For the first time since 2016, the Yankees are currently on the outside looking in at the postseason race in mid-September.
After winning 13-straight, they then went on to lose 12 of their next 15. That skid looked like it would continue on Monday, as they trailed the Minnesota Twins – of all teams – 5-0 early.
But a game-tying, three-run home run by Aaron Judge in the eighth, and a Gary Sanchez walk-off single in the 10th, saved the Yankees from, arguably, rock bottom of the season.
It was the first time all year they had won after trailing by at least four runs (they were 0-35 before that), and they now trail the second Wild Card spot by just half a game with an easy schedule ahead.
“[My confidence] hasn’t changed. I’m confident in this group,” said manager Aaron Boone. “I know what we’re capable of at our best. We’ve been a little bit of everything this year, so it’s gonna take our best, but if we do that, we’ve got a chance, and hopefully we continue to get maybe some guys into the fold more and more as we go, Gerrit [Cole] going for us tomorrow, but nothing will surprise me that this group does.”
Joey Gallo has struggled since joining the Yankees, but he found the seats on Monday, and his defense certainly has been jaw-dropping, despite his slump at the plate.
But the other 27 guys are going to propel them to October, he says.
“I think we’ve been playing good baseball, it’s just some tough losses lately. That happens. It was really good to see the fight that we had today. We could’ve easily just let that game go and said ‘whatever, we’re down 5-0.’ But we kept grinding and kept competing and having good at-bats and ended up winning.
“We’re excited. We’re excited we’re in this race. Everybody just wants to win at the end of the day. That’s really it. It’s just about winning. 18 games left, we’re down the homestretch, so we’re gonna give it everything we’ve got.”
Simply put, the season has been a rollercoaster. The entire season has been streaks where they look unbeatable, immediately followed by horrible baseball.
“But you gotta enjoy the ride,” Judge said after Monday’s game. “When you’re on a rollercoaster, you gotta enjoy it. It’s not over yet. I’m excited, down in the stretch, this is the fun part of the year, this is a fun time of the year, just keep riding it and ride it through the playoffs.”
“Coming from behind, down five runs,” he added, “kind of build off that, great outing from our bullpen, [Luis] Gil settled in, lot of great at-bats down there in the stretch in crunch time when we needed it, and let’s keep that rolling into Baltimore.”