We’re about to find out whether this was a cruel Yankees hoax

In retrospect, it’s arduous to consider that in the midst of the season, the Yankees had a lot extra explaining to do than the Mets did. Hal Steinbrenner known as a press convention to blame his gamers for placing their supervisor, Aaron Boone, and normal supervisor, Brian Cashman, in hurt’s method.

“I am aggravated, frustrated, angry,” the proprietor stated on July 1 of his group, then 41-39, although he selected not to act on these feelings. Cashman finally made his huge trade-deadline strikes, and the Yankees did simply sufficient profitable over time to find themselves tied with the Blue Jays for the second wild-card spot getting into their Wednesday evening sport with the Rangers in The Bronx.

All in all, the Yankees have performed a season finest described as maddening. They delivered a profitable streak that even the 1998 powerhouse couldn’t contact, the franchise’s longest streak in 60 years. And but they suffered sufficient inexplicable losses to sufficient unworthy opponents to go away their followers scared of lacking the playoffs.

So right here comes the excellent news. Starting Friday at Fenway Park, the Yankees will play their remaining 9 video games towards the beasts of the AL East — the Red Sox, the Blue Jays and the Rays. Those video games will lastly answer the questions which have hovered uneasily over the 2021 Yankees for the higher a part of six months:

Were they at all times respectable and opportunistic contenders, simply ready for end-of-season strain to propel them to a increased degree of feat?

Or had been they at all times counterfeit items?

The Yankees’ remaining video games will reveal if the they had been actual or pretend.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“This is who we’re up against, right?” Boone stated of the opponents on deck. “[We’re] fighting for the same thing. You should want it no other way, and we’re going to find out. I think when you’re fighting for a couple of spots between a few teams, the fact that you get to settle it mano a mano on the field, I think that’s the way it should be.”

No question. The Yankees don’t management their very own future, if solely as a result of the definition of the phrase strongly means that no one does. But what else could be higher for these Yankees than having Boston and Toronto proper in entrance of them over the following six video games, earlier than returning house to face a Tampa Bay group that may doubtless be in cool-down mode with the division title clinched?

The prospects had been thrilling sufficient for Gerrit Cole, Friday evening’s starter, to evaluate his Yankees to historical warriors who — not less than by the telling of 1 Cole buddy — toughened up by participating in warfare video games with essentially the most fearsome accessible enemies. “Sure we’ve lost some battles,” the ace stated, “but we still have the war ahead of us.”

Cole might need been higher off simply saying that strain is a privilege.

Either method, now that accidents and COVID-19 have compelled them to use a franchise-record 59 gamers, the Yankees have a lot of issues working of their favor. They have the Twin Towers, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, wholesome and swinging heavy lumber on the identical time. They have a wholesome $324 million pitcher to set the tone towards the Red Sox, regardless that Cole has surrendered eight earned runs over 10 innings in his two Fenway begins this year.

The Yankees even have a feel-good story in Luis Severino — again after a two-year battle with accidents — to create the type of emotional enhance a group typically wants on the finish of an countless common season.

“I hope so and I think so,” Boone stated when requested if Sevy’s return might have a optimistic affect on his group’s playoff push.

“To see how the team reacted to him [Wednesday] night, just even when he first came in, being up on the bench and the excitement that guys had, and the appreciation for knowing the road that he had been down to get to that point after missing so much time. And we’re talking about obviously a really good pitcher in this game. … Hopefully that is something that can be a little bit of an inspiring, or another level of pick-me-up at this time of year when you’re really grinding.”

In different phrases, the Yankees have all the things they want to qualify for the one-and-done wild-card shootout. It would require them to end third of their division quite than fourth, which actually shouldn’t be an excessive amount of to ask of them.

First, the Yankees had to eliminate the Rangers, a group with a Triple-A offense. It shouldn’t have been a drawback, however then once more, it’s baseball. Anything was attainable.

But win or lose towards Texas on Wednesday evening, all remaining questions about the 2021 Yankees could be answered over their remaining 9 video games, particularly this one:

Were they at all times the true deal, or simply a cruel six-month hoax?

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