The wait is almost over, as the New York Yankees open their season this coming Tuesday. The MLB season is so long that when the schedule comes out during the winter it is not really a big deal like it is in the NFL since they only have 16 games. However, the April schedule is always fun to look at with the excitement of the new season kicking in.
The Yankees have a total of 13 away games and 14 home games in April, so their schedule is very balanced. There is no west coast swing in April, and my preference always is to get them out of the way early in the season so that you do not have to go out there during the grind of the season. However, they only have to go to Oakland, Seattle and Los Angeles once this season, so it is not really a big deal.
The Yankees have many marquee games on the calendar for the first month of the season. Their first six games are at Houston and Toronto, which on paper should be an easy road trip to get the year started. New York went 14-5 against Toronto last year, although most of their dominance took place at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees then have a nine game home stand with three games against Baltimore, four against Boston and two against the Cubs. The division games are always huge for the Yankees, and the Yankees need to beat those teams at home. The first Yankees and Red Sox series of the season should be interesting with all the new Yankees playing in the rivalry for the first time and Jacoby Ellsbury facing his former team.
The two games against the Cubs should be a lot of fun. The Yankees and Cubs are two of the most historic teams in baseball, and they do not get to play much since they are in different leagues. So, it is special when they get together, and they will also play two games at Wrigley Field in May.
After the home stand, the Yankees will embark on what perhaps will be the toughest road trip of the season, even though it is only in April. New York will play four games in Tampa followed by three games at Fenway Park. Tropicana Field has been an absolute house of horrors for the Yankees over the years with its awful catwalks and the Rays dominating them.
It seems like the Yankees visit Fenway Park every April, and those are usually high scoring and fun games. Ellsbury will probably not get a good reception from Boston fans since they were not really fond of him before he took the money and ran to New York.
Finally, the Yankees will end the month at home against the Angels and Mariners. Normally, there would be zero buzz for an April series against Seattle, but of course this will feature Robinson Cano's first game back at Yankee Stadium, making it one of the biggest games of the season.
Hopefully, the Yankee fans in attendance will give him a long standing ovation for his nine outstanding seasons in New York. Unfortunately, I'm sure he will hear some boos for nonsense like not running hard to first all of the time and having the gall to take by far the most money from Seattle.
So, with marquee games against Boston, Tampa Bay, Chicago and Seattle the Yankees need to come out strong in April. Obviously, if you get out to a slow start you have plenty of time to make it up in 162 games, but it is always nice just to get out to a nice early lead in your division.