The New York Yankees (64-34) have 11 out of their next 13 games against the first place Minnesota Twins (60-38) and defending champion Boston Red Sox (54-46).
If the Yankees can survive this rough patch of their schedule, then they have an easy rest of August with a plethora of games against the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays, the bottom feeders of the AL East.
Good news for the Yankees is that they have their best pitcher back after missing a couple of weeks with a hip flexor. Domingo German is now 12-2 and 2-0 since returning from the IL.
The Red Sox trail the Yankees by 11 games, but they face their AL East rival 8 times over the next two weeks.
The Minnesota Twins are the Rodney Dangerfield of baseball. They won 60 games, yet not mentioned in the same breath as the Yankees and the Houston Astros as the best teams in the American League. A big series win over the Yanks might finally get them the respect they deserve as the top team from the AL Central.
Rocco Baldelli and the Twins have a chance to lay a couple of licks on the Bronx Bombers if they have their focus looking ahead to two big series against the Red Sox.
The Twins have been in a bit of a slide losing five out of their last seven games. They’ve dropped 11 out of their last 19 games overall and trying to correct the ship.
YANKEES VS. TWINS ROTATION:
7/22/19 CC Sabathia (5-4) vs. Martin Perez (8-3)
7/23/19 Domingo German (12-2) vs. Kyle Gibson (9-4)
7/24/19 JA Happ (8-5) vs. Jake Odorizzi (11-4)
The Twins ended a two-game losing streak with a walk-off win courtesy of outfielder Max Kepler against the A’s on Sunday.
“Kep’s been doing it all year for us,” said Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. “He’s done it against everyone that we’ve thrown him up there against.”
Kepler smacked 24 home runs with 64 RBI. He’s slashing at .264/.333/.526. He’ll have to face a tough rotation in the Yankees/Twins series in Minnesota.
The Red Sox are in third place and trail the second-place Tampa Rays (57-45) by two games in the AL East standings. The Sox have no more time to waste and if they want to return to the playoffs, it begins with a four-game homestand against the best team in the AL next weekend.
The Sox face the Yankees in a pair of home/away four-game homestands over the next two weekends.
If the Sox can go on a heater, they’ll gain significant ground on the Yankees and put themselves in a Wild Card spot.
Once the playoffs begin, anything goes. But the Sox are in jeopardy of missing the playoffs.
PROJECTED ROTATION YANKS/SOX:
7/25/19 Masahiro Tanaka (7-5) vs. Ricky Porcello (8-7)
7/26/19 James Paxton (5-5) vs. Andrew Cashner (0-2)
7/27/19 CC Sabathia (5-4) vs. Eduardo Rodriguez (11-4)
7/28/19 Domingo German (12-2) vs. Chris Sale (4-9)
If the playoff were to begin today, the Sox would bubble the Wild Card. In the wild card hunt, Alex Cora’s squad is three games behind the Oakland A’s. The Sox are also four behind the Cleveland Indians.
On the flip side, the Yankees would love to put away their rival. After this stretch, the Yanks have only four games with the Red Sox the rest of the season. The Yanks extended their lead over the Sox to 11 games. The Bronx Bombers have a chance to pull away for good in early August.
The Yanks and Sox last faced each other in London before the All Star break, during an explosion of home runs at London Stadium.