For The Best

Winning the division would have been nice, but winning it by playing a tiebreaker would not have been great.

If the Yankees and Red Sox had ended up tied after tomorrow, there would have been a playoff game Monday in New York to determine the winner of the AL East. That would have thrown a real wrench into the Yankees’ rotation for the ALDS. Start with the playoff game Monday, which Severino would have started. If the Yankees had lost, they would have had to pitch Gray on Tuesday in the wild-card game. That would mean your Game 1 and Game 2 ALDS starters, if the Yankees won the wild-card game, would have been Tanaka and Sabathia. And you would have had the Yankees playing high-stakes games straight through the weekend and on into the playoffs, which would have stressed the bullpen.

Instead, the Red Sox finally took care of business and now we know the road ahead. A game against Minnesota Tuesday with Severino taking the ball. Win that and a trip to Cleveland for Game 1 on Thursday with Gray taking the ball. Win that series and a trip to either Houston or Boston for a trip to the World Series. It will not be easy, but the Yankees look good. Judge is destroying baseball again and that bullpen will be nasty. I think this team is better built for October than for April through September.

The only remaining question is how the postseason roster shakes out. Because the wild card game is considered a single event, the Yankees can set a roster just for that and change it for the ALDS. That means you really only need a starter and a backup long guy. The Yankees will probably carry nine pitchers, which leaves you with 16 hitters, or four more than usual. We know the first 13- Sanchez, Romine, Bird, Castro, Didi, Todd Frazier, Headley, Torreyes, Gardner, Ellsbury, Hicks, Judge, Holliday. I bet Wade gets a spot as a pinch-runner since he has speed. They won’t pinch-run for any of the outfielders, so perhaps they take Tyler Austin as a multi-positional backup? Or maybe a 3rd catcher? Time will tell. For now we get the shakedown game tomorrow and then the real fun begins.