With season on line, ‘confident’ Yankees blast way back into playoff picture

Yankees Red Sox Blue Jays
Sep 26, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) and his teammates celebrate after defeating the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Just when some doubt began creeping in on the Yankees’ season, they find a different gear to make October baseball all the more tangible.

Another wild night at Fenway Park on Sunday saw the Yankees complete a sweep of the Boston Red Sox, moving them into second place in the AL East and, more importantly, the top American League Wild Card spot by a game.

“Just awesome games to be a part of. Especially to come out on the winning side,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “To see our guys competing, to see them playing the way that they are, and to also survive a couple mistakes. That’s one of the messages especially this time of year.

“You can’t get bogged down by a mistake that’s inevitably going to happen… you just have to keep on competing and move on to the next play. Those guys are in that mode right now and they don’t want to be denied.”

The Yankees have now won six straight after going 7-15 in their previous 22 games — canceling out a scorching 13-game winning streak from August — which saw them drop out of the American League playoff picture altogether. 

“I think we have a really good team and we hit a rough patch after a real hot streak,” Boone said. “Over the last two-plus months or so, I think the body of work has been strong. Maybe it was inevitable that we hit a rough patch like we did, but I don’t think these guys ever lost any confidence or belief that we were going to get it rolling.

“They just continued to grind, continued to work, continued to fight. All along, they’ve been really confident.”

The stage is only going to get larger with six games remaining — and they aren’t easy ones, either. 

New York travels to Toronto to meet the Blue Jays who are just two games behind them in the Wild Card race — although they have cooled down significantly by losing four of their last seven after going 15-3 to start the month of September.

“I love the frame of mind they’re in, the fight they’re in. Just the way they’re competing,” Boone said. “Everyone in that room understands that we haven’t done anything yet, but it’s fun to be in the fight with them, to be competing the way that they are. Every game takes on greater importance.

We look forward to having an off day [Monday] and taking a breath and getting right back after it against a great opponent on Tuesday. We know we have to move on to that game and that challenge.”


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