• “But, We Have The Best Record In Baseball!”

    Posted by on September 11th, 2010 · Comments (21)

    Lately, here, it seems that when it is shared that the Yankees have some issues to be concerned about, the reply from many is “But, we have the best record in baseball!”

    However, with their loss last night to the Texas Rangers, the Yankees now have a winning percentage of .565 over their last 46 games. And, that’s a decent span of games – more than one-quarter, and close to one-third, of their season.

    Now, yes, “.565 baseball” ain’t terrible. It projects to 91 or 92 wins over a 162-game season. But, a “91-win” team in the American League is a team that’s barely a playoff contender. And, it’s far from being “the best” team in baseball.

    In a way, the 2010 Yankees are now like Michelle Pfeiffer – meaning, at this moment, they’re better looking than most and not bad at all. However, they’re not nearly as hot as they were earlier and anyone who looks at them now and makes a claim that they’re the best in the game is clearly ignoring the current state of things and living off lustful memories.

    Comments on “But, We Have The Best Record In Baseball!”

    1. MJ Recanati
      September 11th, 2010 | 8:58 am

      Once again you’re slicing and dicing things to wedge your worldview into a place where it doesn’t exactly fit.

      Yes, the Yankees are playing .565 ball over their past 46 games. Fortunately for the Yankees, the season is 162 games long and the 90 or so games played before this one count just as much as the 46 you’re so concerned about.

      I’m certain that if you looked at any playoff contender’s season in slices of varied size you’d find that 100-win teams played .500 (or maybe worse) over periods of time. It’s not fun, it’s not sexy, it destroys the picture of perfection which we might otherwise believe but the fact remains that the season is 162 games long and each game counts the same in the standings: 1/162nd.

    2. Jim TreshFan
      September 11th, 2010 | 9:13 am

      Looks to me like the best team in the American League right now are the Minnesota Twins. As Steve has pointed out, the Yankees, Rays and Rangers are all stumbling and bumbling about, with Tampa Bay as the weakest of the three (whatever happened to their pitching staff?). So it looks like the American League pennant is there for the Twins to take, right? ;)

    3. INAC
      September 11th, 2010 | 9:53 am

      they’re the best in the game is clearly ignoring the current state of things and living off lustful memories.

      My only rebuttal would be who is the best then? Curious question since I could see an argument could be made, right now, for the Phillies perhaps. Or Minnesota.

    4. Dimelo
      September 11th, 2010 | 10:34 am

      I really don’t get this at all either. If the Yanks “X W – L” matches their actual W – L record, then what exactly are you trying to prove? For example, in 2004 the Yanks won 101 games but their “X W – L” record was really 89 wins, I understand you want to raise red flags with THAT team but this one, even with their troubles with pitchers not named CC, they are still quite good because they have a really good pen and they are still hitting.

      I seriously think it bugs you to see the Yanks do well, and it bugs you even more to hear Yankee fans say they are doing well. They ain’t perfect, nor are they suppose to be, I want the Yanks to be better than every other team but it’s unreal to expect every Yankee team to perform like the ’98 team.

    5. Raf
      September 11th, 2010 | 11:58 am

      Dimelo wrote:

      I want the Yanks to be better than every other team but it’s unreal to expect every Yankee team to perform like the ’98 team.

      The 1998 Yankees had a stretch where they went 1-4 in a span of 5 games… What a terrible team!

    6. Evan3457
      September 11th, 2010 | 12:05 pm

      Raf wrote:

      Dimelo wrote:
      I want the Yanks to be better than every other team but it’s unreal to expect every Yankee team to perform like the ’98 team.
      The 1998 Yankees had a stretch where they went 1-4 in a span of 5 games… What a terrible team!

      The heck with that, Raf. From mid-August through late September, the ’98 Yanks went 15-17 in 32 games. That’s one-fifth of a season, for Pete’s sake. That’s a .469 WPCT, and 76-win pace. We all thought the Yanks were overwhelming favorites to win it all that year. What were we, delusional? A .469 team winning it all? Ridiculous.

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Now, yes, “.565 baseball” ain’t terrible. It projects to 91 or 92 wins over a 162-game season. But, a “91-win” team in the American League is a team that’s barely a playoff contender.

      Well, no. A team currently on pace for 91 or 92 wins IS the current American League Wild Card Leader, and would be in first place in the AL West. It would be 2 games in front of both Sox, and the Rangers as well.

    7. 77yankees
      September 11th, 2010 | 12:07 pm

      Raf wrote:

      Dimelo wrote:
      I want the Yanks to be better than every other team but it’s unreal to expect every Yankee team to perform like the ’98 team.
      The 1998 Yankees had a stretch where they went 1-4 in a span of 5 games… What a terrible team!

