It’s never too early to start looking at the 2020 season. Let’s take a gander at the Yankees schedule from Opening Day through the end of April.
Here are the three things that stand out to me: Firstly, New York will begin the season with seven of its first 13 games against the Orioles. The Yankees won 17 of their 19 meetings with Baltimore last season, including each of their last 16 contests. The last time the Bronx Bombers had won more games against a single opponent in a year was 1957, when they went 19-3 against the Kansas City Athletics.
How did the Yankees defeat the Orioles so soundly last season? It was their offense! New York slashed .303/.386/.632 with 61 home runs and 151 runs scored in 769 plate appearances against Baltimore pitching. Their 61 homers against the Orioles set a major-league record for most home runs by a club against any single opponent. The previous record was also held by the Yankees. They hit 48 homers against the Kansas City Athletics in 1956. Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres combined for an incredible 23 HR between the two of them.
We can also frame this another way. The Yankees posted a 1.018 OPS against the O’s last season. In 1969, Reggie Jackson finished fifth in the AL MVP voting when he posted a career-high 1.018 OPS.The future Hall of Fame outfielder also had a career-high 47 homers and 118 RBI that year. So, the Yankees’ numbers against Baltimore were the equivalent of Jackson’s best offensive season in the majors. That’s astounding!
Secondly, the Yankees will play a stretch of 22 games in a 23-day span starting April 4. This includes a cross country trip from New York-to-Oakland. New York will play a one o’clock game against the Orioles on April 9 and then fly to Oakland to play the A’s the next evening. There won’t be an off day for travel.
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This isn’t an ideal scenario. The distance from Yankee Stadium to the Oakland Coliseum is approximately 2,916 miles. The one positive is the trip happens early in the year, as opposed to later in 2020 when the grind of a long season would take its toll.
Finally, I noticed the combined 2019 winning percentage of New York’s opponents to begin the season is .469. This amounts to a 607-688 record.
However, this isn’t necessarily a good thing. Remember, the Yankees began the 2019 season losing four of their first six games against the Orioles and Tigers. Detroit and Baltimore finished last year with the two worst records in the majors, but that didn’t matter early on. 14 of New York’s first 32 games are against the Orioles and Tigers. Don’t take them lightly.
Also, don’t take lightly the fact the Yankees have to play nine games against 93+ win clubs from 2019—Tampa Bay, Oakland and Cleveland. The Bronx Bombers took 12 of 17 against the Rays last season but were a combined 5-8 against the Indians and Athletics. This includes losing all three games in Oakland. New York has just one win in its last ten games on the road against the Athletics.
Based on my thoughts as I type right now, I believe the Yankees will go 22-10 (.688) in their first 32 games of the 2020 campaign. I could be right. I could be wrong. Either way, 2020 can’t get here soon enough.