30 of final 36 games for Yanks vs. AL East

Friday night at Yankee Stadium the Yankees began a stretch in which they will play American League East opponents 30 times over the final 36 games of the regular season. A trip to Kansas City next week and an inter-league series at the Stadium next month against the Dodgers are the only games the Yanks have left against clubs outside their division.

The Yankees began play Friday night against the Orioles 5 1/2 games out of first place in the AL East and also 5 1/2 games behind for the second wild card slot. The Red Sox and the Blue Jays were tied for first in the division with the Orioles 1 1/2 games behind. The Yanks’ record against divisional opponents is 19-27 (.413).

Yankees manager Joe Girardi talked before the game about his club’s need to keep winning series to gain ground, but that alone will not get the Yankees back into serious contention for a playoff berth. Joe said that if the Yankees continue to win two out of three games they will gain ground because most of their opponents are those they are trying to catch.

Simple math explains, however, that if a team wins two of three games in a series it gains only one game in the standings. With about six weeks left on the schedule, the Yankees are going to need to pick up that pace.

Take the case of the defending World Series champion Royals, whom the Yanks will play next week. KC got back into the wild-card and AL Central races with a nine-game winning streak. That is the sort of stretch the Yankees will need to make foes tremble. The Yanks have not won more than five games in a row this year and have had only two five-game winning streaks all season.

The Orioles have presented a hurdle for the Yankees recently. The clubs have divided 10 games this season, but the Yankees have sustained five-game losing streaks against Baltimore each of the past three seasons (Sept. 8, 2015-May 3, 2016, July 13-Sept. 12, 2014, May 21-June 30, 2013) after having lost no more than four in a row to the O’s from 1998 through 2012. 

The Yanks are 18-26 in the past 44 meetings since June 21, 2014. They are 199-125-2 against Baltimore since the beginning of 1998, their most victories over any opponent in that span (next: 191-134 against the Rays). In 2015, the Yankees were 9-10 against the Orioles (7-3 at the Stadium, 2-7 at Camden Yards. The Yanks won five straight games from June 14-Sept. 7 before losing their final five match-ups beginning Sept. 8.

Between 2015 and 2014 (6-13), the Yankees lost consecutive season series to Baltimore for the first time since dropping three straight from 1980-82. It follows a streak of 16 consecutive non-losing seasons against the Birds from 1998-2013 (14-0-2), which was the longest active such streak for one team over another at the time, according to the Elias Sport Bureau.

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