The idea of the New York Yankees winning the American League Eastern division seemed like nothing more than a pipe dream on Aug. 18 as the Bronx Bombers sat 10.5 games behind the scorching-hot Boston Red Sox who had won 17 of their last 20 games.
While the Red Sox slew any poor franchise that came in its path, the Yankees were struggling to beat lesser opponents, dropping games to the likes of the New York Mets, Miami Marlins and the suddenly-streaking Tampa Bay Rays.
The inconsistent play relegated Yankees fans to the thought of the dreaded American League Wild Card Game, a one-game playoff that the team has had mixed success in. With the Oakland Athletics suddenly challenging the defending champion Houston Astros in the American League West, there is going to be an imposing opponent that will likely visit Yankee Stadium in October with a trip to the ALDS on the line.
It prompted apocalyptic talks among the Yankee faithful as fans and pundits alike didn’t hold back in slamming a team that 30 games over .500.
Bring those problems to Mets fans and watch how hard they laugh at you. Regardless, the Yankees were expected to at least make a serious bid in winning the AL East given the type of roster they have on paper.
The doom-and-gloom tune has suddenly changed though over the past nine days as the Yankees have hit their stride while the Red Sox, rather expectedly, have hit a bit of a speed bump.
Taking advantage of one of the easiest schedules in baseball, the Yankees have reeled off eight wins in their last nine games, including a four-game sweep of the MLB-worst Baltimore Orioles. There was also a pair of other simple series against the Marlins an Toronto Blue Jays, two teams that are at least 10 games under .500
Up in Beantown, the Red Sox have lost six of their last eight, though their schedule was much more difficult with series’ against the Cleveland Indians and those red-hot Rays, who were on an eight-game winning streak entering Monday night.
Suddenly that seemingly-insurmountable 10.5-game deficit in the division is down to six for the Yankees entering Monday night and they are poised to keep the pressure on based on their schedule.
Only four teams in Major League Baseball have an easier schedule than the Yankees for the remainder of the 2018 season. By comparison, the Red Sox have the ninth-toughest remaining schedule in the league.
Add the fact that these two teams face off six more times before the season ends and the Yankees have a golden opportunity to legitimately take the AL East.
We could be looking at 1978 all over again when the Red Sox blew a 14-game July lead to lose a one-game playoff that made Bucky Dent a villain in Boston.
Here is how both teams’ schedules look for the remainder of the season: