It started May 7 and doesn’t end for at least three weeks.  In fact, one could argue that it doesn’t even end for nearly 5 weeks.  For the first 20 games of this stretch, which started this weekend, the Yankees began what is looking like the toughest part of their schedule all season – from May 7 to May 27.

To start off, the Yankees will have to play 20 games during those 21 days, with the only day off coming on Monday May 24.  The worst part, however, is the opposition they are scheduled to face.  Boston, Detroit, Minnesota, Boston, Tampa Bay, NY Mets and Minnesota – all of which having winning records or are the Boston Red Sox.

May 7-9 @ Boston – The Yankees routed the first two games of the series 10-3 and 14-3, before being routed themselves in the Sunday night game, 9-3.  The Yankees are 4-2 against Boston this season in the 6 games they’ve played, all at Fenway Park.

May 10-13 @ Detroit – The Yankees lost the first game of the series, 5-4 on a night that long-time Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell was memorialized after succumbing to cancer last week.  The Yankees send troubled pitcher Javier Vasquez to the mound Tuesday night, high-flying youngster Phil Hughes to the mound on Wednesday night and ace CC Sabathia on Thursday night.  Vasquez skipped his last scheduled start (Friday in Boston) to get some bullpen work in and calm some nerves.  Yankee fans have been pretty hard on him this season for his poor play.  Hughes and Sabathia have been dominating this season, going 4-0 and 4-1 respectively.  Taking the next three in a row would be nice and is very possible, but I would be content with the Bombers leaving Detroit after going 2-2 against the Tigers.  Either way, they should have some momentum built up heading into the weekend series with Minnesota.

May 14-16 vs Minnesota - The Twins sit atop the AL Central at 21-11 and appear to be the third best team in the majors after the Rays and Yankees.  They are tough offensively and are much stronger than the team that the Yankees dominated last season.  This will be a tough series for the Bombers, especially considering the scheduled pitchers are AJ Burnett, who’s always volatile, Andy Pettitte, who’s coming off arm stiffness, and Vasquez, who will be hearing some loud boos if he doesn’t play excellent.

At this point the Yankees will have played 10 straight days – meaning that the Bombers would have most likely scheduled a day off for aging infielders Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez in order to rest them up for the next 10 games.

May 17-18 vs Boston – Boston maybe struggling this season with a 17-16 record as of Monday May 10, but it isn’t because of their hitting like most everyone thought it would be – it’s because of their pitching.  Surprisingly, the Sox are the fourth highest-scoring team in baseball this season.  The problem is they happen to have allowed the third most runs this season too, for a minus 11 run differential.  Still any series against the Sox is tough.

May 19-20 vs Tampa Bay – No doubt this is the strongest team in baseball this season and they are accomplishing it with much less talent then teams like the Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies have.  Fortunately, the Yankees have had this team’s number lately, having beaten them 2 out of 3 this season and 9 of 13 dating back to the mid-point of last season.

May 21-23 @ NY Mets - The Mets have had their ups and downs this season but have been mostly up the last couple of weeks.  Games between these two can hardly be called home or away games since the two team’s stadiums sit less than 20 miles apart.

May 24 – That one off-day…But can it really be called an off-day when you have to travel to Minnesota?

May 25-27 @ Minnesota – Previewing a series almost 3 weeks away is pointless.  Just imagine I copied and pasted the description from their previous series in this place.

However, it doesn’t stop here.  Without another day off, the Yankees will face off at home against the Cleveland Indians for a 4 game Memorial Day Weekend series (May 28-31), division rival Baltimore for three games (June 1-3), and finally wrapping it up in Toronto from June 4-6.

In case you lost count, that’s 30 games in 32 days, with 23 of those 30 games coming against teams with winning records.

Whew.

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