I know. I know. I know. The race to the 2010 playoffs is really starting to heat up. Both Eastern divisions and that crazy NL West have less than two games separating the top teams. Even amidst the craziness of Posada’s HR, Golson’s throw, and Swisher’s knee, Major League Baseball released the 2011 schedule yesterday! Let’s just take a quick run through of some key games and such to wet our appetite for 2011.

Key Dates:

Home Opener: March 31st vs. Detriot, The Yankees are opening in March? Seems a little odd, but the Yanks will play three home games against the Tigers and then welcome the Twinkies to the Bronx for four. After that, it’s time to ship up to Boston!

Longest Home Stand: (June 6th-June 17th; 10 games) The Yankees will play three games against the Red Sox, four against the Indians, and three against the Rangers.

Longest Western Road Trip: (May 27th-June 5th; 9 games) Well look at that. The Yanks will go from having a very length West coast trip to a very nice homestand. Luckily for the Bombers, it’s one of only two trips out West this season.

May 16th: The first Yankee/Ray match-up of the year.

Interleague Opponents: Mets, Rockies, Brewers, at Cubs, at Reds.

I love this slate of inter-league opponents. Not only because I think the Yanks can easily handle each of them, but it’ll give some of the game’s best small market players an opportunity to play on the big stage. The stadium will be buzzing when they watch Ryan Braun, Carlos Gonzalez, Prince Fielder, and hopefully Ubaldo Jimenez play in the Bronx.

If Joe Girardi stays in New York, the Cubs serious will get a lot of attention. Girardi is from Chicago and has been in countless managerial rumors about the vacant Cubs’ opening. The Yankees and Cubs are too of the ‘Old-Time’ teams and tradition normally draws hype to the match-up.

The Yankees and Reds are set to play from June 20th-June 22nd in Cincy. Expect Joe Morgan to be in attendance and going wild when the Reds top the Yanks.

Last Eight: Just like this season, the Yankees will finish 2011 with a heavy dose of Boston and Tampa Bay. The Bombers last eight games come against their two main AL East rivals with five of the eight games happening on 161st Street.