Looking Ahead To The April Schedule

Mailbag: Brown and Heyward
Poll: The Fifth Starter
(Photo bia Mike Segar/Reuters)

According to our little Spring Training Countdown in the sidebar, we’re just 24 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting for duty in Florida. That’s the most exciting non-news days of the year — all the players have to do is inform the team that they’re physically in the Tampa area — but it gets us that much closer to baseball. Soon after will be full squad workouts and Spring Training games, and before you know it, the regular season.

The fun starts before the regular season though. The Yankees will play two exhibition games against the Marlins in their new stadium (April 1st and 2nd), the first games played by two big league clubs in the building, and that’s pretty cool. The Cubs did the honors when the New Yankee Stadium opened in 2009, if you remember. After that, the Yankees will wrap up their exhibition schedule with two games against the Mets, take a day off, then start the regular season. Let’s preview the awesomeness of April…

April 6th-8th @ Rays
Opening Day! The Yankees start the 2012 season at their home away from home in Tampa, and will face a Rays lineup rebuilt with noted Yankees-killer Carlos Pena and the insufferable Luke Scott. Old pal Jose Molina will be behind the plate as well. Hopefully these three games go better than the last three games of 2011, when the Yankees got swept at Tropicana Field in what would have been heartbreaking fashion had the games meant anything to them.

April 9th-11th @ Orioles
The most boring series of the month is the second one, a three gamer in Baltimore against the nondescript Orioles. We’ll probably get to see new imports Tsuyoshi Wada and Wei-Yin Chen on the mound, but otherwise it’s the same old Orioles. At least we can still despise Buck Showalter. I’m sure there will be a ton of Yankees fans in the house even though it’s a mid-week series.

April 13th-15th vs. Angels
After a day off, the Yankees come home to Yankee Stadium for the first time this season and welcome Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson, and the rest of the Angels to the Bronx. We’re all familiar with Wilson from his time with the Rangers, but Pujols has never played in the New Stadium and has only played six career games against the Yankees, none since 2005. He’ll play six games in the Boogie Down in 2012 alone.

April 16th-19th vs. Twins
A midweek four-game series against Minnesota isn’t anything to write home about, though the Yankees do completely own the Twinkies, especially at home. Did you know they’re 63-20 against the Twins during the Ron Gardenhire era (including playoffs)? That’s a .759 winning percentage, or a 123-win pace over a full season. Furthermore, the Yankees are 33-7 against them in the Bronx, and four of those losses were at the hands of Johan Santana when he was in his heyday. Pretty crazy.

April 20th-22nd @ Red Sox
Once they’re done having their way with the Twinkies, it’s off to Boston for the first Red Sox series of the year. I do loathe these series only because of the over-hyped drama and the fact that it’s a weekend series, which means FOX and ESPN are going to get involved. That and the fact that the Yankees also seem to lose to the Red Sox in the first half of the season before pounding on them in the second half. Nothing sends fans to the ledge quite like an early-season series loss to the Sawx.

April 23rd-25th @ Rangers
The Yankees will fly to Texas following the Sunday night game, and with any luck, we’ll get a look at Yu Darvish during these three games. Hopefully it’s not a long look, maybe an inning or two before the bullpen has to get involved, but the odds are in favor of him starting one of those games. Neftali Feliz too, I hope to see him in his new starting role. Imagine if we get a CC Sabathia-Darvish and/or a Michael Pineda-Neftali matchup? Oh boy.

April 27th-29th vs. Tigers
A day off follows the three games in Texas, then the Yankees will come back home for quick little six-game homestand. First they’ll look to exact some revenge for last year’s ALDS loss to the Tigers, but Detroit is going to bring new addition Prince Fielder to town. He and Miguel Cabrera will invoke memories of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez circa 2004-2007, so just be thankful they’re in another division.

The Yankees wrap up their April schedule with a home series against the Orioles that carries over into May, then they’ll fade into the monotony and grind of the regular season. They’re going to see the three biggest contracts handed out this winter during the first month of 2012, assuming they catch a Darvish start. It’s a tough schedule for the Yankees, but as a baseball fan, it will be fun to see all those players with their new teams.

