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First Pitch: Squandered opportunities?

7/14/2013

NEW YORK -- This stretch seemed like a nice way for the Yankees to fatten up before the All-Star break.

With seven games at home against the Royals and Twins to end the first half -- teams the Yankees were a combined 7-0 against this season entering the week -- the Yanks were in prime position to enter the break on fire.

Instead, after losing to the Twins 4-1 on Saturday, the Yankees are a mediocre 3-3 against the third- and fourth-place teams in the AL Central. A supposedly easy week has become a battle.

Manager Joe Girardi doesn't view this week as a disappointment thus far, however.

"We're 3-3. It's been a week where the games we lost we haven't scored a lot of runs," Girardi said. "Kansas City, when they came in they had been playing better. We have a chance to win the series (against Minnesota) and I think that's your goal every time you go out."

Overall, the Yankees have had success against these two teams, as they're 10-3 on the season heading into Saturday. But this homestand isn't helping them in the standings. In a stretch when the Yankees really needed another 6-1 or 5-2 mark, they face the possibility of having a losing record.

With the Yankees' struggles against teams with winning records, they need to beat up on the below-.500 teams. These are the kind of games they need to win to help them inch closer in their quest for the AL East crown or a wild-card berth.

Up now: Phil Hughes pitched Saturday and he gave up some homers. A failed double-steal epitomized a rough offensive day. Alex Rodriguez went 0-for-3 in Tampa on Saturday, and a source confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com that A-Rod blew off his rehab game on Friday.

On deck: The Yankees will try to win this series against the lowly Twins, as CC Sabathia (9-7, 3.99) starts against Kyle Gibson (1-2, 7.27) at 1:05 p.m. It's the final game before the four-day All-Star break.

Question: Are you disappointed at the Yanks' 3-3 record so far this week against the Royals and Twins?