Ok. So the win last night was ugly. But it was a win nonetheless, and the Yankees are now 2.5 games up on the Red Sox and Rays on June 24. How they got there, I have no idea. To me, the past week has been a rotten stretch of baseball for the team. Despite that, the Yankees are leading the league in several key measures. They have more wins (45) and fewer losses (27) than any other club in baseball. They have baseball’s best run differential (+102) and their Pythagorean record is 46-26, one game better than their actual W-L. Baseball Prospectus projects them to finish 97-65, and lists their Postseason Odds at 79% overall, with a 54% chance of winning the AL East and a 25% chance of winning the Wild Card. Despite AJ Burnett’s Hyde and Hyde act, Vazquez and Chamberlain’s inconsistency, mediocrity from everyone in the bullpen not named Mo, injuries to Rodriguez, Granderson, Swisher, Posada and Aceves, serious undperforming from Teixeira and Rodriguez, and the fact that Jesus Montero is a total bust (not even remotely serious), the Yankees are on top with 16 games until the All-Star Break.
The team will travel to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers for three games. The Sunday game will be a very interesting pitching matchup, Pettitte v. Kershaw, and I’ll profile Kershaw on Sunday. After a day off on Monday, the Yankees return home for a a six-game homestand in which they’ll host the Mariners and the Blue Jays. Unfortunately, it looks like the team will face both Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez in the series. After that, the Yankees will travel to Oakland for a three game series and then to Seattle for a four game series. Unfortunately, again, it appears that the rotations will line up for Lee and Hernandez to face the team again, in the second set. One small schedule gripe: the team is on the West Coast right now. It’s really too bad they have to travel back to New York for a week and then truck it all the way back out to the West Coast again the next week. I’m sure there’s a good reason for it, but it’s unfortunate nonetheless.
As for our opponents, the Red Sox will travel to San Francisco for three games, with Lincecum facing Lester in the series finale on Sunday. I’m all for the Yankees getting the Sunday night game, but as a fan of pitching I would prefer to see Lester and Lincecum face off in San Francisco. C’est la vie. After that, the Red Sox will return home for two games against the Rays. The pitching matchups for those games are: Lackey v. Shields and Garza v. Matsuzaka. Advantage: Rays. The Red Sox will then host the Orioles for three games, before traveling to Tampa and Toronto for three games in each city. The Rays will host the Diamondbacks for three games this weekend, before traveling to Boston for two games. They will then go to Minnesota for four games, return home to host Boston for three games and the Indians for four.
Normally, I would say that the schedule favors the Yankees, but they’ll be facing the Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez show while the Rays and Red Sox play in their first series. When the Rays and Red Sox meet again, the Yankees will be playing Oakland. My hope is that the team can make it to the All-Star Break with at least a two-game lead. They’ll need it, as 10 of their first 22 games post-ASB are against the Rays and the Red Sox. It’s gonna be on like Donkey Kong.
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