The dog days of summer become an issue at this time every season.
The Yankees are in a stretch of 20 straight days without a day off. It's the team's longest stretch of the season:
May 25-June 6: 13 straight
June 29-July 11: 13 straight
Aug. 27-Sept. 8: 13 straight
Sept. 17-29: 13 straight
July 20-Aug. 4: 16 straight
May 7-23: 17 straight
Aug. 6-25: 20 straight
Now, the Yankees can't afford to take their eyes off the ultimate prize, which is to win the AL East and gain the top seed -- and homefield advantage -- for the AL playoffs.
The Yankees are 8-6 during the first 14 games of their toughest stretch. But there's a little relief coming this weekend against a Seattle team that's 48-73 .
After that, the stretch ends with three games against a Toronto team that's good and can spoil some team's late-season surge for playoff positioning.
The stretch I'm looking at is that Sept. 17-29 run. It starts with three games against the Orioles in Baltimore, which is playing well for Buck Showalter, then seven games at Yankee Stadium against the Tampa Bay Rays (four games) and the Boston Red Sox (three games). Then three games against those pesky Blue Jays again.
The Yankees get a day off (Sept. 30), then finish the regular season with three against the Red Sox.