The Yankees punched their ticket to the American League Divisional Series last week when they clinched their first AL East title since 2019 and now await to see who that opponent will be.
The playoff field is set in the American League and all that is left now is who finishes where in the Wild Card race. The Tampa Bay Rays, Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays are all jockeying for position through the final days of the regular season.
The Cleveland Guardians have locked in their spot with home-field advantage in the Wild Card round. Going into Monday’s slate of games, the Blue Jays have a 2.5-game lead over the Mariners for the top Wild Card seed and the M’s hold 1.5 game lead over the Rays for the second Wild Card seed.
The Yankees won’t know who their ALDS opponent is until after the weekend, but the picture will be clearer once the Wild Card Seeding is sorted out. For instance, New York wouldn’t face Toronto until the American League Championship Series because the Jays couldn’t fall further than the second Wild Card spot.
That leaves the Guardians, Rays or Mariners as potential opponents in the divisional series still for the Yankees.
New York has had its fair share of success against the Guardians this season, going 5-1 this year against them with the only loss coming in the form of a 2-0 loss the day before July 4th. All six meetings came in the first half of the season when the Yankees had been plowing through opponents.
The Yanks have also had their fair share of success against the Guardians in the postseason defeating them in two games in the Wild Card Series in 2020 and in the American League Divisional Series in 2017. New York has won three of the five playoff series that they’ve faced Cleveland in.
The Rays have proven to be a challenge for the Bombers this season as they gained ground on New York late in the season as the Yankees slumped through the second half of the year. The Yankees did finish with an 11-8 record this year against them and beat them by a combined score of 20-7 in their last two games.
Still, Tampa Bay is a club that has shown they can stick it to New York when it needs to and had gotten the better of the Yankees in five of the seven meetings prior to the back-to-back wins for the Yanks when they put up 10 runs.
Seattle has not been a team that the Yankees have played well against this year, but it seems they would be the dark horse to land in a scenario to face New York in the ALDS. The Mariners have beaten the Yankees in four of their six meetings this year while also taking both series in the process.
For more New York Yankees news, turn to amNY.com
Any postseason matchup with the Mariners would also mark the first time it has occurred in more than two decades. The Bombers haven’t seen Seattle in the playoffs since they saw them in the 2001 ALCS, where they took the series i five games and defeated them in the championship series for the second consecutive year.
The Yankees have some things to sort out before the playoffs begin for them, but getting an idea of who they could have to face should give an idea of how they’ll gameplan for the ALDS.