The New York Yankees are back in the playoff picture with nine games left in the 2021 MLB regular season. The Bronx Bombers slid into the American League’s second wild-card spot Wednesday, swapping places with the Toronto Jays before their schedule gets much tougher.
New York scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning Wednesday to defeat the Texas Rangers 7-3. Toronto suffered a 7-1 loss at the hands of the first-place Tampa Bay Rays. The Boston Red Sox beat the New York Mets 12-5 to maintain a two-game lead for the AL’s first wild-card spot.
The Yankees are a half-game ahead of Toronto with a day off scheduled for Thursday. If the Blue Jays beat the Minnesota Twins Thursday, the AL East rivals will be tied for the final wild-card berth.
With only AL East opponents left on their schedule, the Yankees control their own destiny. New York starts a three-game series in Boston Friday night, followed by a crucial three-game set in Toronto. The Yankees end the season with a three-game series at home against the Rays.
Aside from their series with the Yankees, the Blue Jays will play seven games against two of the AL’s worst three teams in the Twins and Baltimore Orioles. Boston visits Baltimore and the Washington Nationals to close out the season.
The Seattle Mariners are fourth in the wild-card standings, trailing the Yankees by 2.5 games, The Oakland Athletics are a game behind Seattle and technically still alive in the playoff race.
In the National League, there isn’t even one contender within four games of the two wild-card teams. The Los Angeles Dodgers are 14.5 games ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals, who have built a 4.5-game edge over the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies for the NL’s second wild-card berth.
St. Louis extended its winning streak to 11 games Thursday, defeating the Milwaukee Brewers 10-2. The Cardinals have four games left against the Brewers and seven games with the Chicago Cubs.
The San Diego Padres have fallen out of the race, trailing St. Louis by six games.