There isn’t a lot left to write about this week’s four-game set in Replica Yankee Stadium. The more I read though, the more I wonder if we are really going to get one of the seminal regular-season moments in Rays history.
Every Yankee near a microphone has been saying they don’t care about the East and are packing it in for until the playoffs. Either Cashman, Girardi, and the others really are taking the long view with their aging roster or they are simply creating pre-emptive excuses they can turn back to if there is a bad result.
If the series isn’t for AL East supremacy, it is still huge because it should decide homefield advantage in the playoffs, right? Maybe not. While Rays fans have spent a month obsessing over every out in every Rays, Yankees, and Red Sox game, the Twins have just been quietly winning every night. They are 43-16 since the All- Star break and, at 89-60, are just a game back of the Rays in the loss column. So, the Rays could conceivably win this deciding series in New York and still have to play at least one playoff series without homefield advantage.
Take away the division crown, which the Yankees apparently don’t care about, and homefield advantage, which the Twins may steal, and this week feels like four more games for the Rays to figure which 25 men to take with them to October.
Does that transform the series from the first round of the playoffs to the American League Hype Series?