COMMENTARY | The New York Yankees will see a lot of the American League East in April.
After completing their rain-shortened set in Cleveland on Thursday, April 11, the Yankees will return home for three games with the Baltimore Orioles and later in the month will face road tests at both Toronto and Tampa Bay.
Orioles, Yankees to Pick Up Where ALDS Left Off
Baltimore and New York will play three games at Yankee Stadium April 12-14 in the first meeting between the teams since their five-game American League Division Series last October.
The Sunday finale will be the national Sunday night game of the week on ESPN, scheduled for 8 p.m. (EDT).
The Orioles and Yankees entered Thursday, April 11 tied for second place in the AL East at 4-4, one game behind the Boston Red Sox. New York has won three straight after a 1-4 start while the Orioles picked up a dramatic win on Wednesday, April 10 at Boston, beating the Red Sox 8-5 with a five-run outburst in the ninth inning.
CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte, the top of the New York rotation, are scheduled to work the series with the Orioles, who will counter with Miguel Gonzalez, Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen.
First Peek at New-Look Blue Jays
After completing a six-game homestand against the Orioles and Arizona Diamondbacks (the first April interleague games in Yankee history), New York will head north of the border to Toronto for a three-game weekend set with the new-look Toronto Blue Jays on April 19-21.
The Jays acquired a host of new faces this winter, signing free-agent outfielder Melky Cabrera and trading for shortstop Jose Reyes and starting pitchers R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson.
Toronto has won just three of its first eight games through Wednesday, April 10, as the new parts continue to figure out how to mesh.
The Yankees will also host the Blue Jays for four games April 25-28.
Off to St. Pete for Three-Game Set with Rays
Upon leaving Toronto, the Yankees will head south to St. Petersburg, Fla., for three games with the always-tough Tampa Bay Rays. Tampa Bay is 4-5 to start the new season through Wednesday, April 10 but with the wealth of young pitching the Rays have, headlined by reigning AL Cy Young winner David Price along with Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson and Alex Cobb, Tampa Bay is capable of staying in low-scoring games.
Evan Longoria is the headliner in the Rays' batting order, but Ben Zobrist is off to a sizzling start, hitting 12-for-33 through his first nine games with a homer and nine RBIs.
These April divisional games are particularly important for the Yankees because they are trying to keep themselves in the division race until injured stars such as Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira can make their return. Granderson and Teixeira both expect to be back in May, with Jeter unlikely to rejoin the active roster until next month.
Phil Watson is a freelance journalist and commentator based in upper Michigan who covers the New York Yankees for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.
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