By Joe Pantorno
With Major League Baseball’s hiatus officially nearing an end, the parameters of the 2020 season are being revealed as the owners and players’ association agreed to terms.
Now, the Yankees’ expected pursuit of World Series title No. 28 can begin to materialize with a 60-game sprint of a schedule waiting for them beginning around July 24.
There is no margin for error when play begins as a slow start could doom any team’s postseason chances compared to the long haul of a usual 162 games.
While they’re favorites for World Series contention, the Yankees’ upcoming schedule will be anything but a cakewalk.
Major League Baseball mandated that in its schedule, a team will play each of its divisional rivals 10 times during the season.
For the Yankees, that means 10 matchups against the Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays, and Toronto Blue Jays.
The Yankees held winning records against each of those AL East rivals, going 14-5 against the Red Sox, 17-2 against the Orioles, 12-7 against the Rays, and 11-8 against the Blue Jays.
The secondary part of their schedule might cause some problems, though, as the remaining 20 games will come against the teams of the geographically corresponding league. For the Yankees, that means playing each of the NL East teams four times.
While the Rays pose to be the only true threat in the AL East, the NL East is expected to be one of the most competitive leagues in baseball with the defending-champion Washington Nationals trying to keep their crown against the defending NL East-champion Atlanta Braves, the Bryce Harper-led Philadelphia Phillies, and the up-and-coming New York Mets.
The Mets were the only NL East opponent the Yankees played last year with the two splitting a four-game series.