Friday, September 13, 2013
First Pitch: Playoff push hits Fenway
By Andrew Marchand
The wild card is still right in front of the Yankees. All they need to do is win two of three this weekend in Boston and they may have the clearest path to the postseason of any of the teams vying for the second wild card.
If they get really hot, they might even overtake the Rangers atop the wild-card standings. They are just three back of the struggling Rangers, while they remain one game behind the Rays for the second spot.
But they must take care of business in Boston first, which means winning at least one, if not more. After that, their talent, experience and easy schedule might make them a favorite with slightly more than two weeks to go.
So let's look at the schedule and project the finish:
at Twins (3)
at Yankees (3)
at Blue Jays (3)
Schedule Takeaway: The Rays must get fat on the Twins and then just need to win series against the Rangers and the Orioles to set up a showdown in the Bronx in what will be Mariano Rivera's final home series from Sept. 24 to 26.
at Tigers (3)
at Mariners (3)
at White Sox (4)
Schedule Takeaway: I don't see it happening. The Royals' schedule is too tough, but maybe this is their year.
Final Forecast: 10-6
Predicted Finish: 87-75
So, you add it all up, we are projecting a three-way tie for the second wild card between the Yankees, Rays and Indians. That would cause all kinds of fun with two of the teams playing the Monday (Sept. 30) after the regular season ends for the right to face the third team on Tuesday. The winner of that game would then travel to Arlington, Texas, to face the Rangers on Wednesday for a chance to qualify for the actual tournament.