The New York Yankees have reached a pivot stretch in their schedule if they want to make a legitimate run at a division title and a return to baseball postseason this year.
The Yanks, despite a rash of injuries in both the lineup and the rotation this year, have managed to tread water and stay well within striking distance in the American League East. At 35-33, they certainly have not had a stellar year, but they are sitting in second place in the division, only 4.5 games behind the division leading Toronto Blue Jays.
Starting with tonight’s match up, the Yankees will take on the Blue Jay six times in the next nine days, three in the Bronx and three north of the border, giving them a tremendous opportunity to bridge the gap between themselves and the division front runners.
The Yankees are projected to have the benefit of having ace Masahiro Tanaka pitch twice in the six clashes between the two teams, no doubt giving the Yankees an edge in those two games. His performance in his short Major League career has been nothing short of sensational. He will take the hill this evening against the Jays, opposing Long Island native Marcus Stroman, who will be making his fourth career start.
Sandwiched between the two series with Toronto the Yankees will welcome the Baltimore Orioles into New York. Baltimore is in third place in the East, .5 games behind the Yankees in the standings.
This is not a make or break stretch for the Bronx Bombers, but it should serve as a good barometer as to where they are within their own division. Three series victories will further entrench the team into the thick of the division race (if they get really hot they could even lead the way by next Wednesday), but only a disastrous stretch (read: 1-9 and 0-6 against the Jays) would doom their season. The latter is something I would not bet on.
They do have six of the nine games at home, however, where they have struggled this year, going only 13-16 in the Bronx. If the Yankees can keep the ball inside their own yard against the power hitting Jays and O’s, they will be successful during this important stretch.
Tags: New York Yankees