Mailbag: Brown and Heyward
Poll: The Fifth Starter
  • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

    The open on Friday the 13th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bad luck?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    • Total Dominication


    • Bavarian Yankee

      yeah, Pujols will break his wrist while trying to catch up with Pineda’s fastball :D

    • Owen Two

      Fun fact: Monday the 27th is the real bad luck day.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    wow, some teams will be pissed when they’re swept by the Yanks :D

  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    Spring training ends and the Yankees drive across a bridge to start the season.

  • Cris Pengiucci

    Nothing sends fans to the ledge quite like an early-season series loss to the Sawx.

    I’m scouting out a place on an appropriate ledge already.

    • RetroRob

      The Yankees are totally dominating the Red Sox this year. The Bombers keep beating them in the standings, but have played crap against them head-to-head since that Marcus Thames HR. Not happening again this year.

      • thenamestsam

        I think people are sleeping on the Red Sox in a big time way right now. I’ve seen a lot of people assuming we’re going to beat the crap out of them this year, penciling them in for 3rd place, and I just don’t see it.

        Yes the back end of their pitching staff is a huge question mark, but is it really going to be any worse than what they got from Dice-K and Lackey last year? I doubt it. That lineup is still the deepest and best in the majors in my opinion, and depending on whether Bard and Aceves end up in the pen or the rotation, the bullpen could end up being among the best in the majors as well. I think they’ll be neck and neck with the Yankees all year, and if they add another pitcher I think they’re the favorites in the division. Am I crazy?

        • RetroRob

          I’m not taking the Red Sox for granted at all. It’s going to be the Yankees and Red Sox fighting for the top two positions in the AL East. Tampa, of course, will be competitve with their pitching, but I don’t see another miracle run this year because they really didn’t have one last year. They benefited by the Red Sox collapse and the Yankees shutting down after they clinched the division. That’s not going to play out that way again.

          The Red Sox have a great offense, their pitching staff is led by Lester, Beckett and Buchholz, and I expect their bullpen to be solid. This is a team that was leading the division for most of the year prior to their great collapse in September, and I suspect they are far more likely to be the April-August Red Sox than the September Red Sox heading into 2012. They have as much chance to win the division as the Yankees.

          My comment had more to do with them owning the Yankees for the past year-and-a-half. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but it seems like they’ve won a high percentage of the meetings post that HR by Thames. Since the two teams are evenly matched, I’m expecting a regression that will benefit the Yankees. At least I hope!

          • thenamestsam

            Okay, that’s fair. My gripe wasn’t so much at your specific comment as at the general tone that the Red Sox are going to be bad this year that I’ve seen other places, that your comment seemed to be in the spirit of. It does seem like we’ve been a bit unlucky against the Sox the last few years, with every close game seeming to swing their way, and I agree that it’s unlikely to continue. Still regression to the mean doesn’t mean we should expect a big swing in the opposite direction. I’d expect every series to be a dog fight of long unbearable games just the way they always are.

        • Havok9120

          No, you’re not. Nor are you alone in thinking these thoughts.

          People remember the Epic Collapse of Doom from the end of last season which left them the odd man out and seem to assume that it will carry over into this year, forgetting that they had the highest scoring offense in the Majors and had a truly awesome summer. After all, they had to have an enourmous lead in the standings in order to blow an enourmous lead in the standings.

          I firmly believe that the Yanks are quite a bit better this year; our rotation and ‘pen have them beat all over, and the sheer number of 4th/5th/longman types in the organization make bullpen depth almost a non-issue, not to mention that people seem to be severely underselling our offense. Nonetheless, people see

  • PhillyMatt

    Please get here already!!

  • Jakester

    And, we do have Nunez and Andruw Jones who are both decent hitters.

  • Jakester

    And, we do have Nunez and Andruw Jones who are both decent hitters.

  • Jakester

    And, we do have Nunez and Andruw Jones who are both decent hitters.

  • V

    And, we do have Nunez and Andruw Jones who are both decent hitters.

    • Mickey S

      And, we do have Nunez and Andruw Jones who are both decent hitters.

      • Havok9120

        Also, I’ve heard we have Nunez and Andruw Jones, who are both pretty good hitters.

  • RetroRob

    When I put my head to the pillow each night and go to sleep, I take comfort in knowing that we do have Nunez and Andruw Jones who are both decent hitters.

