end up with the worst designation. The Red Sox will get first dibs to choose their designation, which we’ll explain next, followed by the Jays and Yanks.
Again, per MLB:
"“After Clubs have been assigned their A, B and C designations, Club A would host Club B. The winner of the game would be declared one Wild Card winner. Club C would then host the loser of the game between Club A and Club B to determine the second Wild Card Club.”"
You can bet the Red Sox will be choosing themselves as “Club A” so they have two chances to keep their season alive and get the first crack at home. It doesn’t really matter what the Blue Jays choose because then the Yankees would be stuck either being the road team in two one-game playoffs (Club B) or the home team in a single one-game playoff (Club C) just to get to the actual AL Wild Card Game.
Just a reminder, these matchups would be against teams that have largely gotten the best of the Yankees this year, even though we’re encouraged with the way the Bombers shut the door on the Red Sox in their final matchups.
All we ask is that it doesn’t come to this. Please.