The 2021 New York Yankees have been on a six-month roller-coaster ride that will crest its final hill on the last day of the season. Why? Because why else wouldn’t this season end with some self-inflicted pain?
The Bronx Bombers have spent the majority of the season falling short of offseason expectations. For a team that seemed to strengthen their rotation and solidify their defense, the Yankees have had no easy days during the 2021 season. And no one has more responsibility on their shoulders than manager Aaron Boone. Should the Yankees find themselves outside of the playoff picture, Boone’s tenure as skipper in the Bronx might be over.
And that’s just where the Yankees might find themselves should the final game of the season not fall their way. The final task to prove they are a playoff team? Defeating the Tampa Bay Rays in the final game of the season.
Easier Said Than Done
The Rays might be the perfect foils for the big-spending Yankees, perpetually coming out on top despite their lack of blockbuster deals. In the offseason, the Rays traded away former Cy Young-winning starter Blake Snell and still won the AL East. The Yankees acquired former AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, who takes the mound for as long as he can throw a fastball. That’s not to say there weren’t flashes of brilliance from Kluber, who threw a no-hitter this season. The Rays seem to use a crystal ball to see the future, while the Yankees rely on veterans trying to relive the past.
The Yankees made big waves at the deadline acquiring Joey Gallo from Texas and Anthony Rizzo from Chicago. While the Yankees brought in big names, the rest of the division made some modest moves, and here we remain: the Red Sox and Yanks deadlocked ahead of Game 162.
While the Yankees are facing off against a Rays team that’s trying to stay hot, the Red Sox are facing the Washington Nationals, who are limping towards the finish line. The Blue Jays are one game back and facing the basement-dwelling Baltimore Orioles. Should the Yankees get swept by the Rays, and the Blue Jays win over Baltimore, the Yankees would be left on the outside looking in. Another season of pinstriped potential down the drain.
It’s now do-or-die for the Yankees. It’s time to put some Steinbrenner money where their mouth is and play like a postseason team. The Red Sox, Mariners, and Blue Jays, who were projected to land below .500 this season, are nipping at their heels. The Yankees can erase a season that failed to live up to expectations; all they have to do is beat a playoff team and prove they belong in October.
Can they do that? Can the real New York Yankees please stand up? If not, it’ll be another long winter of wondering what could have been.
- / 1 year ago
To me, Rachel Nichols is the personification of posting a black square on Instagram.