Boston Red Sox: Will the Rivalry Be Renewed in 2020?
After the Sox handled the Yankees in the 2018 ALDS, they were a completely different team in 2019. A combination of injuries and an ineffective pitching staff led to the Sox winning 24 less games than they did the year before, as the Yankees coasted to a 14-5 regular season record against them. After trading Mookie Betts and David Price and losing ace Chris Sale to Tommy John surgery, will this year’s group be able to bring back some firepower to the rivalry?
Tampa Bay Rays: Survive the Trop
The Rays are the Yankees’ biggest competition in the AL East. They won 96 games last season, and have a strong starting rotation that includes former Cy Young winner Blake Snell, two-time All-Star Charlie Morton, and rising star Tyler Glasnow. However, the scariest thing about the Rays is the stadium they play in, Tropicana Field. It’s been a house of horrors for the Yanks, as they went 40-53 there in the last decade. You never know what kind of wacky shit is gonna happen there, like in the above video where Clint Frazier’s possible home run ball drilled a speaker and was caught by the shortstop. To beat out the Rays for the division, the Yankees will have to survive the Trop first.
Toronto Blue Jays: Contain the Young Guns
Surprisingly, the only place the Yankees were worse at than Tropicana Field in the last decade was Rogers Centre, as they went 39-54 in Toronto during the 2010’s. The Blue Jays are still a year or two away from really making a playoff push, but their lineup has the makeup to give the league fits in 2020. Young stars like Vladimir Guerrero jr., Bo Bichette, and Lourdes Gurriel could prove to be a pain for Yankees’ pitchers this season.
Baltimore Orioles: Will Gleyber Hit a Billion Home Runs?
I don’t think anyone was happier to see that the Yankees would be playing the Orioles once every six games in 2020 than Gleyber Torres. Let’s see if he keeps up his 2001-04 Barry Bonds impression every time he faces them.
Washington Nationals: A Shot at the Champs
We’ll get a look at the World Series that almost was as the Yankees will face the defending champion Nationals four times this season. Also, seeing this video where Sonny Gray and Chasen Shreve give up homers brought on some serious PTSD.
Atlanta Braves: A Different 22-Year Old Stud
Anytime Gleyber did something remotely productive on a baseball field last year, Yankee fans practically screamed “HE’S 22 YEARS OLD!!”(I did that, I’m Yankee fans). Well, Ronald Acuna jr. is entering his age 22 season this year, and as great as Gleyber is, Acuna is even better. It’ll be exciting to see these two division winners match up in 2020.
Miami Marlins: Matchup With a Familiar Face
I still kind of forget sometimes that Derek Jeter owns a baseball team. Regardless, we’ll get to see his Marlins play the Yankees this year, as well as Giancarlo Stanton facing off against his old team (hopefully, please stay healthy).
Philadelphia Phillies: Family Reunion
There was a good portion of time that I thought Didi would never play for another team besides the Yankees, so it’s going to absolutely break my heart to see it when we play the Phillies this year. Throw in Joe Girardi and I’m just having all kinds of 2017 feels. Maybe Joe will even throw in a socially-distanced rant at an umpire for old times sake.
New York Mets: deGrom vs. Cole
Lucky for us, despite the shortened schedule we still get a Subway Series this year. If MLB isn’t completely inept at marketing (which they might be), they’ll schedule at least one Yankees/Mets matchup in prime time. And if we’re lucky, that matchup will feature the two-time reigning NL Cy Young winner in Jacob deGrom against the guy who should’ve won the AL Cy Young last season, Gerrit Cole. There’s so much talent on both sides right now – Judge and Gleyber, Alonso and McNeil, etc. – that this will be an extremely entertaining matchup in 2020. Dare I say, even potential World Series matchup? That would be wildly entertaining and also horrific for my mental health, but I’m here for it.