With the New York Yankees playing their next twelve games, and fifteen of nineteen, against National League opponents, this may be the time for them to make a move in the standings.
The Yankees open the stretch of interleague games with three games against the over-achieving Brewers. After the Milwaukee series, they will play nine games against sub .500 teams. The Mets, Pirates and Cubs are all teams the Yankees are capable of taking series’ from. After playing two in Wrigley, the Yankees will move to the South side of Chicago for a four-game set against the White Sox, who are just a game over .500. The team will then go to St. Louis for a three-game set against the Cardinals
This stretch could very well dictate how the first half of the season goes for the Bombers. They currently sit percentage points behind Baltimore for the division lead. If they can catch the Orioles and distance themselves a few games from the rest of the American League East, then this next few weeks will be a success.
Although fourteen of the next nineteen games will be played away from the Bronx, this is the time the Yankees need to make a move. They need to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the division, before the All-Star break.
Much of the next month will be played in National League parks, meaning the Yanks will be without a designated hitter. More than likely, Joe Girardi will rotate days off between outfielders, Ichiro Suzuki, Carlos Beltran and Alfonso Soriano. Derek Jeter will likely see a few days off to rest up as well. The addition of Brendan Ryan gives the Yankees more flexibility in the infield, and allows Girardi to mix and match in a National League style.
No team in the AL East is more than three games out of the division lead. In what figures to be a very tight race all year, the Yankees need to take advantage of opportunities to put wins together. This next month is one of those opportunities.