(In addition to appearing at The Captain’s Blog, this post is also being syndicated at TheYankeeU.)
The offseason is not over for the Yankees (they are reportedly nearing a deal for Andruw Jones), but as the days until pitchers and catchers wind down, it’s only naturally to shift focus from the moves being made in the front office to the schedule that lies ahead. Below is an initial breakdown of the Yankees’ 2011 campaign as well as a comparison to the slate of games that awaits the Boston Red Sox.
Yankees’ and Red Sox’ 2011 Schedule: Home/Road Breakdown
|Home||Road||Off Days||Home||Road||Off Days|
Source: Yankees.com and Redsox.com
The Yankees jump out of the gate with 19 home games in April, more than any other month during the season. Over the first three months, the team will play 48 games in the Bronx, leaving the second half of the schedule dominated by road trips. In particular, August figures to be a real challenge. During the dog days of the pennant drive, the Yankees will find themselves on the road for 20 games. One positive is the Yankees only have to make two cross country flights. Since 2006, the team has had either three or four (2007) trips to the Pacific time zone. It should be noted, however, the one of the trips out west is an old school nine-game jaunt from Seattle down to Los Angeles, while the other is a six game stint in September.
The Red Sox have the most games at Fenway during May, but otherwise have a well balanced schedule: the first three months include 40 games at home and 42 on the road. However, the team does have five road trips of at least eight games (including three nine-game trips and one 10-game journey), compared to the Yankees’ three (including two nine game trips). To their advantage, Boston’s two trips to the West Coast will only involve nine games, while the Yankees’ two visits encompass 15. Also, the Red Sox will have four homestands of at least nine games, including one of 10 and 11. The Yankees, on the other hand, will only have two.
Yankees and Red Sox 2011 Schedule: Opponent Breakdown
|Blue Jays||9||9||Blue Jays||9||9|
|White Sox||4||4||White Sox||3||3|
Source: Yankees.com and Redsox.com
Because of the current divisional setup as well as the existence of interleague play, division rivals do not play the same schedules. The most significant differences between the slate of teams that the Yankees and Red Sox will play are noted below:
- The Red Sox will play one more game (and four more on the road) against the American League Champion Texas Rangers. Although the Rangers don’t seem as formidable without Cliff Lee, they still figure to be the team to beat in the A.L. West. Against the West Coast teams, the Yankees will not only play two more games (one more against the Angels and Athletics), but as previously mentioned, six more of them will take place on the road.
- It looks as if the Yankees have a tougher schedule against the A.L. Central. Although the relative quality of the Twins, Tigers and White Sox is hard to figure at this point, it does seem more certain that the Royals and Indians will bring up the rear. If so, the Red Sox will benefit from having five more games against those two teams. Meanwhile, the Yankees have four more games against the other three teams in the Central.
- In interleague, the Yankees could benefit from a down year for their cross-town rival. Meanwhile, the Red Sox must make a visit to Philadelphia to face the Phillies’ vaunted pitching staff. Unlike last year, however, the Red Sox have shed the Phillies as their “rival”, and will therefore not have to play them six games. Instead, they pick up an extra three game series against the woeful Pirates, which almost evens out the Yankees six games against the Mets. The rest of the interleague schedule also seems to tilt in Boston’s favor: the Yankees must face the Rockies and Reds, while the Red Sox will square up against the Astros and Padres.
Most experts believe that the Red Sox have assumed the mantle of favorite thanks to a busy offseason that has bolstered the team’s offense. However, it seems as if the schedule may also be a factor in helping Boston overcome the Yankees in 2011. Because so many things can change during the season, and strength of schedule is often more about when you play a team than whom you play, you can’t really read too much into an early comparison. Nonetheless, the Yankees do seem to face a more difficult road in 2011, which could make the offseason’s finishing touches all the more significant.