The Yankees are eight games back of the Red Sox. The wild card is staring them in the face.
That could bring Doomsday.
There is one big Statcast difference this time around, however, in Giancarlo Stanton, whose fifth-inning exit velocity king of a home run Thursday night helped the Yankees to a 7-3 win over the rancid Rangers at Yankee Stadium.
It’s bad enough having the misfortune of being in the Red Sox’s division, the Yankees could face an old nemesis in a one-game playoff.
The A’s were four games back in the loss column behind the Astros in the AL West. If the Astros continue to slip and the A’s continue to over-perform, Oakland could win the division and set up another postseason showdown with the Astros.
It was the Astros who beat the Yankees in seven games last October to win the AL pennant. In that Game 7, they shut out the Yankees, 4-0.
In 2015 the Astros came to Yankee Stadium and shut out the Yankees 3-0 in the wild-card game.
The last two times the Yankees were facing an elimination game in October, the Astros shut them out. The World Series champions have the Yankees number, and that number is zero.
The Yankees could avoid Doomsday by winning the division, but the Red Sox sweep of the Yankees up in Fenway Park appears to have taken care of that. For the Yankees to win the AL East, the Red Sox would have to collapse, and there are just too many bad teams in baseball now for that to happen to the Red Sox.
They are too good to fall apart.
These Yankees, however, are different than those last two elimination Yankees in a big way. Stanton is here now and the big man is on a roll. His laser 449-foot home run to the bleachers in left was the hardest-hit home run in the Statcast era with an exit velo of 121.7 and a 17.4-degree launch angle.
Stanton hit his sixth career grand slam in the 7-3 win over the putrid White Sox Wednesday night. If Stanton hits a big home run, no matter the velo, in the postseason, that will be a difference-maker.
“It’s cool you can bring a buzz,’’ Stanton said of No. 28. “It’s cool when you get the numbers like that, but in general, if it goes over the fence, it goes over the fence.’’
Those are words of wisdom in this numbers-infatuated era.
If the ball goes over the fence in a one-game playoff or critical postseason game to win a game, “that’s ideal,’’ Stanton said. “This is practice for that. You can put some games like this together in postseason, good things are going to happen.’’
That is what this game is all about — not exit velo or launch angle.
Neil Walker blasted home runs from both sides of the plate Thursday night for the first time in his major league career as the Yankees crushed five home runs.
Walker told The Post that as Stanton’s ball was screaming out of the ballpark, “If you saw a still shot of the dugout when the ball was about halfway gone you would see a lot of jaws on the floor. He’s as strong a human that I’ve ever played with and it’s not a surprise that he is at the top of the Statcast list.’’
Walker knows what it means having a Stanton on the team for a wild- card game or short series in October.
“His M.O. is that he can change the game at the drop of a dime,’’ Walker explained. “We have a lot of guys like that. He’s quietly been really, really good.’’
Aaron Boone knows what Stanton can be in October.
“He’s a superstar player, that one swing of the bat as much or more than anyone in our sport changes the game,” the manager said. “When we are really whole as a lineup it is just another massive presence that you have to work through, and part of what we’re built on is the depth and length of our lineup. He’s one of those major challenges.’’
Stanton can keep Doomsday from happening again.
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