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Yanks focused on home field for WC Game

September 23, 2018

NEW YORK -- Now that his club has secured entry into the American League Wild Card Game, Aaron Boone said that the Yankees will do everything possible to ensure that the game is played at Yankee Stadium, regardless of how it affects their pitching for that win-or-go-home contest."We know we

NEW YORK -- Now that his club has secured entry into the American League Wild Card Game, Aaron Boone said that the Yankees will do everything possible to ensure that the game is played at Yankee Stadium, regardless of how it affects their pitching for that win-or-go-home contest.
"We know we have a home-field advantage here. We want to play here," Boone said on Sunday. "I feel like in a lot of ways between the three starters we're considering, we feel like they're all good decisions. Playing these games to win, that may push one guy out of that based on need this week. That may factor into that. I think because we have three good decisions, that allows us to do that."
The Yankees have not announced any of their starters for the upcoming series against the Rays. Since his late July acquisition from the Blue Jays, left-hander J.A. Happ has compiled an excellent case to start a must-win contest, but Boone indicated that right-handers Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka remain in consideration to start the Oct. 3 contest.
How the week unfolds, Boone said, could determine the Yanks' decision. New York holds a 1 1/2-game advantage over the Athletics for the top AL Wild Card spot.
"Hopefully, we get to a point by the weekend where we're in a position where we can make the decision solely based on how we want to set things up," Boone said. "We also may not have that luxury either. We'll see how this week unfolds, continue the dialogue. We feel like we have a few really good choices to make for that Wild Card Game. Hopefully, we make the right one."
Home cooking
The Yankees did not lose any of the postseason games they played at Yankee Stadium last season, and they entered play on Sunday 53-27 when playing in the Bronx this year. Suffice it to say that no one on the roster would prefer to make a cross-country flight to visit the Athletics in Oakland on Oct. 3.
"We end the season in Boston [on Sept. 30]," Aaron Judge said. "I don't think any of us want to make that West Coast trip all the way back. That's why we want to keep winning. Playing in front of our fans, there's nothing like it. Getting a chance to play here at Yankee Stadium, it's pretty electric. You saw how it was last year."
That said, the Yankees seem confident that they could win in Oakland, if it came to that. New York dropped two of three games at the Coliseum earlier this month, but the Yankees were not at full strength then, still waiting on Judge and Didi Gregorius to return to the lineup.
"I think here, over there, you've still got to play the game," Gregorius said. "So I think at home would be better in front of our fans. [With travel], it's the same. We go there throughout the season anyway. Nobody complains about that, so why start complaining now?"
Take a day
Aaron Hicks (bruised left ankle) was not in the Yankees' starting lineup on Sunday, one day after requiring X-rays due to an 11th-inning foul ball that preceded his game-winning double, but Boone is confident that Hicks will be in the lineup for the team's upcoming series at Tropicana Field.
"He was a little bit sore last night," Boone said. "He'll be all right. Hopefully, he can get a full day today and be good to go when we get to Tampa.

This date in Yankees history
Sept. 23, 2001: The Yankees overcome a four-run deficit to defeat the Orioles, 5-4, in 10 innings at Camden Yards. Mariano Rivera worked a perfect 10th inning to secure his 47th save, shattering a single-season club record set by Dave Righetti in 1986.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.