New York Yankees' Last 29 Games in the AL East
The New York Yankees had 35 games remaining in the regular season before they started their game tonight vs. the Toronto Blue Jays. Of the remaining games, 29 of them are against teams in the AL East.
The Yankees lead the AL East by 4 games. The Rays are hot and are closing in on the once comfortable lead the Yankees had. The Yanks stumbled on their last road trip going 2-4, getting swept by the White Sox.
On the other hand, the Rays are 7-3 in their last 10 games. The Baltimore Orioles are only 4.5 games behind the Yankees. Currently, the Rays and Orioles both hold AL Wild Card spots. The A's are tied with Baltimore for the second spot.
The Yankees will not be able to cruise into the playoffs with 29 games left against teams in their division. On the positive side, in order to make the playoffs the Yankees will have to play good baseball down the stretch which should have them reaching their peak as they enter the postseason.
Joe Girardi doesn't sound worried about the Yankees tough schedule down the stretch against division foes. Courtesy of Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News:
I think what’s in front of you and what you’re trying to accomplish is in your own hands. I think that’s the advantage of it, and you don’t have to necessarily rely on anyone else. It’s in your own hands, and it’s your job to go out and play good baseball and play as well as you can.
The Yankees are 24-19 against the AL East this season. Here is a preview of their remaining games against the AL East teams.
Note: All stats are from ESPN, and do not include today's games unless otherwise noted.
Toronto Blue Jays
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Games remaining against the NYY: 10 (including tonight)
Games back of NYY: 17.5
NYY Record vs. Blue Jays: 5-3
Who to watch: Edwin Encarnacion is third in the American League with 34 home runs and is always a dangerous hitter. He is also fifth in the league in RBI, driving in 88 this season.
Newsworthy Notes: The Blue Jays are still waiting to hear about Jose Bautista's wrist. He is in Cleveland being examined by a doctor and was put back on the DL less than 48 hours after being activated from the DL for the same injury. He would be eligible to return on September 11.
Prediction: The Yankees will go 7-3 in the 10 games remaining. The Blue Jays are struggling and not having Jose Bautista definitely hurts their line up. If the Yankees want to hold on to their lead in the AL East they have to take advantage of Toronto's struggles.
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
Games remaining against the NYY: 7
Games back of NYY: 4.5
NYY record vs Orioles: 6-5
Who to watch: Wei-Yen Chen has been the highlight of Orioles pitching this season. Wei-Yen Chen is tied for 8th in the league in wins. He is 12-7 with a 3.78 era this season. He only pitched one game against the Yankees this year, picking up the win with a seven inning effort where he only allowed two earned runs.
Newsworthy Notes: Wilson Betemit and Jason Hammel are close to returning from the DL. Betemit who is returning from a wrist injury could play this weekend. Hammel could return around September 6th from knee surgery.
Prediction: The Yankees have to go 4-3. It comes down to how the two teams will be playing when they see each other. The Yankees will most likely have momentum going into the 3-game series at the end of this week. The Orioles will have a tough series against the Chicago White Sox right before coming to Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are 39-24 at home and 2-4 vs the Orioles at home this season.
Tampa Bay Rays
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Games remaining against the NYY: 6
Games back of NYY: 4
NYY record vs Rays: 5-7
Who to watch: David Price is 16-4 this season with 2.53 ERA. The Yankees big bats won't help them win if they are facing dominant pitching. Price leads the league in wins but is 2-2 against the Yankees. However, in his last two starts against the Yankees he combined for two earned runs and 16 strikeouts.
Newsworthy Notes: Sean Rodriguez was sent down to Triple-A Durham. Following a game Sunday night, he broke his hand punching a locker. The Rays don't know if he will be able to return. Joe Maddon said Rodriguez was going to be recalled when the roster expands and would have played, especially against left-handed pitchers.
Prediction: They will split the series 3-3. The Rays are hot and always seem to find a way to win in September. Neither team has an easier schedule down the stretch. The Yankees depth on the bench will give them an advantage.
Boston Red Sox
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Games remaining against the NYY: 3
Games back of NYY: 13
NYY Record vs. Red Sox: 8-4
Who to watch: Daisuke Matsuzaka just returned from the minors after a DL stint. In his first Major League appearance since July 2, he allowed no earned runs in seven innings against the Royals. If he is truly back from all the injuries he will provide a bright spot in a tumultuous season for the Red Sox.
Newsworthy Notes: David Ortiz went back on the DL after only playing one game. He hopes to return again this season if his right achilles can heal. However, since the Red Sox will most likely not make the playoffs, the organization might try and delay his return. Ortiz is a free agent this offseason so he might have extra motivation to try and return for a few more games.
Prediction: The Yankees will win 2 out of 3. Simply put, the Red Sox, after their monster trade, don't have the roster to compete with the Yankees. I am betting a good pitching performance by Dice-K could give the Red Sox hope for a win. However, if Dice-K isn't pitching in the series the Yankees have a chance for a sweep. Lester and Buchholz have both struggled against the Yankees this year.