With games about to resume after the All-Star break, the Yankees find themselves a little bit behind the eight ball in regards to the AL East race. They currently sit 4.5 games back of the Red Sox, which is less than ideal.
There is plenty of baseball left to go this season, and plenty of time to potentially make up that deficit. However, a lot of times in the first half of the season, it seemed like the Red Sox would never lose. While they may not keep up that level of play, it’s clear that they’re a good team that probably isn’t going collapse.
If that’s the case, the Yankees are going to need some help at some point. With that in mind, let’s check out some of the stretches over the last couple months that seem most amenable to the Yankees picking up games and possibly closing the gap.
July 26th-August 5th
Both teams start their second halves with seemingly winnable series, but the third series back is when it gets interesting. The Red Sox then have to face an uninteresting Twins team, but then have to play the Phillies. The Yankees, on the other hand, get the Royals and Orioles. Yes, the Yankees have lost games to both those teams this season, but this will be nearer to the trade deadline and some of those teams’ players (ex: Machado, Manny) won’t be there. This run wraps up with the Yankees and Red Sox playing each other in Fenway. If the Yankees take advantage of this, they may cut a few games of the deficit even if Boston also plays well.
The Red Sox get a four-game series with Cleveland during this period, while the Yankees get the Marlins and Orioles. I suggest not getting one-hit by Jarlin Garcia again.
The Yankees have a bit of a tough series in this stretch, heading up to Seattle, but they have a couple easy ones before that will hopefully offset any potential losses against the Mariners. On the other hand, Boston has to go to Atlanta and then play the Astros at home.
Fortunately, there aren’t a ton of stretches where the Red Sox play easy games while the Yankees have to battle other playoff contenders. That’s because Boston played over half their games against the Orioles—and all of their games against the Royals—in the first half of the season.
Obviously, the games between the two teams are important, as are quite frankly all games. The Yankees could still somehow lose the season series against the Orioles and win the division. It’s unlikely, but still feasible.
If the Yankees are to cut into the lead, those three stretches are obvious areas when they can make up ground.