Reviewing the 2016 Yankees Schedule by Month

girardiAs we settle into the worst part of the sports’ schedule (the lonely week between the end of football and pitchers and catchers reporting) it’s time to look ahead at the Yankees’ regular season schedule. Obviously it’s impossible to know which teams will be worse or better from last season, but we can still take educated guesses and compare accordingly.

Here is a review, month by month, of the Yankees’ schedule and level of difficulty.

April: Difficult

New York is going to be challenged from day one with a rematch of the play-in game when they open the season at home against Houston. The Astros may face some regression with so many young players being counted on, but they face no downgrades from last year’s roster.

It doesn’t get much easier after that.

The Yankees open up Detroit’s home games immediately following Houston and then get thrown into facing the Blue Jays in Toronto. After a brief reprieve with Seattle and Oakland (I personally hate the Yankees facing bad teams early), the Yankees deal with the Rays, Rangers and Red Sox to finish the month. A lot of teams below .500, but most of them within the division.

Divisional Games: 8

Games vs 2015 Playoff Teams: 9

Games vs 2015 Teams At or Below .500: 14

Games vs Red Sox: 2

Off Days: 4

May: Moderate

The Yankees traditionally play pretty well in May and this month will be a mixed bag for them in 2016. The Yankees open with seven divisional games and then the defending champion Royals. On paper, it should be a cake walk but it’s the month of facing new and improved teams (like the Diamondbacks) and/or division rivals  This month also meets more matchups with the Blue Jays. All in all, some potential to get on a roll, but a lot of divisional games. Two off days the entire month doesn’t help matters.

Divisional Games: 15

Games vs 2015 Playoff Teams: 9

Games vs 2015 Teams At or Below .500: 20

Games vs Red Sox: 4

Off Days: 2

June: Soft

This should be the Yankees’ chance to really take off. Early season woes out of the way, too early for catastrophic injuries or endurance issues and a pretty soft schedule with consistent off days. New York plays 15 games combined against the Rockies (who might be the worst team in baseball), the Twins (who they historically own) and the Angels in New York (where LA has struggled mightily in recent years.) While on paper the schedule looks difficult with only 10 games against 2015 teams who lost more than they won, the Yankees’ specific match ups are favorable.

Divisional Games: 4

Games vs 2015 Playoff Teams: 5

Games vs 2015 Teams At or Below .500: 10

Games vs Red Sox: 0

Off Days: 4

July: Moderate

It’s an interesting month with the All Star break and most of the non-waiver deadline built in. The first half of the month is relatively easy with San Diego and the White Sox, but becomes difficult after the break immediately at home against the Red Sox before a rematch with Houston and hosting the Giants and it’s remade pitching staff.

Divisional Games: 10

Games vs 2015 Playoff Teams: 3

Games vs 2015 Teams At or Below .500: 16

Games vs Red Sox: 3

Off Days: 5

August: Difficult

By now everything could be completely different when August actually comes around. The bad teams will have decided to fold for the rest of the year, the good teams will have made trade deadline deals and the injuries will start to surface like they did last year at this time. So keeping all of that in mind, it’s a pretty brutal start to the month facing the: Mets Indians and Red Sox. Another series with the Royals and Blue Jays doesn’t make things easier as the Yankees will likely face really tough, young pitching this month with the: Rays, Mets and Indians all involved.

Divisional Games: 12

Games vs 2015 Playoff Teams: 10

Games vs 2015 Teams At or Below .500: 12

Games vs Red Sox: 3

Off Days: 3

September/October: Difficult

The Yankees really received no favors in the “second half” of the schedule, but it’s something most teams are likely going to go through with a high amount of divisional games and potential rivalry matchups. The Yankees play virtually the AL East for the entire month and when they don’t it’s a random series with the Dodgers, who should still be pretty tough. Even if these teams are out of it, division rivals tend to play tough, so the Yankees will have to finish playing well to get through the month.

There’s no reason to believe these games won’t be relevant, but I wouldn’t anticipate the same sort of padding the Yankees had down the stretch in 2015 for this year. Also, when they probably need it most, New York will have just one off day. This is when prospects panning out will go a long way to serve as reinforcements for the team come call up time.

Divisional Games: 27

Games vs 2015 Playoff Teams: 10

Games vs 2015 Teams At or Below .500: 20

Games vs Red Sox: 7

Off Days: 1

 

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