There is currently no Yankees baseball being played, but we can still imagine what the first month of the 2020 season would have been like.
A month ago, Yankees fans should have been 10 beers deep (or white claws depending on your preference) enjoying our Opening Day beat down of the Baltimore Orioles. While the United States is still in this social distancing phase, it is apparent we have missed baseball like no other. Over the course of the weekend, football fans were able to enjoy the highly anticipated 2020 NFL Draft. If you tuned in, the New York teams helped themselves out in an enormous way. While we are still suffering, one couldn’t help but think how much baseball would benefit from being the only sport available to sports junkies.
As we mourn the season being suspended, we can be creative and try and piece together how the first month of Yankees baseball as it has helped us escape reality. Let’s take a dive into the March and April schedule and see what we find. Just to make things fair, the Yankees would most certainly not have Aaron Judge, James Paxton, Giancarlo Stanton, and of course Aaron Hicks to start the season. No one knew who won the rotation’s fifth spot so a gut feeling suggests either a bullpen day or Luis Cessa was getting the nod. Luis Cessa has pitched superbly over the course of the spring and it seemed like the best fit going into the season.
With the start of the season starting in Baltimore, we can expect a sweep and a million home runs from Gleyber Torres, right? Shout out to Gary Thorne! No, but seriously, Boone has stressed the importance of treating every game with a great deal of importance and I do expect the Yankees to at least take two out of three against Baltimore. So opening up the season winning the first series is crucial. Gerrit Cole gets the Opening Day start and one could assume he pitches an absolute gem. Followed up with Tanaka and Happ pitching respectively but the bats would not produce in one of the games in this three-game set. No biggie, we have them at home next week.
Traveling to the absolute worst stadium in America, Tropicana Field, the Yankees must encounter a three-game set against their best competition in the AL East. Should the Yankees be worried going in with Montgomery and Cessa setting the tone for the series? Absolutely not because our bats wake up and lift this team to a series sweep. Last year, the Yankees had the Rays number, this year it continues with the offense absolutely laying into the Rays pitching staff. No Aaron Judge/Giancarlo Stanton, no problem. Gleyber Torres continues his onslaught of AL East pitching and the Rays welcome Miguel Andujar back in grand fashion as he picks up where he left off in the 2018 season. With their current record at 5-1, the Yankees travel back home to compete against the Toronto Blue Jays with their fountain of youth beginning to round into form.
While I do not think the Blue Jays will be competitive all year, I do believe they will give us the biggest headache of 2020. Our home opener will be a lackluster performance but I do believe they will bounce back for a well-fought game two victories. This three-game set will display the “Baby Jays” offensive prowess against the pitching staff. Each game starts at 1:05 PM, and for some reason, I feel more comfortable with a later start time. With the bats struggling most of the series, the Blue Jays’ power is too much for the Yankees this early in the season. Our first series loss of the season comes at the hands of Toronto and our record sits at 6-3. Staying in the Bronx to face the Orioles for the second time this season for a four-game set.
Benefiting from an easy schedule early on helps the Yankees get their team chemistry to reach great heights. Winning obviously creates a fantastic clubhouse atmosphere. So with the Orioles series, taking three out four seems most logical. There is little firepower on that Baltimore team, but you can’t win them all. However, we Yankee fans will cherish every game and a series win is nothing sweeter. The MVP of the series, Luke Voit. Hitting two runs and driving in eight RBIs makes him the unsung hero of this series as they continue the revenge tour. Dropping the last game of the set (a day game), the Yankees go across the country to visit the Oakland As where we look to take advantage of a three-game west coast trip. Sitting at a pretty 9-4, that flight will be awfully comfortable.
Knowing how competitive Oakland has been the past couple of years, it makes sense if the Yankees do not dominate them. With the likes of Matt Chapman, Matt Olsen, and Marcus Sieman, the nucleus Oakland has been able to assemble is quite remarkable. Therefore, factoring a cross coast travel experience and a fast start, I could see the Yankees struggling to find their groove throughout the series. Gerrit Cole finally has his first non-quality start of the season and Yankees Twitter goes absolutely bananas.
In all seriousness, dropping two to a potential playoff team in April is not the end of the world and the A’s just had their number this series. DJ LeMahieu has his break out series and finally plays to the ability that Yankee fans are accustomed to. They look to rebound with a quick turnaround the next day as they play the Texas Rangers. Currently, the Yankees are looking at a 10-6 record amongst the best in the league.
Texas was able to improve their team as they move into their brand new stadium, but the Yankees come back and trample the Rangers to the tone of the three-game sweep and an overall stellar outing from Montgomery. The offense provides timely hitting and the Yankees end up looking like the team they were supposed to be throughout the offseason. Happ has his best outing of the season tossing a scoreless seven innings and shutting down a Rangers lineup that had no hope coming into the series. A 13-6 record, a day off, and coming back to the Bronx is something we could picture right now.
One of the “winners” of the offseason, the Cincinnati Reds come to town with glowing confidence. With the Yankees coming off of convincing wins against the Rangers, the Reds are again no match, as the Yanks take two out of three with Cessa being the bright spot in the rotation. Giancarlo Stanton makes his return to the lineup and immediately gets things underway with a rocket double down the left-field line to score two in his first game back. Stanton does not look back and plays very well over the course of the three-game series as Boone eases him back into the lineup. Knowing how important his health his, Boone gives him a day off in the second game of the series. With a 15-7 record, the Yankees are looking every bit of what the experts were saying.
A long stay in Detriot does not do the Yankees any favors as the series is split. This four-game series gets ugly in the two losses as the starters do not pitch well. There really is little cause for concern as this happens to every great team looking to solidify themselves as a championship contender. Austin Romine, one of our dear friends and beloved Yankees over the years absolutely shows us why they miss him after going 7-12 in the series with a pair of home runs. I can already picture myself tweeting how much I miss him backing up Sanchez. No worries, Sanchez returns the favor and breaks out of his season-long slump with three home runs in the series causing Yankees fans to silence. Dropping two to the lowly Tigers has the Yankees staring at a 17-9 record on their way back home to care of business against the surging Indians.
Another tough series for the Bronx Bombers as they drop two out of three with Tanaka having a brutal outing. As we are sitting here on April 27thon an off day where the Yankees haven’t played well in a week, fans start the panic meter. Of course, there is no yelling at Rothchild considering he is on the West Coast getting his tan on with the Padres. The Yankees start to collect their thoughts even though they are 18-11 and sitting atop the AL East. We have Detroit tomorrow guys so get some sleep we have Yankees baseball to look forward to!