With less than two weeks remaining in the regular season, the Yankees entered Tuesday night trailing the Boston Red Sox by three games for the division lead. The Yankees have a comfortable lead in the wild-card race, leading the Twins by five games and the Los Angeles Angels by six and a half.

So while the Yankees, barring an epic collapse, will reach the playoffs, it is still unclear whether they will go as a division winner or as a wild-card entrant — thus the importance of the final game.

If the Yankees and Red Sox tie for the division title, they would play a one-game playoff on Oct. 2 at Yankee Stadium. The winner would advance to an American League division series against the Houston Astros or the Cleveland Indians. The loser would host the wild-card game, likely against the Twins or the Angels, the next day.

If Severino would have pitched this Friday at Toronto, as Girardi had considered, he would have been on schedule to pitch the following Wednesday at home against Tampa Bay, but would have been unavailable on the following Sunday, the final day of the regular season, at home against Toronto, because he would have had only three days’ rest.

Severino was happy to be slotted in for Wednesday. He said he is uncomfortable when he has extra rest, that he sometimes loses command of his fastball. Still, Severino has been slightly more effective this season pitching on five days’ rest, when opponents have batted .180 against him in 14 starts. Opponents have batted .227 against him in 11 starts on four days’ rest. In four starts with six days’ or more rest, opponents are hitting .214 against him.

As it stands now, the Yankees would have the option of using Severino, their best pitcher, in any of those scenarios: the final day of the regular season if they can clinch the division, the next day in a divisional playoff, or the day after that in the wild-card game.

Girardi acknowledged he could face a tough decision.

“Chances are that can possibly happen, so you just kind of play it by ear,” he said. “You’re really not going to know but again it gives us the ability to start him three more times if we need to.”

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