Photos and VideosMore Photos and Videos
Most of us are dreading the idea of spending the next few days in New York City and with good reason.
It is going to be hotter than Hades in these parts with enough humidity to ensure that every subway ride will be an olifactory nightmare. The only respite will come if we're lucky enough to get violent thunderstorms which normally don't qualify as something all that enjoyable.
The Yankees aren't going to be joining the rest of us kvetches, however. They're playing in the Bronx for the first time in two weeks Friday night and they'll be there for 10 games against opposition that makes you smile no matter the weather.
The A's will be in town this weekend, with the Mariners and Orioles following them into town. For those not paying attention, those are the three worst teams in the American League and the three teams that rolled over and played dead for the first 11 games of the Rangers' recent 12-game winning streak.
That means the Yankees will have the rest of July to flex their muscles against teams that have already started playing out the string. Ten games to pad their lead over the Rays, something they failed to do when James Shields shut them down 2-1 on Thursday night, and ten games to use as a springboard to leap over the Red Sox should Boston stumble during that period.
They have ten games to get Phil Hughes, Bartolo Colon and A.J. Burnett straightened out against opposition that hasn't shown all that much ability to score runs against any pitching this season. And they have ten games for Mark Teixeria and Jorge Posada to try to rediscover their batting strokes before they resume battle with the upper crust of the American League.
But, wait, it gets even better. The first four games of August are on the south side of Chicago against a White Sox team that is teetering on the brink of their season going in the wrong direction.
With nine games against the Indians, Tigers and Red Sox remaining in July, there could be very little left in their tank when the Yankees come calling to kick off the dog days of summer. Ozzie Guillen is already ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater, so it won't take all that much for things to go off the rails completely.
After those 14 games, things heat back up. It will be time for the Yankees to renew acquaintances with the Red Sox right after the Chicago trip and they'll have just two off days in the whole month against a better class of competition.
You have to take advantage of moments when the schedule puts wins on a silver platter for you, because it doesn't come up all that often. We'll start finding out if the Yankees will do it on Friday night.