The New York Yankees started off a crucial homestand on a solid note over the weekend. After a tough loss from CC Sabathia on Friday, the Yankees were able to find a way to win the last two game of the series against the Tampa Bay Rays behind their resurgent offense from players like Russell Martin and Eduardo Nunez as well as good pitching performances from Ivan Nova and Hiroki Kuroda. While the Rays’ playoff chances are dimming, New York’s chances look a little better, especially with their last five series being as favorable as anyone’s in baseball.
Out of the Yankees’ five remaining series, only one is against a team with a winning record. New York will play seven of their next 13 games against their next opponent, the Toronto Blue Jays. Toronto could be a spoiler to this division as they beat the Bombers two out of three games in their last visit to the Bronx.
However, the Jays are not healthy with their arms or their bats, and they may have a controversy on their own hands as well. Their shortstop, Yunel Escobar, is under investigation by Major League Baseball for having a homophobic slur on his eye black. Plus, Henderson Alvarez leads the rotation on the field with only nine wins.
New York needs to find a way to gain separation in the division with these seven games because the Orioles are not going away in the division. After Baltimore’s win over Seattle last night, they remain just a half game behind New York. Plus, as far as the Wild Card is concerned, the Los Angeles Angels are back on a surge as they host the Texas Rangers this week just three games behind Baltimore in the wild card.
For this preview, I talk about the return of Andy Pettitte as well as the possible return of Brett Gardner as a pinch-runner. Also, I breakdown the pitching matchups for the weekend and give you my take on the Yanks’ favorable schedule and the rest of the AL playoff picture with just a little over two weeks to go.