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Ten games into the toughest part of the Yankees schedule this season, the Bombers are 5-5.  After taking two of three from the Red Sox, the Yankees lost three of four in Detroit to start 3-4.  Another series win against the Twins brought them back to 5-5.

The Yankees are in the midst of a stretch of 20 straight games against teams with winning records and/or are named the New York Mets or Boston Red Sox.

And it doesn’t get any easier this week.  The Yankees play two each against the Red Sox and Tampa Bay before ending the week with a three game set at CitiField against the Mets.  They’ll then earn a day off to travel to Minnesota for their first series at Minnesota’s new Target Field.

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Mariano Rivera’s major league record streak of 51 consecutive saves at home was broken today when the Minnesota Twins came back from a 3-1 deficit to win 6-3.  The Twins prevented being swept for the fourth series in a row by the Yankees dating back to last season when they rallied against Mo and the Yankees in the top of the eighth inning.

Rivera inherited a bases loaded situation from Joba Chamberlain and it never looked good for Rivera.  He walked his first batter, Jim Thome, allowing a run to score and the lead drop to 3-2.  A few pitches later, Jason Kubel hits a grand slam for the Twins.  Oh, yeah…the same Kubel who is hitting .225.

The last time Rivera blew a save at home was back in August of 2007.  The only other time he allowed a grand slam as a reliever was back in 2002 and the last time he walked someone with bases loaded was in 2005.

We’ve been spoiled as Yankee fans with Mariano Rivera closing games.  He is the epitome of a complete player and a heck of a great pitcher, undoubtedly the best relief pitcher ever.  I think Jorge Posada said it perfectly when he said there wouldn’t be 5 championships without Mo.

It started May 7 and doesn’t end for at least three weeks.  In fact, one could argue that it doesn’t even end for nearly 5 weeks.  For the first 20 games of this stretch, which started this weekend, the Yankees began what is looking like the toughest part of their schedule all season – from May 7 to May 27.

To start off, the Yankees will have to play 20 games during those 21 days, with the only day off coming on Monday May 24.  The worst part, however, is the opposition they are scheduled to face.  Boston, Detroit, Minnesota, Boston, Tampa Bay, NY Mets and Minnesota – all of which having winning records or are the Boston Red Sox.

May 7-9 @ Boston – The Yankees routed the first two games of the series 10-3 and 14-3, before being routed themselves in the Sunday night game, 9-3.  The Yankees are 4-2 against Boston this season in the 6 games they’ve played, all at Fenway Park.

May 10-13 @ Detroit – The Yankees lost the first game of the series, 5-4 on a night that long-time Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell was memorialized after succumbing to cancer last week.  The Yankees send troubled pitcher Javier Vasquez to the mound Tuesday night, high-flying youngster Phil Hughes to the mound on Wednesday night and ace CC Sabathia on Thursday night.  Vasquez skipped his last scheduled start (Friday in Boston) to get some bullpen work in and calm some nerves.  Yankee fans have been pretty hard on him this season for his poor play.  Hughes and Sabathia have been dominating this season, going 4-0 and 4-1 respectively.  Taking the next three in a row would be nice and is very possible, but I would be content with the Bombers leaving Detroit after going 2-2 against the Tigers.  Either way, they should have some momentum built up heading into the weekend series with Minnesota.

May 14-16 vs Minnesota – The Twins sit atop the AL Central at 21-11 and appear to be the third best team in the majors after the Rays and Yankees.  They are tough offensively and are much stronger than the team that the Yankees dominated last season.  This will be a tough series for the Bombers, especially considering the scheduled pitchers are AJ Burnett, who’s always volatile, Andy Pettitte, who’s coming off arm stiffness, and Vasquez, who will be hearing some loud boos if he doesn’t play excellent.

At this point the Yankees will have played 10 straight days – meaning that the Bombers would have most likely scheduled a day off for aging infielders Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez in order to rest them up for the next 10 games.

May 17-18 vs Boston – Boston maybe struggling this season with a 17-16 record as of Monday May 10, but it isn’t because of their hitting like most everyone thought it would be – it’s because of their pitching.  Surprisingly, the Sox are the fourth highest-scoring team in baseball this season.  The problem is they happen to have allowed the third most runs this season too, for a minus 11 run differential.  Still any series against the Sox is tough.

