The Yankees emerged from this past weekend in Boston with a three-game sweep of the Red Sox, but another high-stakes road series awaits. New York (89-67) overtook the Red Sox (88-68) for the top AL Wild Card spot with a one-game lead entering Tuesday's three-game set against the Blue Jays at Toronto's Rogers Centre.
While the Yankees ride a six-game winning streak dating back to last week's sweep of the Texas Rangers, they ultimately have not accomplished anything with the Blue Jays (87-69) standing in their way.
"I think it's going to be another playoff atmosphere, kind of like these past three games here in Boston," said Aaron Judge. "They're a great young team, they took it to us back in New York and they're fighting just like us for a playoff spot. So it's going to be a fun atmosphere and some fun games in Toronto."
As Judge alluded to, the Blue Jays handed the Yankees a four-game sweep Sept. 6-9 at Yankee Stadium, amid a seven-game losing streak. The clock is ticking, and a pivotal series finale this coming weekend -- a three-game set with the AL East champion Tampa Bay Rays (97-59) -- also looms.
"We're aware of what's being said, but it's not about that," said Giancarlo Stanton. "We know that we've underperformed at times and played to our capabilities at times, so there's not much time left to have that rollercoaster. It's go time, and we've got to prove that."
After blowing a one-run lead late and then coming back in Sunday's 6-3 win over the Red Sox, the Yankees showed they have issues to fix but flashed their postseason ability by prevailing. Which version of the Yankees will show up against the Blue Jays?
"I love the frame of mind they're in, the fight they're in -- just the way they're competing," said Aaron Boone. "... And I think everyone in that room understands that we haven't done anything yet, but it's fun to be in the fight with them and to be competing the way that they are.
"We understand that every game takes on greater importance. We look forward to having an off day (Monday) and taking a breath and then getting right back after it against a great opponent on Tuesday, and we know we've got to move on to that game and that challenge -- and we look forward to it."