The Pirates and the Yankees haven’t had this much in common since 1960.
Here they are staring into September, and the view from the Bronx is very much like the view from Pittsburgh: Both teams are in second place in their divisions and both teams are clinging to a Wild Card spot.
This week’s games – like all the games that follow them (and all the ones that came before) – matter. It’s a long season. But the narratives that surround those games change with the standings.
Normally, the matchup between the Yankees and the Red Sox has its own meaning, and maybe it still does, but Monday’s matchup on Sling TV means more for New York because of what Toronto has done since the trade deadline than any bitterness with Beantown. The Yankees can’t afford to lose to anyone, especially the cellar-dwellers in Boston, but also not the upstarts in Tampa Bay, who the Yankees play Sunday.
The view in the N.L. Central has been pretty much the same all season for the Pirates: St. Louis in the distance. But the gap has closed a bit and larger differences have been made up in the last month of the season than the 4.5 half games that separate them. The best way to close those gaps is to play head-to-head, which you can watch them do on Sunday.
Given the state of things, it seems unlikely that the Pirates and Yankees will face each other in the World Series, but that’s the thing about baseball: lots of unlikely things do happen. Such as the Yankees dropping 20 runs on the Braves yesterday, or even the Pirates beating the Yankees in the 1960 World Series despite being outscored 55-27 in the seven-game series.
Who knows what September (and October and November) will really look like.
MLB on SLING TV SCHEDULE
*All times eastern. Projected starters as of Monday. Some games subject to regional blackout.
Monday, August 31
New York at Boston, 7pm (ESPN)
Ivan Nova vs Eduardo Rodriguez
Wednesday, September 2
Washington at St. Louis, 8pm (ESPN)
Max Scherzer vs Michael Wacha
Sunday, September 6
Tampa Bay at New York, 1:05p (TBS)
Chris Archer vs Ivan Nova
Pittsburgh at St. Louis, 8p (ESPN)
Gerrit Cole vs John Lackey