May 19-20 vs Tampa Bay – No doubt this is the strongest team in baseball this season and they are accomplishing it with much less talent then teams like the Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies have.  Fortunately, the Yankees have had this team’s number lately, having beaten them 2 out of 3 this season and 9 of 13 dating back to the mid-point of last season.

May 21-23 @ NY Mets – The Mets have had their ups and downs this season but have been mostly up the last couple of weeks.  Games between these two can hardly be called home or away games since the two team’s stadiums sit less than 20 miles apart.

May 24 – That one off-day…But can it really be called an off-day when you have to travel to Minnesota?

May 25-27 @ Minnesota – Previewing a series almost 3 weeks away is pointless.  Just imagine I copied and pasted the description from their previous series in this place.

However, it doesn’t stop here.  Without another day off, the Yankees will face off at home against the Cleveland Indians for a 4 game Memorial Day Weekend series (May 28-31), division rival Baltimore for three games (June 1-3), and finally wrapping it up in Toronto from June 4-6.

In case you lost count, that’s 30 games in 32 days, with 23 of those 30 games coming against teams with winning records.


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The Yankees entered last night’s game finding out that the Angels had swept the Red Sox, then proceed to do the same themselves.

This sets up a four-day rest for both teams before they face off in the ALCS on Friday night. This was thanks to a 4-1 victory over the hapless, bumbling Twins.

Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada hit seventh-inning home runs to spoil Carl Pavano’s opportunity to frustrate New Yorkers one more time.

But baseball’s highest-paid player returned with a more positive outlook, and New York surged to the top of the AL East.

Mariano Rivera got the last four outs in the final baseball game at the Metrodome, preserving Andy Pettitte’s record-tying 15th career postseason win.

This pitching duel between former teammates Pettitte and Pavano ended with another first-round playoff victory in Minnesota for the Yankees, who also eliminated the Twins here in 2003 and 2004.

The Yankees aren’t about to let an opponent get away with overrunning the bases, as Carlos Gomez did in Game 2 to cost the Twins a run. Nick Punto then wasted his leadoff double in the eighth by failing to see that Denard Span’s single didn’t get past shortstop Jeter, and he was thrown out trying to retreat to third base.

Posada gave Rivera more room with an RBI single in a two-run ninth.

Pettitte, who retired 17 of the first 18 batters he faced, left Joba Chamberlain a 2-1 lead with one out in the seventh. He matched John Smoltz for postseason victories.

Rivera came in to get Mauer on a bat-shattering groundout to end the eighth after the Twins blew their chance to score against Phil Hughes because of Punto’s blunder.

Notes: The Yankees need to be more balanced. Aside from the power from A-Rod, a lucky home run in the 11th inning from Tex, and a home run from Posada last night, as well as timely hitting from Jeter, the rest of the line-up needs to wake up. They cannot do this against the Angels. The Angels have a good line-up and their rotation is evenly matched. We’ll have position by position breakdown later this week.

At some point during last night’s TBS broadcast of the Twins-Yankees battle at Yankee stadium, it was brought up that not only were the Twins 0-5 at Yankee stadium this season, but in each and every game they actually led at some point but still ended up losing.

That was the case again Friday night, as the Twins held 1-0 leads and 3-1 leads before losing 4-3 in the 11th inning off a solo home run by Mark Teixeira.  It was the first walk-off home run in the postseason for Tex, and only the 11th in the storied history of the NY Yankees.

At the end of the ninth inning last night, I get a text from my sister, obviously also a Third Generation Yankee fan.  “I predicted that last inning.”  Followed by a second: “Seriously like Nostradamus here.”  Then my wife (only a second generation Yankee fan) chimes in “I knew they would come back.”

It has gotten to the point with these Yankees that no small lead is safe.  I have lost track of the amount of comebacks they have created, let alone the number of 9th inning and extra inning walk-0ff wins.  I think this is truly the mark of a championship team.

We have a day off today; so no Yankee game on TV.  Sunday’s game, Game 3, in Minnesota is scheduled to begin at 7:07pm.

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