Yankee fans have finally had something to cheer about over the past few days after a dismal beginning to the 2016 season. The Bombers beat the Royals, 6-3, on Monday night to give themselves three wins in four days. Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks all went deep in Monday night’s game, while Aroldis Chapman shut the door in his first appearance of the season and touched 101 mph on the radar gun.
But the Yankees are still well under .500 and sit in last place in the AL East. They face a difficult stretch of games from now until the end of May. The Pinstripers still have to deal with the 2015 World Series Champion Royals midweek before squaring off with the AL’s best team, the Chicago White Sox, over the weekend. They’re currently in line to face Chris Sale (7-0, 1.79 ERA) on Friday, and Sale has befuddled them in the past (3-1, 1.21 ERA in six career starts).
After that series concludes the Bombers will go on the road to face the Diamondbacks, where they’ll have no DH to assist what’s been a surprisingly lackluster Yankees offense this season. They rank in the bottom third in most offensive categories of note, including average (.233), runs (107), and slugging percentage (.369).
Then the Yankees will be matched up with the Athletics at Oakland Coliseum. The A’s are under .500 at the moment, but the Yankees are 3-7 in their last 10 games against them, including a series sweep at their hands in late April.
This spate of road games could further damage the Yankees’ chances of climbing back into the AL East race, as they are an awful 4-10 away from the Stadium this year.
After a needed day off that will conclude a span of 20 games in as many days, the Yankees will have to face the Blue Jays, who gave them fits last year (they were 6-13 against their neighbors to the north) and ultimately beat them out of the division crown. The Yankees will face Toronto five times before the month of May ends, with a road series against the Rays sandwiched in between.
The last thing the Yankees need this month is DL casualties piling up, but that’s been exactly what’s happening. Alex Rodriguez and C.C. Sabathia have already missed time due to hamstring and groin problems, and Jacoby Ellsbury could soon join them on the sideline as he tweaked his hip running the bases in a game against the Red Sox last Friday.
“You start to worry about your depth a little bit when [injuries] start to mount,” New York manager Joe Girardi told reporters on Monday. “It can add up, and we’ve seen it add up in the past.”
Ellsbury’s replacement is Hicks, who before Monday night’s game was hitting a dreadful .122 in 41 prior at-bats.