Thursday, August 30, 2012

Off Day Notes: Do or Die

The next ten games that the Yankees play could be the most important ten game stretch of the season for them. First, Baltimore comes to New York tomorrow night for three games, trailing the Yankees by three games in the division. The next three days alone could determine the Yankees' place in the division if they get swept or only win one game. Following the three game set against the O's, the Yankees will head south to play the Tampa Bay Rays for three games. The Yankees have had trouble winning games in Tampa Bay in recent years and the Rays trail the Yankees by four games in the loss column. If the Yankees come out victorious against the Orioles this weekend, they could breathe a sigh or relief going into Tampa Bay for three games because they did well against the second place team before they played the Rays. However, in the next six games the Yankees also have a chance of losing the division lead as well as a playoff spot. That is why winning four out of their next six games would be vital to a beat-up Yankee team.

After the Tampa Bay series, the Yankees head to Baltimore, Maryland for four games against the Orioles at Camden Yards. Depending on what the Yankees do in their previous six games, the series could mean nothing or it could mean a lot. If they beat up on the Orioles and Rays before heading to Baltimore, they have a chance to bury the Orioles for good and focus on getting their guys healthy. However, if they blow the six games prior to the Baltimore series, the four game set could mean the Yankees postseason chances. Rumor has it that Alex Rodriguez is on the fast track on returning from the disabled list and back into the Yankee lineup. Knowing Joe Girardi, I would say that Alex Rodriguez will make his return in Baltimore in time for the Yankees four game series against them rather than having A-Rod come back against the Rays. Baltimore knows the Yankees' weaknesses, which is why they have accumulated a wealth of lefty starting pitchers for the upcoming series in the Bronx. With Andruw Jones cleaning up over the course of the next three games against lefties, the Yankees could be in series trouble.

Regardless of how you draw it up, the next ten games are integral games for the Yankees. With Alex Rodriguez returning within the next week and Mark Teixeira possibly coming back in Baltimore next week, the Yankees should be able to win the latter portion of their next ten games. Before that however, they will need to scratch and claw for these six games against Baltimore and Tampa Bay. Going 6-4 in their next ten games would not give the Yankees much breathing room for the rest of the season. I think they have to win no less than seven games to maintain a comfortable lead in their division. Do I think the Yankees are capable of going 7-3 in their next ten games? I do, but it is more so a question of health and where they stand after the Tampa series.

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