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Who knows what the MLB was thinking when they created the 2010 schedule but I can only guess that they didn’t think the AL East would come down to the Yankees and the Rays.

While the Yankees play out the final three weeks of the season against the Rays, Orioles, Rays(HOME), Red Sox(HOME), Blue Jays, Red Sox in that order.  Plus, as you probably noticed only two of those 6 series are home or 7 of the total 19 games that will be played.  All are against AL East rivals.

Comparably, the Rays will play out the final three weeks of the season against the Yankees(HOME), Angels(HOME), Yankees, Seattle(HOME), Orioles(HOME), and Royals.  Four of the six series are at home or 12 of a total 16 games.  Only 10 games are against division rivals and 9 of the games are against teams with a losing record, or pretty much every team not named the Yankees.

I don’t think this qualifies as a conspiracy against the Yankees or anything but it is something to think about.  Draw your own conclusions, but the Yankees face an uphill battle finishing the season while the Rays can coast to a potential division title.

Ten games into the toughest part of the Yankees schedule this season, the Bombers are 5-5.  After taking two of three from the Red Sox, the Yankees lost three of four in Detroit to start 3-4.  Another series win against the Twins brought them back to 5-5.

The Yankees are in the midst of a stretch of 20 straight games against teams with winning records and/or are named the New York Mets or Boston Red Sox.

And it doesn’t get any easier this week.  The Yankees play two each against the Red Sox and Tampa Bay before ending the week with a three game set at CitiField against the Mets.  They’ll then earn a day off to travel to Minnesota for their first series at Minnesota’s new Target Field.

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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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When trying to find a ticket seller for baseball tickets, try VividSeats.com. They’re a leading seller of sports event tickets and have reasonable prices for some of the biggest games this year. They offer cheap Yankees tickets throughout the season and you can view the full schedule and seating charts.

ESPN released their weekly MLB Power rankings today and there were several changes in the top 10 this week, most notably the Yankees losing their grip on the number one spot.  After a week which saw the Tampa Bay Rays go 5-2 and improve their record to an MLB-best 14-5 compared to the Yankees 3-3 record during the week.

Tampa Bay is looking stronger as this short season progresses with a ridiculous, I repeat, ridiculous run differential of +50.  All this without major starting pitching and without a dominating closer.

The Yankees have struggled to hold leads over the last week and suffered a bad outing from struggling starting pitcher Javy Vasquez.  Nonetheless, they are still winners of 7 of their last 10 and face the 3-16 Baltimore Orioles and 8-11 Chicago White Sox in their next 9 games.

Finishing off the top ten are Minnesota and Philadelphia at 3 and 4 after swapping spots last week, St Louis at 5, Oakland moved up to 6 from the 9 spot, San Diego jumped from 21 to 7, San Francisco, Florida and Los Angeles Angels round off the top ten.

You can check it out at ESPN by clicking here.

The

Just about three weeks into the season, baseball is led by two teams in virtually every category.  Both have won more than two-thirds of their games and took several in pretty dominating fashion.  One will most likely win the AL East this season, while the other will settle for the wild card.  These two teams will most likely face each other in the ALCS this season, too.

After wins again on Saturday, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays are dominating.  At 12-5 and 13-5, respectively, they boast the two best records in baseball this season.  With Philadelphia, they are the only teams to have scored more than 90 runs in the majors and along with Minnesota, the only teams to allow less than 63 runs in the American League.

Since losing two of three from the Yankees earlier in April, the Rays are and impressive 10-2, sweeping Baltimore and Boston – not to mention in Baltimore and Boston – along the way.  The Yankees have been almost as impressive, going 9-3 in that span, sweeping Texas and taking three of five from the LA Angels.

When you seem them on the field, the two teams seem to be in a whole other league.  Both are dominant offensively and defensively.  Both boast speedy outfields with defense-minded infielders who happen to hit very well.

Of the nine players on the Yankees with 50 or more at-bats, 5 are hitting over .300 and seven of the nine boast on-base percentages of .350 or greater.  Robinson Cano has earned the fifth spot in the order after getting off to a great start.  He’s hitting .369 with 13 RBI and 4 homers – all team highs.

The Yankee rotation has four pitchers with very good outings this season, including two almost no-hitters from CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes.  Andy Pettitte leads the team and is tied for the league-lead in wins, with 3, and leads the league with a 1.29 ERA.  Mariano Rivera leads the league in saves, with 6.

The Tampa Bay offense is far less impressive from a numbers standpoint, but somehow they manage to get on base and score runs.  They only have one hitter with 50 AB hitting over .300 – Carl Crawford – but the Rays seem to make it happen when it counts.  Seven guys have 8 or more RBI this season, putting each on pace for 100+ this season.  Carlos Pena, at a staggering 17 RBI, is on pace for 229.  And he’s hitting only .233.

On the mound, the Rays are a little more impressive with Matt Garza sitting at 3-1 with a 2.17 ERA and 25 strikeouts.  David Price and James Shields each have 2 wins apiece.  Rafael Soriano has been a half-way decent closer, with 4 saves on the season, but he’s no Rivera.

I have a feeling these teams will battle strong throughout the season.  Boston has begun the season 7-10 and can’t figure out how to hit or pitch consistently.  I think they won’t finish under .500 this season, but I don’t think they’ll challenge either of these teams for a playoff spot this season.  Baltimore and Toronto are not strong either.

The road to the World Series will most likely travel through the Bronx or St Pete in October.  The two teams next face off on May 19 in the Bronx with the Yankees in the midst of a tough 7-game homestand.

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When trying to find a ticket seller for baseball tickets, try VividSeats.com. They’re a leading seller of sports event tickets and have reasonable prices for some of the biggest games this year. They offer cheap Yankees tickets throughout the season and you can view the full schedule and seating charts.

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