The Yankees, by the end of April last season, were wallowing in the depths of an 8-14 start for the year. That’s a big no-no for the 2017 team.
The 2017 version of the New York Yankees is bound to be one of the most unpredictable and exciting teams that have come our way since the days of The Run and the Core Four. The team is coming off a rather prodigious spring in which they seemed to roll from one day to the next performing consistently and decisively.
The intrigue is almost unfathomable when it comes to predicting where this team will stand by the end of September. Most have the Yankees finishing with a record similar to last season’s 83-78, but a few brave souls have the team toppling the Red Sox with a first-place finish.
It’s that unpredictability of the team, though, that spurs the excitement as the Yankees prepare to open their season Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. EST on the road against Tampa Bay. This team, like all teams in the AL East, is supposed to feed on the bottom dweller of the Division Rays, and it’s a must that the Yankees take the first bite.
Playoff contending teams like the Yankees can’t win a spot in the October Sweepstakes in April, but they can sure lose one
Joe Torre used to say that you count the regular season in fives. Your first goal is to get to five over .500, then ten over, then fifteen, and so on. And he always added that the way you do that is by winning series in a string one after another.
Last season, the Yankees started off six games under .500 by the end of April, and from there they struggled to get back to even. And when they finally reached that plateau, they couldn’t seem to put anything together regarding “a run” that would spring them forward until the final month and a half of the season, when it was too late.
So, first and foremost, the Yankees need to get off to a good start. Their winning ways from the past spring will help, but as we know Masahiro Tanaka‘s record when he takes the mound tomorrow stands at 0-0.
More from Yanks Go Yard
- Yankees analyst Cameron Maybin projects surprise landing spot for Gary Sánchez
- Yankees swipe intriguing minor-league FA lefty flamethrower from Braves
- What does Carlos Rodón’s new jersey number mean for Domingo Germán?
- 3 lefty relievers Yankees can still sign without breaking the bank
- Red Sox living in different financial ‘galaxy’ than Yankees Killer Rafael Devers
A glance at their schedule for the month of April shows that, with the exception of the Chicago White Sox who visit the Stadium for three games in the middle of the month, there are no patsies unless the team can prove itself against the Rays, who come back to New York for the home opener on Monday, April 10.
In between, the Yankees face division rival Baltimore twice, the Cardinals and Pirates (Interleague already?), plus the Red Sox for three games near the end of April in Boston. None of it is easy.
Playoff contending teams like the Yankees can’t win a spot in the October Sweepstakes in April, but they can sure lose one. You never want to get in that position, like they did last season, where you are playing catch-up for the rest of the year. Because more than likely, you never will indeed catch up to the teams that did get off to a good start.
Don’t think for a minute, though, that the same pressure isn’t on the Red Sox and Blue Jays to take the helm at the top immediately. In fact, for the Red Sox, the pressure will be even greater given the powerhouse team they’ve assembled over the winter.
But that’s small comfort for the Yankees, who need to take care of business themselves. This team has the tools, at least offensively to do just that. For sure, Greg Bird and Gary Sanchez sound a lot better than aging Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira in a Yankees lineup.
So here we go and where she stops no one knows.