The Yankees are entering the 2020 season as the odds-on favorite to win not just their division, but the American League and the World Series. Looking through the Yankees’ roster, it’s no mystery why they are favored, as the addition of Gerrit Cole and any improvement in health should lead to another 100-plus win total. Plus, analyzing the Yankees’ early season schedule, this team is set up to get off to a fast start that should see them in control of the AL East by the end of April.
Last season, the Orioles were the gift that kept on giving for the Yankees. After dropping two of three at home to Baltimore to open the season, the Yankees did not lose another game to Baltimore the rest of the year. With a front office spawned from the Astros’ tanking model, Baltimore has decided that two straight seasons of being terrible are not enough, and they must commit to more noncompetitive baseball by trading their best player Jonathan Villar in a salary dump this off-season.
Caesars Palace sports book places the over/under on Orioles’ wins this season at 55.5, a number that they could easily come in under. After the opening weekend, the Yankees will see Baltimore for four games at Yankees Stadium in the middle of April.
Amazingly to anyone who watched them play last season, Baltimore managed to be outdone in terms of futility last season. In a season that saw four teams around baseball lose more than 100 games, nobody was able to keep pace with Detroit’s 114 loses. Heading into this season, there is not a lot of optimism that Detroit will be that much better, as the pitching staff of the future featuring star prospects like Casey Mize and Matt Manning is still probably at least a half a season away from the majors.
Like Baltimore, the Yankees will see Detroit seven times before the end of April. Also like Baltimore, Detroit has been given an incredibly low over/under number by the sports books at 56.5.
The Yankees will also play both two more teams in Toronto and Texas that are projected to be below .500. Texas was linked to numerous free agents this offseason, but failed to land many impact players. Toronto saw their elite prospects reach the major leagues last season, and they should be a better team this coming year. With Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio set to play the full season the Blue Jays, should be able to score some runs. Their lack of impact pitching is why they are still expected by many to finish below .500 once again.
The favorable early season schedule continues into May as the Yankees will see Toronto again, before playing a Pittsburgh Pirates team that is only expected to win around 70 games on the season.
While the Yankees should feast off 14 March and April games against two of the worst teams in baseball, the Yankees will only play six games against playoff teams from last season in those months. The Yankees will travel to both the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays early in the season to play the two Wild Card teams from last season. Both teams are expected to be in the 89-90 win range according to Caesars.
Rounding out the April schedule for the Yankees are games against the Reds and Indians. Both teams should crack .500 on the season, but it will help the Yankees that they get them both at Yankees Stadium on consecutive weekends.
The Yankees’ 2020 schedule gives them a great chance to get out fast and gain control of the AL East from the first weeks of the season. However, last season proved that getting off to a fast start is not essential to winning the World Series. The Washington Nationals appeared ready to fire their manager and possibly trade some of their most valuable assets in the middle of May. Even with that thought in mind, the Yankees will play 25 of their first 37 games against teams expected finish below .500, including 14 against teams that will likely lose at least 100 games. The schedule is set up for this team to break out early and quickly set the pace in the AL.