A year ago, I took a look at April’s schedule and thought about what a good outcome would be for that first month of the 2012 season. It was also a look based on the opponents and the location of the games without rose-colored glasses. The post was the least scientific “projection” you could possibly write. After considering last April’s schedule, I predicted the Yankees would go 14-9 in their opening month and such a record would be a good outcome and start to the season. There was one postponement during April of 2012 and the Yankees went 13-9. Rather than quitting when ahead or perhaps because such a close outcome gives me a false sense of security, I figured I would do the same thing this season.
The Yankees open the season with a three-game home series against the Red Sox. I happen to believe the Red Sox are going to be much tougher this season than they were last season. That is hardly the most profound statement in the world. Gosh, the Red Sox were so bad last season, there is no place to go but up. I believed this before ZiPS came out and other projections that actually use like logic and stuff to project that the Red Sox will probably be a tough team again. Even so, the Yankees are at home, so the expectation here is that they win two out of three.
After those three games at home, the Yankees fly to Detroit to play three games over the first weekend against the Tigers. Perhaps because I still have nightmares about October or perhaps because Justin Verlander will start one of those games, the Tigers should take two out of three from the Bombers. And no, I don’t believe in revenge factors or the old saw about redeeming yourself by facing a team that whooped you.
Then there are four games in Cleveland against the Indians. This series is going to be very interesting. Once again Terry Francona will be sitting in the opposite dugout. Nick Swisher will be swinging for the other team. Jason Giambi might hit a pinch hit home run. This series should be a lot of fun to watch. Of course, April in Detroit and Cleveland is always a good idea, schedulers. Good luck getting all those games in. If they do play all four, I see a split.
A six game home stand follows the Cleveland series and it starts with the Orioles. The Orioles are not getting much love in projections this year despite pushing the Yankees until the last day of the season a year ago. Buck Showalter always has his team ready to face the Yankees. But with the series at the Stadium, the Yankees take two of three.
After the Orioles, the Diamondbacks come into town. It might be the home town fans’ chance to see Ian Kennedy again. Frankly, I have no idea what the Diamondbacks were doing this off season. They surprised a lot of people two years ago by playing good defense. They have traded most of that defense away. If he makes the team, Adam Eaton will be the only plus fielder. It’s just bizarre. I think the Yankees will sweep all three of these games.
The Yankees will hop on a plane after sweeping the Diamondbacks and will head to Toronto to play a much improved Blue Jays team. Jose Bautista will be back. The starting pitching will be better. The fans will be pumped up there. The Blue Jays take two out of three.
After a weekend of the Blue Jays, the Yankees will fly to St. Pete to play the Rays. That place has become a death trap for the Yankees. They simply cannot seem to win there and Joe Girardi seems to over-manage (well…more than usual) against Joe Maddon. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Rays swept this series. I wouldn’t be surprised at all.
The Yankees still don’t get an off day and travel home to face the Blue Jays for a four game series. The Yankees play better at home. It’s as simple as that. But these Blue Jays will be tough. Jose Reyes returns to New York. The combination of R.A. Dickey and Brandon Morrow will mess with the Yankees’ minds and the series will end in a split.
The month of April ends with a breather, or at least it appears to be one on paper. The Astros, freshly-minted mince meat for the American League, will make their first trip to Yankee Stadium. The series wraps around to the first of May, but this is about April. The Yankees better win the first two. Otherwise, it sure will be embarrassing.
Okay, let’s add it all up. By my count, the month of April will end with the Yankees holding a 15-13 record. That’s not a great record for the first month of the season. But it’s not a disaster either. Of course, if the Yankees’ players keep dropping like Spanish Armada ships in the English Channel, all bets are off.