The New York Yankees have been on a tear recently winning seven games in a row and making up nine games to overtake their arch rival Boston Red Sox. The vibe of the team went from “let’s tear it down” to “Chase for 28” again. There are many reasons for the Yankees’ surge including the additions of Gallo and Rizzo. Also responsible is the improved bullpen, the emergence of Luis Gil and Jameson Taillon’s second half turnaround.

Winning 11 of their last 12 series is what the Bombers needed to do in order to get back into playoff positioning and now have put themselves into a position to win the division. They sit five games back of the Rays with 40 games to play including three at home vs the Rays to close the season. A much larger test is looming, however.

After the Yankees finish up their series with the Minnesota Twins, they head out for a nine game road trip. The Braves, Athletics and Angels are all featured in the late August swing. All three of these series’ remain important for different reasons. For the Braves series, they sit atop the NL East and are just as hot as the Yankees. The Braves have won six games in a row which has catapulted them to a four game lead in the division.

In Oakland, it has been the Yankees’ house of horrors. Since the start of the 2017 season, the Yankees are just 1-9 at the Coliseum. That four game series begins next Thursday and ends with Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN. The A’s are also the second wild card team at the moment and the Yankees need to continue to prove that they are playoff ready.

Finally in Anaheim, the Bombers go head-to-head with Shohei Ohtani once again. The Angels took two of three from the Yankees at the stadium in July including a devastating loss in the middle of the night in extra innings. Going on the road out west has not been the Yankees strong suit over the past half decade so once again, it is proof that the Yankees are to stay if they are able to manage a 6-3 road trip.

A 6-3 road trip keeps them in front of Boston and likely boots Oakland out of the second wild card spot. The Rays schedule is not tough by any means over that stretch other than hosting the White Sox this weekend. They will have to go on the road to play the Phillies and the Orioles before coming home to play the Red Sox. Should the Rays faltar at some point, September could be looking pretty sweet for the Yankees.

PHOTO: Robert Sabo

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