Somehow, someway, the Yankees have made it to the last series of the regular season (barely) intact.
We have all had those days asking ourselves, “How in the world did we get here?” We’ve all said the words, “If someone said this is how the season would go before it ever started…” It’s been that kind of year. One big ol’ head-scratcher, one confusing, anxiety-inducing, “what just happened?” kind of year.
It’s been … weird. And there are still three games left. Part of me wants to bubble wrap them up and not let them play an inning of meaningless baseball. The other part of me says there is no such thing as meaningless baseball. And I’m going with the latter part.
Meaningless, shmeaningless. These games are important, and I want to see the Yankees act like it. We are all rushing to get to the postseason, but if the Yankees are going to play in the postseason the way they’ve looked this past week, then I’m happy to not rush things at all.
I think it’s safe to say most of us are eager to end this dangerous regular season and move on to the bright lights of the playoffs. I also think it’s safe to say the Yankees are more eager than we are. It’d be so easy to look past these three games in Texas and think, “Let’s get this party started.” However, I think this Yankee team needs some party prep, and these three games are a way to do just that.
Home-field advantage shouldn’t be the goal anymore. Sadly, this feat may be lost, but that doesn’t mean the Yankees can’t go out and show us a little something this weekend to end their season strong. Since clinching the A.L. East, they’ve won two of their last five games. Yes, it’s a small sample size, but watching this team play in Tampa was difficult. Guys are slumping, tired, and as usual, scaring us with “that was close” injuries. Of course, we want home field, but most importantly, we want guys strong and healthy and swinging the bats well.
I don’t necessarily believe how you enter the postseason determines how you’ll play in the postseason, but I do believe it’s better to go in with a few good games under your belt to feel confident and ready. They will have four days off after their last regular-season game, and we want those four days to be days during which they can build on the confidence of their final at-bats, not worry why they are still slumping and sluggish.
The point is, we want to see this team firing on all cylinders, and at the moment, they are not. Perhaps they are just taking it easy, purposely being lax so they can stay fresh and healthy for next Friday when they’ll break out the bats and act as if this end-of-season malaise never happened. That’s what we hope, at least, but that’s always a slippery slope. No team wants to end the season on a bad note, even if the team isn’t going anywhere. Players compete, regardless of the importance.
Whatever the reason for their current sleepwalking, my hope is the Texas heat wakes them up. My hope is Sanchez and Encarnacion coming back sparks them. There are three games left of this ridiculous 2019 regular season. It’s not over yet, and I expect them to go into Texas and take care of business. Let’s not rush to the playoffs. Let’s end this season the right way.
I’m looking to see a clean sweep in Texas, to go out with a bang, and head into the postseason looking like the best team in baseball.
Because that’s what they are: the best team in baseball. Regardless of Houston’s record.
P.S. Enjoy that afternoon, non-prime-time slot next weekend, Houston. Well earned!