The Yankees will wrap up their disappointing four-game set against the Twins tonight, ending the first homestand of the young season. They’ve been alternating wins and losses for nearly a full week now, but a win tonight would be a nice little confidence-booster — for the fans, not necessarily the team — before heading out on a nine-game stretch that is going to be as difficult as any they face this summer..
Following tonight’s game, the Yankees will head up to Boston for a three-game set against the Red Sox. They’re going to wear 1912 throwback uniforms for the first time ever tomorrow afternoon as part of the Fenway Park 100th anniversary celebration, which is pretty neat. Sunday’s series-finale is — of course — the ESPN Sunday Night game, and right after that the Yankees have to fly to Texas for a three game set with the Rangers starting Monday. Once they’re done with Texas, they’ll take Thursday off and fly back home for a three-game weekend series against the Tigers.
I know the Red Sox are struggling and Bobby Valentine is doing his best to make the Fenway faithful miss Terry Francona, but they’re still a very dangerous team. The Rangers have been baseball’s best club in the early going, which isn’t at all surprising after winning two consecutive AL pennants. The Tigers are just bludgeoning teams to death with the best three-four lineup combo since David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez circa 2004-2007. Other than a nine-game swing against the Angels, Tigers, and Rays in late-May/early-June and another nine-gamer against the Rays, Red Sox, and Angels wrapped around the All-Star break, this looks to be the toughest stretch of the schedule.
Aside from three starts — Ivan Nova against the Orioles, Hiroki Kuroda against the Angels, CC Sabathia against the Twins — the starting rotation has both underperformed expectations and saddled the bullpen with a heavy workload this month. That’s why right-hander Cody Eppley was recalled following Brett Gardner’s injury last night, not another outfielder. The Red Sox, Rangers, and Tigers are three of the five highest-scoring offenses in the league right now, so these games could end up further exposing the pitching staff at worst or getting everyone back on track and on an extended run of strong play at best.