      They even had a stretch in August that year where they were 12-13 over a 25 game span or something to that effect.

      And remember how the 2000 regular season ended….as opposed to how it really ended four weeks later.

    8. Evan3457
      September 11th, 2010 | 12:09 pm

      …and it’s not only 26-20 in their last 46, it’s 25-16 in their last 41, a .610 WPCT, and a 99-win pace, and then dropping 4 out of 5.

      Yes, losing 4 out of 5 is concerning, and this is a tough trip. They could go something like 3-6 on this trip now.

      And they’d still be in the race for first, and they’d still be in great shape to make the playoffs.

    9. ken
      September 11th, 2010 | 1:17 pm

      Last night’s game, while aggravating, means n-o-t-h-i-n-g. The next few weeks are for getting ready for Oct.

      Someone perhaps can help me here: one of the Yanks WS teams of the late 90′s had a horrific Sept. The division was locked up early in the month and the Yanks record after that was something like 5-20, I believe. They then won the World Series.

      Don’t lose perspective.

    10. Corey Italiano
      September 11th, 2010 | 1:30 pm

      @ ken:
      I believe you’re thinking of the 2000 World Champion New York Yankees, who went 5-16 in their last 21 games

    11. Evan3457
      September 11th, 2010 | 2:21 pm

      Corey Italiano wrote:

      @ ken:
      I believe you’re thinking of the 2000 World Champion New York Yankees, who went 5-16 in their last 21 games

      But THOSE 2000 Yanks had won two straight titles.

      THESE 2010 Yanks have only won one straight title.

      Big difference. How? I dunno. Steve’ll find one, though.

    12. ken
      September 11th, 2010 | 2:24 pm

      @ Evan3457:
      Nice one. You had me going for a moment.

    13. September 11th, 2010 | 2:44 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      Yes, the Yankees are playing .565 ball over their past 46 games. Fortunately for the Yankees, the season is 162 games long and the 90 or so games played before this one count just as much as the 46 you’re so concerned about.

      Think of it this way. Jane Doe won the Miss Universe contest 162 days ago. And, as luck would have it, you get to bang her. But, here’s the catch, 46 days ago, she contracted gonorrhea and chlamydia. So, even though she was hot, and hot enough to be crowned Miss Universe, for the last 46 days she’s basically someone that you would only poke if you could use someone else’s tallywacker wrapped in saran wrap.

      So, what are you going to do, ignore the last 46 days and say “Well, yeah, she’s got Punani Cooties. But, that’s just a recent trend and it’s only for the last 46 days. And, for the last 162 days, overall, she’s Miss Ef-n-Hey Universe! And, that’s all that matters!”

      Of course not, recent performance, as long as it’s a representative sample size, is more important that overall performance.

      Say you have a batter who’s hitting .325 on the season, but, over his last 180 PA he’s batting .205 because he has an injured wrist. And, now you’re facing him in a big spot. Are you going to walk him because he’s a .325 hitter? No, you look at him “now” and go right after him.

      Same thing with the Yankees. Yeah, their record is whatever overall. But, over the last 46 games, they’ve been good – but, not playing like the best team in baseball which their overall record may suggest to some, and which some like to cling to, etc.

    14. ken
      September 11th, 2010 | 2:54 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      So, give Miss Universe some penicillin. Wait a week. Then go to town on that gal. Which is another way of saying….. the Yanks will be fine.

    15. September 11th, 2010 | 3:01 pm

      Dunno Ken. I see Yankees fans, all over the world, this season, after the ALDS, crying about the team getting bounced out, and saying “But, we’re the best team in baseball!”

    16. ken
      September 11th, 2010 | 3:10 pm

      I never said the WS is a lock. It never is. Playoffs in baseball are a tricky business. Maybe not the ‘crapshoot’ that the Billy Beane followers claim, but unpredictable and upsets do happen.

    17. September 11th, 2010 | 4:54 pm

      When I look at this team I see 1980 all over again, I don’t think they have a lot of big game hitters, they let two get away (Damon and Matsui)and replaced them with Disabled List Johnson and Not So Grand-erson. The pitching boils down to CC and maybe Andy but AJ is a real headcase and Hughes has been so so (at best). Javy will be Javy which means he will get banged around if he is used in the postseason so the only hope for the Yanks is AJ getting his act together. It looks more and more like a longshot for anything good to come out of this season.

    18. Raf
      September 11th, 2010 | 5:01 pm

      ken wrote:

      but unpredictable and upsets do happen.

