On July 25, 2019, the Yankees played their 102nd game. On July 23, 2020, the Yankees will play their first game. On July 25, 2019, the Yankees had a 9.5 game lead in the AL East with 60 games left. On July 23, 2020, the Yankees will be tied for the division lead–with everyone–with 60 games left.

There will be no cushion. There will be no ramping up. There will be no marathon. There will be a sprint.

The season is no longer broken up into pieces. Rather, it is an elongated stretch run, in which important players will become even more so.

While the Yankees’ approach to team building clearly works over the course of the long regular season, it also works in the short term and the playoffs. Did it work as well without an ace? Not necessarily. Now with Gerrit Cole in tow, the Yankees have that. They also have a strong bullpen and a deep lineup, all things that lead to success in the season and October.

Of course, none of this may end up mattering. Given the situation in the country right now, I’m doubtful we see even a single meaningful pitch of baseball this year. But if we do have one, it’ll be a season unlike any we’ve ever seen.