First Pitch: Squandered opportunities?

July, 14, 2013
7/14/13
6:00
AM ET
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?

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
12 2.51 135 129
OTHER LEADERS
BAB. Gardner .285
HRM. Teixeira 17
RBIM. Teixeira 47
RB. Gardner 54
OPSM. Teixeira .805
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135