Opinion: Yankees don’t need to think, they just need to win

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays
Sep 7, 2020; Buffalo, New York, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Luke Voit (59) slides safe into home plate as Toronto Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen (9) looks to make the tag but loses the ball during the fifth inning at Sahlen Field. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Not many anticipated the Yankees to be one game over .500 while clinging to the American League’s last wild card spot in mid-September.

Many of the recent, shocking Yankee losses have come from circumstances that have had many questioning: “How on Earth is a collapse like this even possible?”

The team’s uncharacteristic last few weeks even garnered the attention of Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who made a road trip to Buffalo for the Blue Jays series to “keep his eyes on what’s going on,” according to manager Aaron Boone.

Boone also spoke on an “ability to move forward,” which will ultimately decide the fate of the 2020 Yankees this month.

However, now is not the time for disparity directed at the Yankee’s slew of injuries, bullpen overuse, frustrating play, or towards the many points on a laundry list of grievances – it is time to move forward by winning key games and locking up a playoff spot in the process.

A blessing and a curse for the Yankees’ current skid is that their next nine games are against the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles, the two teams vying for the AL East’s second playoff spot as the Tampa Bay Rays appear to have a hold on first in the division.

It’s time for the Yankees, who were 21-20 entering Tuesday night, to check frustration at the door and win some ballgames to save the season, starting with tying the 23-18 Blue Jays for that second AL East slot.

Should that go to plan, then up next is a four-game battle with the Birds in the Bronx, which could give the Yankees a much-needed gap (and redemption) for that final wild-card spot, one which Baltimore is currently two games beneath the Yankees.

Then comes a rematch against Toronto, one that would likely determine which squad gets the E-2 playoff position. If the Bombers make things interesting, and if the ball club’s fabled history is any indicator, they will.

If not, then the Yankees get another crack at the Blue Jays with a four game series finale starting on Monday, September 21.

While the recent collapse has caused the hearts of many fans plunge into their lower intestines, the reality is that the Yankees have nine more chances to overtake Toronto in the regular season. 

Obviously a sense of urgency is imperative for salvation of this Yankees season and it’s time for the team to treat each of its remaining series as if they are all playoff rounds.

By executing in that mindset, it isn’t absurd to believe the Yankees could escape from this mess as early as next week should the team returns to its winning ways that so dominated the MLB some short weeks ago.

As if 2020 wasn’t enough of a hair-raiser, now fans are treated to seeing the Yankees dig out a hole in some good old-fashioned hunt-for-October baseball in two series that will determine if there will be playoff baseball in the Bronx.

So now is when to be amped and eager rather than feeling down and out — the Yankees don’t have time to think or react, only time to win.