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Archive for July 22nd, 2011

(In addition to appearing at The Captain’s Blog, this post is also being syndicated at TheYankeeAnalysts.)

With the trade deadline looming, the next 10 days could determine which teams will enter the stretch drive in the best position. For some clubs, however, the biggest impact could come from their upcoming schedule, not a potential acquisition.

After a disappointing 4-4 road trip following the All Star Break, the Yankees return to the Bronx looking to gain some ground on the division leading Red Sox. Luckily, the upcoming 10-game home stand, which includes three of the league’s worst teams, seems ideally suited for that purpose. Not only have the Yankees compiled a 10-2 record against the Athletics, Mariners, and Orioles, but those three teams have a combined winning percentage of .350 (49-91) on the road. Sometimes Yankees’ fans can be accused of being greedy, but in this case, expecting at least eight wins doesn’t seem that outlandish.

If the Yankees’ offense was firing on all cylinders, it wouldn’t be a stretch to envision them steamrolling through the next 10 games. However, the Yankees wOBA of .306 over the past 14 days ranks even lower than the rates posted by the Athletics and Orioles. The arrival of these weaker opponents could be viewed as being just what the doctor ordered, but if the Yankees can’t score enough to take advantage of the schedule, the lull could wind up being a lost opportunity.

Unfortunately, the next 10 games might not be about making hay because the Red Sox also have a very easy schedule over the same span. Although not as favorable as the Yankees’ upcoming slate, the Red Sox’ next three series are against teams that have a combined road (Mariners and Royals)/home (White Sox) winning percentage of .390 (53-83). With Boston’s offense performing at peak levels, it’s hard to imagine them losing too many games over the next 10 days, so the Yankees can’t afford any slipups.

A.L. East Contenders’ Schedule Breakdown (click to enlarge)

Note: Composite winning percentage based on the current home/road record multiplied by the number of related games remaining.
Source: MLB.com

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