Expectations were so high for the New York Yankees – and their roster is so solid on paper – that apparently every emotional victory is seen as a potential turning point in their frustrating season.

They won five straight games last week, though, again, it wasn’t all good news.

The Yankees made some progress in the playoffs. Going into a Monday night game against Kansas City, they were still 6 1/2 games away from first place in the AL East, but they had won 10 of 13 while Boston lost 10 of 13. That leaves New York only behind. 2 1/2 games behind the Red Sox and Track and Field for the two American League wild cards.

The Yankees could also have Gio Urshela back soon, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be at full power. Shortstop Gleyber Torres was due for an MRI after injuring his thumb on a stolen base in Sunday’s loss to Seattle. And COVID-19 continues to be a thorn in the side of the Yankees. Anthony Rizzo tested positive after Saturday’s game, and Gerrit Cole, Jordan Montgomery and Gary Sánchez have all been sidelined recently.

If there is a National League version of the Yankees, it might be Atlanta, a team with a chance of winning their fourth straight division title despite a disappointing season so far. The Braves, who lost Ronald Acuña Jr. to a season-ending knee injury, are just two games away from first place after winning five of their last six. Atlanta is also the only NL East team with a positive point differential.

The team at the top of the NL East has changed recently. Philadelphia has won eight in a row, including a three-game sweep against the Mets, who went from first place to third. Next up for the Phillies is a three-game home streak against the defending champions the Dodgers.


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