Though the Wild Card would seem to be a safety net, as it has been for the AL East runner-up for several seasons, MLB's new postseason format makes it important to win a division. The wild-card teams have to face each other in a one-game playoff.
The Yankees surely don't want any part of that. Additionally, they can still win the top seed in the AL, meaning they would play the Wild Card in the ALDS.
But the Yanks are in this position largely because they haven't played that well in September. More specifically, several of their star players have struggled over the past month.
For the Yankees to beat out the Orioles in the AL East and succeed in the playoffs, they will need the following five players to improve their performance.
All statistics cited are current as of Sept. 29.