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Yankees Clinch Playoff Spot Behind Josh Donaldson’s Walk-Off Single vs. Red Sox

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THE BRAND NEW York Yankees have clinched a playoff spot for the sixth straight season following a 5-4 extra-innings make an impression on the Boston Red Sox Thursday night in the Bronx.

On another night that Aaron Judge was just waiting to crush his 61st home run of the growing season, it had been Josh Donaldson who was simply the hero, driving in the game-winning run in underneath of the 10th inning at Yankee Stadium to greatly help NY punch its ticket to the postseason.

NY Yankees @Yankees

Bringer of Rain. Ender of Games. pic.twitter.com/lslDVchqwo

Bryan Hoch @BryanHoch

Aaron Boone on the #Yankees clinching a playoff spot: You won’t ever want to go on it for granted. Were in the dance and weve got the opportunity.

On July 8, the Yankees held a 61-23 record, that was the very best win-loss mark in baseball by six-and-a-half games on the 54-29 LA Dodgers.

NY had six All-Stars led by presumptive AL MVP Aaron Judge, who has posted 60 home runs and 128 RBI in a contract year. His prodigious power and clutch hitting guided the Yankees to its greatest first half since 1998. Giancarlo Stanton complemented Judge’s power with 24 home runs in his first 80 games.

Clay Holmes progressed into a breakout star in the closer role (0.28 ERA through June 18), and Jose Trevino became an extremely welcome surprise and addition at catcher. Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortes also formed a good one-two punch atop the rotation, with the latter player sporting the starters’ best ERA (2.67).

The Yanks also caught lightning in a bottle with the addition of a former St. Louis Cardinals star (and ex-Texas Rangers minor leaguer) through the midseason in Matt Carpenter, who has been playing the very best ball of his career in the Bronx (15 HR, 37 RBI, 1.138 OPS).

It looked as if the Yanks would cruise to the very best record in baseball at the midway point of the growing season, and threatening the MLB regular-season record of 116 wins (1908 Chicago Cubs, 2001 Seattle Mariners) remained a chance.

But NY has largely been disastrous since its 61-23 start, going 21-24 throughout a run that included a 9-20 stretch you start with an 8-6 home loss to the Seattle Mariners on Aug. 2.

The offense largely went silent through the slump, including a seven-game stretch where in fact the Yankees scored just nine runs. That also included a 1-0 loss to Seattle in 13 innings.

Injuries have hindered the team’s performance at the plate (Stanton, Carpenter) and on the mound (Luis Severino, Michael King, Chad Green). Numerous hitters (e.g. Josh Donaldson, Aaron Hicks) have struggled for a lot of the growing season, and exactly the same applies to the pitching staff lately (e.g. Jameson Taillon, Holmes).

Trade-deadline additions in starting pitcher Frankie Montas and outfielder Andrew Benintendi also have struggled out from the gate.

All those reasons have contributed to a late-summer swoon in the Bronx, however the Yanks have to be able to make things right in October after clinching the playoff berth.

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