By Joe Pantorno
When it comes to the New York Yankees’ chances in 2020, it really didn’t matter what kind of schedule Major League Baseball put in front of them for this 60-game sprint set to begin on July 23.
The Bronx Bombers are one of the World Series favorites with a team stacked to the gills with star power on both sides of the ball. Signing one of the game’s best pitchers in Gerrit Cole to a mega-deal will do that for you.
Expected to be one of the game’s most entertaining teams, the Yankees were scheduled by MLB to open up the season with the very first game played on July 23 in Washington, D.C. against the defending-champion Nationals (7:10 p.m. ET, ESPN).
The baseball world will get a first glimpse at Cole in Yankee colors as he’s expected to square off in a titanic pitching matchup against Nationals ace, Max Scherzer.
July 23-26: at Washington Nationals (3 games)
July 27-28: at Philadelphia Phillies (2 games)
July 29-30: vs. Philadelphia Phillies (2 games)
July 31-Aug. 2: vs. Boston Red Sox (3 games)
Aug. 3-Aug. 5: at Baltimore Orioles (3 games)
Aug. 6-Aug. 9: at Tampa Bay Rays (4 games)
Aug. 11-12: vs. Atlanta Braves (2 games)
Aug. 14-17: vs. Boston Red Sox (4 games)
Aug. 18-20: vs. Tampa Bay Rays (3 games)
Aug. 21-23: at New York Mets (3 games)
Aug. 25-26: at Atlanta Braves (2 games)
Aug. 28-30: vs. New York Mets (3 games)
Aug. 31-Sept. 2: vs. Tampa Bay Rays (3 games)
Sept. 4-6: at Baltimore Orioles (3 games)
Sept. 7-9: at Toronto Blue Jays (3 games)
Sept. 10-13: vs. Baltimore Orioles (4 games)
Sept. 15-17: vs. Toronto Blue Jays (3 games)
Sept. 18-20: at Boston Red Sox (3 games)
Sept. 21-24 at Toronto Blue Jays (4 games)
Sept. 25-27 vs. Miami Marlins (3 games)
It’s an early test for a Yankees squad that won’t have much time to ease into the schedule. A pair of two-game series against Bryce Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies follow before a three-game matchup with the arch-rival Boston Red Sox.
Into August, things don’t let up much, either. A three-game set in Baltimore against the last-place Orioles is followed by meetings with a Tampa Bay Rays team that finished second in the AL East last season with 96 wins, the defending NL East-champion Atlanta Braves, who won 97 games in 2019, and another four games against the Red Sox in the Bronx.
The following 14 games are then cycled between the Rays, Braves, and the crosstown-rival Mets to finish out August — a significant haul even for one of baseball’s best teams.
Once the calendar flips to September, however, things get significantly easier for the Yankees.
Twenty of their final 23 games come against the Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, and Miami Marlins — three teams who combined to put up a record of 178-308 for a dismal win-percentage of .366.
If the Yankees hold any sort of commanding lead in the AL East entering September, the divisional crown is as good as theirs.