With Opening Day only three days away, it’s time to start looking at the schedule, the roster, and depth chart. Today, we are going to look at the slate of games for the first month for the Yanks. Over the first 26 games, the Yankees play only one team (Baltimore) that had a sub-500 record in 2010. With that in mind, let’s assume that things start off strong again like did last season. The Yankees went 18-8 over their first 26 games. What are the keys to the Yankees having another strong start in 2011?

Here’s the early rundown of the slate of games:

Date # of Games Opponent
31-Mar 3 vs. DET
4-Apr 4 vs. MIN
8-Apr 3 at BOS
12-Apr 3 vs. BAL
15-Apr 3 vs. TEX
19-Apr 2 at TOR
22-Apr 3 at BAL
25-Apr 4 vs. CWS
29-Apr 2 vs. TOR

Luckily for the Yanks, they play 18 of their first 26 games at home. The Yankees were the second best home team in the AL last year (52-29). After 26 games last season, the Bombers were 18-8 while CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Andy Pettitte combined to go 9-1 with a 2.32 ERA. Pitching always reigns supreme in baseball, but pitchers typically have a slight advantage early in the season as hitters work on their timing. A strong start is especially important for Burnett. He has been under ridicule for this entire off-season and getting him right early is a priority.

Getting Mark Teixiera off to a strong start is something that the Bombers are hoping for. Teixiera hit .136 in April last season with only two home runs. In his career, Teixeira has posted his weakest numbers during April, posting a .235/.342/.411 line with only 24 home runs in 170 games. When Teixeira gets into a groove, the entire Yankee lineup becomes that more dangerous.

If the Yankees get solid starting pitching and can get Teixeira off to a hot start, we’ll look back on a very successful April for the Yankees.