    • jsbrendog

      i read that somewhere. i forget where, i read lots of stuff

  • steve s

    Tough Schedule? Of the first 29 games Yanks play 6 against Balt, 4 against the Twinkees and 4 against the Royals. No worse than 11 and 3 there. Assume they go 7-8 or 8-7 in the other tougher games and we are off to an 18-11 or 19-10 start. The overall schedule seems very favorable this year as well as there are only 2 6 game west coast trips (with the last one being done by July 25) and the last 13 games of the year include 3 against Oak (at home) 3 against Minn, 4 against Tor (on road) and 3 at home against Bos. Much better than the last few years which included west coast road trips in Sept.

  • Buck

    Prediction: Finish April 9-13, and Pineda will be 1-2 with an ERA hovering around 5.70

    • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

      Is your last name Showalter?

  • Mike S

    What about Jones and Nunez. They any good ???

    • Havok9120

      We have them, and they appear to be decent hitters.

  • JohnC

    Easter Weekend. Great time to open the season

  • Darren

    It’s funny, I can tell Mike is in his 20’s because pretty much every Yankees fan over 35 will always have a good feeling about Buck. His professionalism (combined with Stick’s great moves) took us out of the dark ages of Stump and the last place early 90s teams.

    (Of course some of us are still pissed he didn’t pitch Mop instead of Cone in the 9th or Black Jack in extra innings, but hey….)

    I don’t really care what he says now that he’s an Oriole.

    • CountryClub

      I think your statement about the age divider is dead on. I’m sure there are exceptions to the rule, there always are. But I’m over 35 too and I remember fondly the job Stick/Buck did when George was on his hiatus.

      • gc

        I remember the outrage of many fans when he got fired. They loved Buck (at the time).

        • Pat D

          Technically, he wasn’t fired.

      • RetroRob

        Buck to this day remains my favorite Yankees manager from 1980 forward.

  • Vegetable Lasagna

    The AL is gonna be extra tough this year as it wasn’t Boston or New York who made the big FA moves. Anaheim, Texas, Detroit, Tampa, Boston, and NY will all be tough. At least, as Mike said, Fielder and Pujols went to other divisions. Boston didn’t do much in the offseason so the division can be had.

  • Rich in NJ

    The early part of the season often has one player that surpasses expectations. That’s what I am looking forward to seeing.

    • jsbrendog

      who do you predict?

      • nedro

        Swish will negate the hate.

      • nedro

        Also, I predict Nunez and Jones to be decent, at the very least.

  • Rey22

    “The Yankees come home to Yankee Stadium for the first time this season and welcome Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson, and the rest of the Angels to the Bronx”

    That sentence still sounds so incredibly weird and wrong. Pujols the Angel still hasn’t sank in.

  • LiterallyFigurative

    Good schedule. Get to see the other playoff contenders pretty early.

    The media is underselling the Sox, but I’m not having any of it. They had Lackey and wakefield and such in the rotation, and were still in first place into September. That’s when Beckett and Lester hit rock bottom, then the bullpen collapsed. Carl Crawford can’t be worse than he was last year, and will make up for the inevitable Jacoby Ellsbury regression from monster back to really good player. With their offense, and the return of Buchholz, I feel they will be neck and neck with the Yankees and Rays for the division.

    BTW, did you guys hear that we have Nunez and Jones, two pretty good hitters?

    • TrollHunter

      I heard they were just decent.

      • LiterallyFigurative

        List your sources, please.

    • Tim

      I;m not underselling Boston but part of the reason they were so good last year is because Beckett had a career year until Sept. He doesn’t have a history of backing up great seasons of late and unless Beckett, Lester and Bucholz provide them a lot of quality innings they will suffer from the same problem they had at the end of last year where the bullpen got obliterated on a nightly basis because the starters couldn’t get to the 5th and they ran out of pitchers. With the pitching options they have collected for the 4th through long relief and minors call ups I am not impressed. But hey maybe Aaron Cook and Clayton Mortensen are last year’s Bart Colon and Fred Garcia.

  • Hoosier_Oriole

    Non-Descript, eh? Ok, we ended the Red Sox season last year, let’s see if we can put a dent in yours this year. You have a great team with a great history, but humility has never been a NY strong suit. Maybe we can teach you the meaning of respect.

    Go O’s!