Tonight, they begin a six-game road trip against division opponents Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees are in third place in the AL East and could make up some of that ground against the division-leading Orioles. The best they could get after the series is three games out, but that is still far better than six and could be a digger hole if they do not turn things around.
The team did announce that starting pitcher Michael Pineda is expected to return and start Wednesday’s game. This is good news for a team that currently has one remaining pitcher from their Opening Day starting rotation, but pitching has not been the real issue lately. The Yankees’ offense just went through a scoreless drought that ended at 19 innings when outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury homered in the ninth inning of Sunday’s game. The bats will need to wake up and help support the pitching staff that has kept the opposing offenses from scoring more than four runs in eight of their first 10 games in August.
The series against Tampa Bay should be a step in the right direction for the Yankees. The Rays are three games under .500 and 4-6 in their last 10 games. They are 10 games out of the AL East race and 6.5 games out of the Wild Card. The team does not look as if they will be making a late playoff push, and talks indicate that they could be make more roster space through waivers.
If the Yankees were to turn things around while in Baltimore, they could use their short stint in Tampa Bay as a way to work their way up in the standings and stay in the playoff picture, assuming they will not just take the series as a given.