• Wild Thought: Runaway In East By May?

    Posted by on March 26th, 2009 · Comments (12)

    Looking at the Tampa Bay Rays schedule, we can see that the Rays play the Red Sox and Yankees 15 times between Opening Day, April 6th, and May 10th. But, it’s mostly a Boston-Tampa thing since the Rays play the Red Sox 10 times between April 6th and May 10th.

    So, today’s wild thought is this: Could it be possible, if the Yankees get off to the rough start that I expect them to this season, if either Tampa or Boston wins 8 of 10 of those H-T-H match-ups, could either the Rays or Red Sox establish a commanding lead in the A.L. East by May 10th?

    Comments on Wild Thought: Runaway In East By May?

    1. antone
      March 26th, 2009 | 10:47 am

      Hmm..see I look at it the other way…say Tampa beats Boston 8 out of 10 or vice versa. That puts one of the teams in a hole right away and if the Yanks play good then they will be in good shape. Also, if TB-BOS split 10 games, then the Yanks could be ahead of both of them.

      I don’t see a rough start though because essentially you have 3 new starting pitchers this season, so instead of Hughes, Kennedy, Mussina to start to season you have Sabathia, Burnett, and Joba. So even if Sabathia gets off to a slow start, collectively they should be better because Hughes & Kennedy were so awful to start the season last year.

      Damon is in a contract year; Jeter, Posada, Matsui are healthy at least to start the season; Tex basically replaces A-Rod; so I don’t see the offense coming out too flat. I still think the pitching upgrade is enough to halt their streak of starting seasons off poorly.

    2. MJ
      March 26th, 2009 | 10:59 am

      Unless I’m missing something, I don’t understand why Boston and Tampa’s H2H record would impact the Yankees at all. Even if the Yanks start off poorly, Boston being up 8-2 vs. Tampa would have no bearing on the Yanks beyond the fact that Boston would have a good record overall. If one team (Tampa or Boston) buries the other, all the better for us.

    3. March 26th, 2009 | 11:11 am

      MJ wrote:

      Unless I’m missing something, I don’t understand why Boston and Tampa’s H2H record would impact the Yankees at all. Even if the Yanks start off poorly, Boston being up 8-2 vs. Tampa would have no bearing on the Yanks beyond the fact that Boston would have a good record overall. If one team (Tampa or Boston) buries the other, all the better for us.

      Well, yes, it doesn’t matter who Boston or Tampa beats, if they pile up wins, in terms of the impact on the Yankees. But, what I was imagining was this: Say, Boston beats Tampa 8 times in those 10 games. And, they also win, say, another 15 games by early-to-mid-May. That would give the Sox a record around 23-12 to start the season. And, say Tampa loses those 8 games to Boston, and plays .500 in the rest of their games, that would put the Rays at, around, 15-20 to start the season. And, well, if the Yankees also start the season at 15-20, then Boston would have a 8 game lead in the standings with one-fifth of the season done. That’s a nice cushion to start the year…over the two teams who pose the biggest threat to your chances.

    4. MJ
      March 26th, 2009 | 11:22 am

      if the Yankees also start the season at 15-20, then Boston would have a 8 game lead in the standings with one-fifth of the season done. That’s a nice cushion to start the year…over the two teams who pose the biggest threat to your chances.
      ——–
      Sure, Boston would have a nice cushion. But since the division is only won by playing all 162 games, that cushion could easily evaporate if the Yanks beat Boston H2H.

      Entering the week of May 7-13, 2007, the Red Sox were 25-11 and had an 8 game lead over the Baltimore (18-20) and the Yanks (17-19). When the season ended, the Yanks finished 2 games behind Boston, tied for the second-best record in baseball. I know this for a fact because I’ve been compiling weekly Pythag spreadsheets since the 2006 season.

      The point is that cushions mean nothing. Everyone plays everyone else so it only matters how you fare in H2H matchups. I know you’ll come back with the whole “it’s better to get the wins out of the way early so you don’t have to sweat it out late” response but it still mathematically doesn’t matter.