      Isn’t that a crapshoot? :D

    19. Corey Italiano
      September 11th, 2010 | 5:52 pm

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      they let two get away (Damon and Matsui)

      You seriously still want Matsui and Damon on this team? Come on…

    20. Evan3457
      September 11th, 2010 | 7:37 pm

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      When I look at this team I see 1980 all over again, I don’t think they have a lot of big game hitters, they let two get away (Damon and Matsui)and replaced them with Disabled List Johnson and Not So Grand-erson. The pitching boils down to CC and maybe Andy but AJ is a real headcase and Hughes has been so so (at best). Javy will be Javy which means he will get banged around if he is used in the postseason so the only hope for the Yanks is AJ getting his act together. It looks more and more like a longshot for anything good to come out of this season.

      Only one of them can play DH; the other has to play left field. That’s somewhere between a 20 to 40 run loss defensively vs. Gardner.

    21. Evan3457
      September 11th, 2010 | 8:08 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      MJ Recanati wrote:
      Yes, the Yankees are playing .565 ball over their past 46 games. Fortunately for the Yankees, the season is 162 games long and the 90 or so games played before this one count just as much as the 46 you’re so concerned about.
      Think of it this way. Jane Doe won the Miss Universe contest 162 days ago. And, as luck would have it, you get to bang her. But, here’s the catch, 46 days ago, she contracted gonorrhea and chlamydia. So, even though she was hot, and hot enough to be crowned Miss Universe, for the last 46 days she’s basically someone that you would only poke if you could use someone else’s tallywacker wrapped in saran wrap.
      So, what are you going to do, ignore the last 46 days and say “Well, yeah, she’s got Punani Cooties. But, that’s just a recent trend and it’s only for the last 46 days. And, for the last 162 days, overall, she’s Miss Ef-n-Hey Universe! And, that’s all that matters!”
      Of course not, recent performance, as long as it’s a representative sample size, is more important that overall performance.
      Say you have a batter who’s hitting .325 on the season, but, over his last 180 PA he’s batting .205 because he has an injured wrist. And, now you’re facing him in a big spot. Are you going to walk him because he’s a .325 hitter? No, you look at him “now” and go right after him.
      Same thing with the Yankees. Yeah, their record is whatever overall. But, over the last 46 games, they’ve been good – but, not playing like the best team in baseball which their overall record may suggest to some, and which some like to cling to, etc.

      It simply doesn’t work this way all the time. Yes, a lot of teams get hot at the end, and carry it through some or all of the post-season. But there are quite a number of recent champs who piled up a lead, then played mediocre ball for extended periods in the 2nd half. Some recovered with a hit streak down the end. Some didn’t.

      Just in the last 10 years or so:

      1998 Yanks 92-30, .754 ball through mid-August; .444 ball (15-17) through mid-September, recovered to win 10 of their last 12.

      1999 Yanks 81-49, .623 through late August; 17-15, .531 the rest of the way. Did win 4 of their last 5.

      2000 Yanks 84-59, .587 through mid-September; 3-15, .167 the rest of the way, including losing their last 7.

      2001 D’backs, 72-51, .585 through mid-August, 12-16, .429 through late September. Did win 9 of last 12.

      2003 Marlins started very slow, then went on a long hot streak from late May through mid August (50-26), then had one more cold streak (16-15 through mid-September), before winning 6 of their last 7.

      2004: Sox started well, were 31-19 through 50 games. Then went on a long mediocre run, 33-33 over 66 games (Yes, that includes the infamous Mueller HR off Mo/Varitek’s mask in A-Rod’s face game. Popular history holds that that game was the springboard to the Sox eventual breaking of The Curse. Popular history is wrong, the Sox only won 7 of their next 13 after that game. The Sox then won 16 out of 17 to present their credentials, and wound up winning 34 of their last 46.

      2005: The White Sox raced away to a 74-39 mark by early August. The went up and down like a rollercoaster, going 17-22 over their next 39. Righted the ship to win 8 of their last 10. Overall: 25-24 in their last 49.

      2006: Cards were 58-42 after 100 games. Bounced up and down, but mostly down over the next 49, going 22-27. Then, the bottom fell out, as they dropped 8 of 9, allowing a 7 game lead to slip to 1/2 game. Won 3 of 5 to barely hang on the NL Central division title.

      2007: Sox raced off to 35-15 (.700) start, then played so-so ball (21-24) over next 45. Put away their playoff spot by going 24-12, but close with so-so 16-15 over last 31.

      2002 Angels, 2008 Phillies and 2009 Yanks are the only recent champs to close their title run regular seasons with a sustained run of superior play.

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