How Safe Is the Yankees’ 4½-Game Lead in the AL East?

How Safe Is the Yankees’ 4½-Game Lead in the AL East?
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

Another divisional pennant race is on watch for NY sportsbooks, making for an interesting weekend ahead.

The New York Yankees (81-54, .600) continue the most important week of the season Wednesday in the midst of a six-game homestand with a single-admission doubleheader with the Minnesota Twins (first game started at 3:05 p.m.).

After a rainout Tuesday, New York will play six games in five days, highlighted by a crucial three-game weekend series against the Tampa Bay Rays (76-58, .567), who currently sit 4½ games back in the American League East race.

Meanwhile, the Toronto Blue Jays (75-60, .556) are six games out in third place with the surprising Baltimore Orioles (72-64, .529) 9½ games back in fourth.

The Boston Red Sox are finishing off a disappointing season and are in last place, 15 games back.

With 27 regular season games remaining on the schedule, New York will play 14 at home, which also includes its final three-game weekend series against the Orioles (Sept. 30-Oct. 2).

The Yankees will visit the Blue Jays for a three-game set Sept. 26-28. wanted to assess the probability of the Yankees holding tight and winning the AL East. As you will see, history is on the Yankees’ side in a big way. But it certainly isn’t a given.

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Here Come the Rays

Entering Wednesday night’s home contest against the Red Sox, Tampa Bay has 28 regular season games remaining with only 11 at home. After the three-game set at New York, the Rays still have to play nine games against the Blue Jays. The Rays head to Tornoto for a five-game series (Sept. 12-15), which includes a doubleheader.

The Yankees remain a solid favorite in NY MLB betting.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the FanDuel NY odds on the Yankees had dropped from the morning. The Yankees are still the favorite to win the AL East at -850 (down from -900), followed by the Rays (+1000, up from +1100) and the Blue Jays (+1500).

To win the American League, New York is listed at +210, second behind the Houston Astros (+155), with the Blue Jays (+650) leaping over the Rays (+1100).

Odds for the World Series on FanDuel have the Yankees as the fourth choice at +500, with Toronto at +1800 and Tampa Bay at +3100.

Meanwhile, NY BetRivers has the Yankees (+200) trailing the Astros (+145) to win the AL. The Yankees are third in the World Series, at +550, which trails the Los Angeles Dodgers (+315) and Astros (+385) but is better than the New York Mets (+575).


What Our Research Shows About Yankees’ Situation used to see if teams that had at least a 4½-game lead on Sept. 7 held on to win the division.

Over the last 15 years, that is almost always true, but here are three times that was not the case.

  • 2012: Oakland Athletics, 4½ games back, came back to win by 1 game over the Texas Rangers.
  • 2009: Minnesota Twins, 6½ games back, rallied to win division by 1 game over the Detroit Tigers.
  • 2007: This one stung for New Yorkers. The Philadelphia Phillies, 6 back, roared back to win the NL East by 1 game over the Mets.

None of those teams went on to win the World Series or make the American League or National League Championship Series.

And, of course, such a collapse isn’t as drastic as it was years ago, because teams that lose a close division race often win a wild-card spot.

The Yankees want no part of a consolation prize.



Lou Monaco has been a columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas and has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

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