With the Mariners trailing the Oakland Athletics by seven games for the second Wild Card spot (and with the Yankees potentially dealing a knockout blow to the Mariners by Monday night), it appears that the Yankees will indeed (though it’s hardly a deduction worthy of praise) face off against the A’s in the Wild Card game.
The Yankees are behind the Red Sox by eight games, and their chances of gaining any ground in pursuit of the AL East crown have all but vanished.
The two clubs have not met in the playoffs since 2001, when the Yankees, just like last year against the Indians, rallied from a 2-0 series deficit in the ALDS to win the series.
The year prior, in 2000, the Yankees also defeated the A’s in five games, with the teams alternating wins every game.
Their preliminary postseason encounter occurred in the 1981 ALCS, and the Yankees swept the A’s in that series. Notice a pattern yet? Every time the Yankees have met the Oakland A’s in the playoffs, they have won the pennant. Naturally, there is no correlation with those playoff series and today, mostly because this game is a one-game, winner-take-all matter.
Don’t forget the aforementioned 1981 ALCS, either. That included Willie Randolph making a pennant-clinching catch, and there was also Reggie Jackson’s game-tying round-tripper in the same game.
These Yankees may be ill-equipped to be able to defeat the A’s in the Wild Card Game on October 3rd, though that remains to be seen.