Yankees next week is crucial for the rest of season
By Carl Scott
Monday’s comeback victory against the Orioles was the beginning of a crucial 10-game stretch for the Yankees. If all goes well, the Bronx Bombers will likely expand their lead in the AL East before playing the Red Sox.
The Yankees upcoming light schedule could be critical for the end-of-year AL East standings as the Yanks play struggling teams in their forthcoming stretch, while the Rays and Red Sox will take on real playoff competitors.
There’s no excuse for the Yanks to surrender their first-place AL East lead over the next week and a half considering the teams they’re facing.
First, the Bombers continue their four-game road series against the last-place Orioles. Then, they travel to Kauffman Stadium to play Whit Merrifield and the last-place Royals. Lastly, they’ll return home to play Manny Machado and the slumping Padres who are 3-7 in their last 10 games.
The Royals and Orioles are a combined 31-63 this season and are both familiar opponents for the Yankees this year. Despite the favorable matchups, ESPN’s Coley Harvey reported that veteran outfielder Brett Gardner reminded fans and writers that every game must be taken “one day at a time.”
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"“We’ve played Baltimore already, we’ve played Kansas City already, we know what we’re getting into,” outfielder Brett Gardner said. “Feels like it’ll be a good matchup for us. We’ll just take things one day at a time, and we’ll keep playing good baseball.”"
Gardner’s season stats may not be stellar, but he seems to come through in the clutch consistently. He also had these wise words to add about the mentality the team has expressed this season:
"“We show up here every day and we expect to win,” Gardner said. “It doesn’t matter who’s hitting first, who’s hitting third or fifth. It doesn’t matter who’s pitching. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing. We expect to win every single day… Obviously, it might not quite be realistic, and we have our ups and our downs, but when we come to work every day, our expectation doesn’t change. It doesn’t matter what you did the rest of the day, or the last couple of days. Everybody has done a real good job this year of knowing what their role is, stepping up and doing their job, and we’ve played pretty well.”"
Yankees should benefit from the upcoming schedule for Rays and Red Sox
The Rays begin a short two-game series hosting the LA Dodgers, and then they travel to Progressive Field for a four-game road series against the Indians.
Following the two playoff-caliber opponents, the Rays will host a three-game series against the Blue Jays before playing the Minnesota Twins.
As for the Sox, they begin their stretch on the road against the Blue Jays. Then they’ll travel to Minute Maid Park to play the elite team of the AL, the Houston Astros.
Lastly, before their rival series with the Yankees that starts on May 30, they’ll first host the Indians for a three-game set.
If the Yanks continue to play as they have lately, they will perform well above .500 over the next week and a half, and they should pick up a few games in the AL East.