With 60 games coming exclusively against the AL and NL East, the New York Yankees 2020 schedule will be a massive challenge.
Baseball is finally back. After months of negotiations amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York Yankees and the rest of Major League Baseball will kick off the 2020 season July 23 and 24.
While many expect the Yankees to be among the favorites to win the World Series in the shortened season, having to navigate a 60 game schedule that only includes American League East rivals (40 games) and National League East foes (20 games) may make for a bumpier road than expected for the Bombers.
In 2019, only three of the Yankees 2020 opponents finished under .500 in the Baltimore Orioles, Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays.
While Baltimore and Miami are still in the midst of lengthy rebuilds, the Blue Jays have one of baseball’s most exciting young offensive attacks guided by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, signed 2019 NL All-Star game starting pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu and former 15-game winner Tanner Roark and have a bullpen that features a lockdown closer in Ken Giles.
As for the non-playoff teams’ from 2019, New York will match up with the Philadelphia Phillies coming off an 81-81 season but are now guided by former Yankees skipper Joe Girardi who has a lineup of Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins, J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura and former Bomber Didi Gregorius at his disposal along with an ace in Aaron Nola and solid number two starter in Zack Wheeler.
They’ll also have to match up with the cross-town Mets that also figure to be an improved ball club in 2020 despite losing Noah Syndergaard to Tommy John surgery. The Mets rotation is guided by arguably the games’ best pitcher in Jacob DeGrom and their lineup quietly finished 13th in baseball in runs scored and 11th in home runs a year ago.
The Boston Red Sox are the final team that finished above .500 but missed out on October the Yankees will have to face. Boston’s starting rotation and bullpen both have major problems, but a lineup of J.D. Martinez, Rafael Devers, and Xander Bogaerts will still be tough to navigate and the Red Sox will always put up a fight when playing the arch-rival Yankees.
In addition to these three squads, New York has to take on three postseason teams’ from 2019 in the Atlanta Braves, Tampa Bay Rays, and defending world champion Washington Nationals.
The Braves are the two-time defending NL East champions, pose perhaps the NL’s deepest lineup that includes Ronald Acuna Jr., Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, and the newly signed Marcell Ozuna along with a star-studded young rotation guided by Mike Foltynewicz, Mike Soroka and Max Fried.
Tampa has maybe the deepest pitching staff in all of baseball with Charlie Morton and former Cy-Young award winner Blake Snell guiding the rotation and flame throwers Jose Alvarado, Diego Castillo, and Nick Anderson. While pitching is their strong suit, the team did send both outfielder Austin Meadows and infielder Brandon Lowe to the all-star game last season as they finished tied 15th in the majors in runs scored.
When the Yankees take on the defending champion Nationals, there’s a chance they’ll have to face three all-star starting pitchers in Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin while also having to slow down the likes of Juan Soto and Trea Turner at the plate.
While one can argue the Yankees powerful lineup, stacked bullpen and starting rotation that finally has a true ace in Gerrit Cole are better than all of these squads, having to play this schedule with truly only two series that feel like automatic wins’ won’t be easy and with just 60 games to work with, the Yankees cannot afford any long losing streaks if they want to get back to October and contend for World Series title 28.