    5. Corey
      March 26th, 2009 | 11:35 am

      if you’re of the thought that the wild card comes from the east, then one team beating on another is only good news

    6. Pat F
      March 26th, 2009 | 12:07 pm

      sure that works out if the yankees start 15-20! but what about if they start out 20-15! pure speculation both ways.

    7. butchie22
      March 26th, 2009 | 12:11 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      MJ wrote:
      Unless I’m missing something, I don’t understand why Boston and Tampa’s H2H record would impact the Yankees at all. Even if the Yanks start off poorly, Boston being up 8-2 vs. Tampa would have no bearing on the Yanks beyond the fact that Boston would have a good record overall. If one team (Tampa or Boston) buries the other, all the better for us.
      Well, yes, it doesn’t matter who Boston or Tampa beats, if they pile up wins, in terms of the impact on the Yankees. But, what I was imagining was this: Say, Boston beats Tampa 8 times in those 10 games. And, they also win, say, another 15 games by early-to-mid-May. That would give the Sox a record around 23-12 to start the season. And, say Tampa loses those 8 games to Boston, and plays .500 in the rest of their games, that would put the Rays at, around, 15-20 to start the season. And, well, if the Yankees also start the season at 15-20, then Boston would have a 8 game lead in the standings with one-fifth of the season done. That’s a nice cushion to start the year…over the two teams who pose the biggest threat to your chances.

      Steve, my major theory about the early part of the season is that now that Tampa is a real force, the Yanks can’t afford to have a slow start. In the past, The Bluebirds always faked contention and were a pain in the butt BUT nothing really more than that. The St Pete Sunrays came in first last year and they are a force to be reckoned with. A slow start was fine when the Yankees had an opportunity to make up lost ground BUT no longer. The Yankee pitching looks good on paper but we’ll see. This is a situation for general Joe that he has to win almost every battle to win the war AND save his job. Otherwise, we might see Tony Pena as the chief next year and the Red Pox with yet another championship……..

    8. March 26th, 2009 | 1:56 pm

      I have to agree with you Steve that there is a chance that the Red Sox or maybe the Rays “Could” be running away with the division by May 15th.
      I do look at things through Yankee Colored Glasses thinking everything is being OK, There are so many “Ifs” for the Yankees this year, that I can see them losing over 100 games but “IF” everything falls in place I can also see the Yankees being 8 games up by may 15th and winning 105 Games this year, My guess is that we are going to be looking at a 3 team race much like last year and a slow start by any of the top 3 will be a blow to a teams chances.

    9. YankCrank
      March 26th, 2009 | 2:02 pm

      There are so many “Ifs” for the Yankees this year, that I can see them losing over 100 games
      —–

      Just about every “if” from last year went wrong and they still won 89 games…I wouldn’t go as far as to say if every if went negative this year they’d lose 100.

    10. Corey
      March 26th, 2009 | 2:04 pm

      forever the optimist, if they end up losin 100 games that means i’ll get to buy cheap seats in sept! (gotta find good in everything)

    11. butchie22
      March 26th, 2009 | 2:23 pm

      YankCrank wrote:

      There are so many “Ifs” for the Yankees this year, that I can see them losing over 100 games
      —–
      Just about every “if” from last year went wrong and they still won 89 games…I wouldn’t go as far as to say if every if went negative this year they’d lose 100.

      As much as a pessimist as I am, I can’t see the Yanks losing 100 games. The Bluebirds are not as good as they were last year, but will be a pain in the butt as always but the Yankcrankees, Red Pox and Sunrays are still better. The Blackbirds will be better but are still the runt of the litter. The Yankcrankees might have a continued diminishment in their offense numbers,BUT their starting pitching is much better than last year.That will offset the offense a little bit. Nutball, I can say at worst this is an 88 win non playoff team,but not a 100 loss team. I can see them repeating at third with potential IFs, but below the Blackbirds? That’s too much of a leap of faith for even negative ol’ Butch…..

    12. Evan3457
      March 27th, 2009 | 1:24 am

      …could either the Rays or Red Sox establish a commanding lead in the A.L. East by May 10th?

      Why, yes; yes, they could.

      Hey, I got a great idea! Let’s let them play the games, and then we’ll see what happens.

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