Bottom of lineup, bullpen help Yankees beat Rangers, retake lead over Blue Jays in wild card race


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USATSI

The New York Yankees toppled the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night by a 7-3 final (box score), completing a three-game sweep and better positioning themselves for the season’s final week-plus. 

Yankees starter Corey Kluber lasted just 4 ⅓ innings, yielding three runs on eight hits. New York’s bullpen — namely Wandy Peralta, Clay Holmes, Chad Green, and Aroldis Chapman — then shut down the Rangers for the remainder of the game, permitting them no hits or walks over the remaining 4 ⅔ innings. 

Offensively, the Yankees were paced by the bottom of the order. Second baseman Gleyber Torres, shortstop Gio Urshela, catcher Kyle Higashioka, and pinch-hitter Gary Sánchez combined for six hits and five runs batted in. 

The Yankees entered Wednesday a half game back of the Toronto Blue Jays for the American League’s second wild card spot. Additionally, the Yankees were two games behind the Boston Red Sox for the top wild card spot. The Blue Jays lost on Wednesday, meaning the Yankees are now a half game up on them. (The Red Sox blew out the New York Mets, resulting in no change on that front.)

The Yankees’ exact positioning with regards to the Blue Jays and Red Sox matters for more than the obvious reasons: New York has nine games remaining on its schedule, and six of them will take place on the road against Boston and Toronto. The Yankees will then finish the season against the Tampa Bay Rays, giving them no easy victories the rest of the way. Conversely, the Red Sox will play the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals, while the Blue Jays attend to business versus the Minnesota Twins and Orioles.

It stands to reason that the Yankees will need to take advantage of their head-to-head matchups against the Blue Jays and the Red Sox in order to reach the postseason. Shy of that, the Yankees will have to hope for an unlikely amount of help from non-competitive teams. 





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