The New York Yankees’ playoff hopes rest on a strong end to the 2021 season.
The Yankees entered Monday 1.5 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the final American League wild-card spot and nine games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the American League East division. New York starts a three-game series with the Texas Rangers at home.
The Yankees dropped 2-of-3 against the Cleveland Indians over the weekend, getting outscored 22-12 and ending with Gerrit Cole getting shelled for seven runs and then booed off the mound. Yankees manager Aaron Boone laid out the challenge ahead of them and noted time is of the essence.
Baltimore Orioles’ Austin Hays shouts toward his dugout as he runs after hitting a two-run home run off New York Yankees relief pitcher Chad Green during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
“We’ve got to get better in a hurry, period,” he said, via MLB.com. “That wasn’t good enough today. The important thing to remember is that we’re not far off from where we were a couple of weeks ago when we were running them off, but we’ve got to do better than this. That’s an awful couple of days out there.”
New York Yankees’ Gary Sanchez misses a pop fly by Cleveland Indians’ Oscar Mercado in the fifth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in New York. ((AP Photo/John Minchillo))
New York started September on a four-game losing streak. The team was eight games behind the Rays for first place in the East but managed to maintain a hold on the first wild-card slot, ahead of the Boston Red Sox. The team won the first two games of the month but went on a seven-game losing streak.
The Yankees are 7-11 in September after going 21-8 in August.
There’s no time to falter now.
New York Yankees starting pitcher Nestor Cortes Jr., second from left, looks on from the mound moments before being pulled from the game against the Baltimore Orioles during the seventh inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
New York has Boston, Toronto and Tampa Bay left on the schedule.
The team has not missed out on the postseason since 2016 and the playoffs have only been without the Yankees four times since 1994.