• Four Slices Of Yankees Season (To Date)

    Posted by on July 22nd, 2011 · Comments (19)

    Here are the Yankees “W-L” results, this season, to date, using some selected end-points:

    March 31st through April 24th: 12-6
    April 25th through May 25th: 15-15
    May 26th through July 2nd: 23-10
    July 3rd through July 21st: 8-8

    Basically, outside of the month of June, where the Yankees got fat on a lot of inter-league games, and the month of April, where the Yankees feasted on Baltimore and Minnesota (when they were struggling), New York has essentially been a .500 team this year. Is this cause for concern in Yankeeland? Or, is this just the way it works – beat up on weak teams when they’re on the schedule and break-even against everyone else?

    In either case, what does it say about the Yankees chances if they reach the post-season this year? There are no soft-spots in the schedule there.

    Comments on Four Slices Of Yankees Season (To Date)

    1. Garcia
      July 22nd, 2011 | 8:57 am

      “In either case, what does it say about the Yankees chances if they reach the post-season this year? ”

      It means they won enough to make the playoffs and none of what you pointed out matters at all. The playoffs are a crapshoot. I’d like for you to show me a stat that shows:
      1. A team/teams that played great against sub .500 teams.
      2. A team/teams that played great against teams that had winning % above .500.

      We are talking about a few select teams like the ’98 Yanks. I’m sure you’ll find that most teams played closer to .500 ball against the really good teams and excelled against the crappy teams.

      Nobody is calling the Yanks the best team in the majors. We all know the Phillies have better pitching, the Red Sox (if healthy) probably have a better team. Hey, it’s not the end of the world because of any of that and it’s why we still have to watch the games and why they still play the games.

    2. Raf
      July 22nd, 2011 | 9:06 am

      Garcia wrote:

      It means they won enough to make the playoffs and none of what you pointed out matters at all.

      Yep. The Yanks have been bounced from the postseason facing teams they’ve beat up during the regular season.

    3. July 22nd, 2011 | 10:48 am

      For me, it just seems like the Yankees master plan, after the Stick/Watson cadre was gone after 2001, has been “Get guys who can mash and beat the crap out of bad teams and then fatten up when you play the O’s, and Tampa when they sucked, and whatever other shitty teams happen to be around that season…and then pray to break even against Boston and the other bad boys…and get into the post-season that way.”

      And, what happens in the post-season? See 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, etc. When they face a team who can pitch, they get it stuffed down their throats.

      Yeah, I know, what about 2009? Two words: Anthony Galea.

    4. Evan3457
      July 22nd, 2011 | 10:48 am

      Jeez, Baltimore is struggling again, and the Sox just feasted on them (6 out of 7). Does that mean we shouldn’t count those wins on the Sox’ record, too? And let’s not mention the 3 game sweep of the Astros…

      Steve wrote:

      Basically, outside of the month of June, where the Yankees got fat on a lot of inter-league games

      Well, uh, actually, the Yanks went 23-10 in that stretch, but only 11-4 against “worthless” (NL) teams, and that means they also went 12-6 against “real” AL teams.

      …outside of the month of June…and the month of April…New York has essentially been a .500 team this year.

      1. Well, uh, not quite, the Yanks are 25-22 in months that are not April and June; and that winning percentage is equivalent to going 86-76 for the season. And that’s the “slump months” winning percentage.

      2. It also means that the Yanks have been good more often than they’ve been average (60 days of the schedule vs. 53)

      Or, is this just the way it works – beat up on weak teams when they’re on the schedule and break-even against everyone else?

      1. Uh, not quite, as the Yanks’ record against teams that are over .500 is 36-29, and that includes 1-8 vs. the Red Sox. That’s a 90-72 pace, which is pretty good considering these are the “good” teams. They’re 35-21 against teams over .500 not named “Red Sox” which is a 101-61 pace, which is frickin’ outstanding.

      2. …and yeah, that’s the way it works for many eventual championship teams.

      For example, the 1996 Yanks were 40-35 vs teams that were over .500 and 52-35 vs teams that were under .500.
      The 2000 Yanks were 42-43 vs teams over .500, and 45-31 vs teams under .500.
      The 2007 Red Sox were 44-40 vs teams over .500 and 52-26 vs teams under .500.
      The 1978 Yanks were 50-42 vs. teams over .500 and 50-21 vs. teams under .500.

      And on and on and on…

      In either case, what does it say about the Yankees chances if they reach the post-season this year?

      It means they’re probably slightly less likely than usual to win it all. Maybe 10% as opposed to 12 or 15% if, in fact they makes the post-season.

      There are no soft-spots in the schedule there (the post-season).

      That’s funny; I don’t remember you saying that when they beat the Twins last fall. In fact, quite the opposite.

    5. Evan3457
      July 22nd, 2011 | 10:54 am

      I would slice up the season into 4 slices also, but more precisely:

      1. 3/31 through 5/2: 17-9
      2. 5/3 through 5/16: 3-10
      3. 5/17 through 7/2: 30-12
      4. 7/2 through 7/21: 7-8

      One short stretch of terrible ball. One short stretch of mediocre ball. One longer stretch of excellent ball. One very long stretch of outstanding ball. Seems like a fairly normal season for a good team to me.

    6. July 22nd, 2011 | 10:57 am

      @ Evan3457:
      Who did the Yankee play from 5/3 through 5/16 and from 7/2 through 7/21?

    7. Raf
      July 22nd, 2011 | 11:43 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      And, what happens in the post-season? See 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, etc. When they face a team who can pitch, they get it stuffed down their throats.

      That 2002 staff was about as good as any the Yanks trotted out there, what with Mussina-Clemens-Wells-Pettitte. Remember, they posted the best record in the league.

      2004, despite the patchwork staff, they had Rivera on the mound with the lead twice. Or are you referring to the ALDS when the Twins held a clear pitching advantage over the Yanks?

      Anything can happen in a short series. There have been series where the Yankees have had the pitching disadvantage and they’ve won. There have been series where the Yanks have had the pitching advantage and lost.

    8. Scout
      July 22nd, 2011 | 11:52 am

      As for the post-season, I’m closer in outlook to Steve than others are. I think the Yankee starting staff is poorly constructed to compete with other top-flight staffs. Once you get past C.C., you have to hold your breath. Cashman knows this, which is why he would pay through the nose to get another number one or two starter. Sure, even that would not guarantee success, but it improves the probability.

    9. Raf
      July 22nd, 2011 | 12:09 pm

      Scout wrote:

      I think the Yankee starting staff is poorly constructed to compete with other top-flight staffs.

      Maybe, maybe not, but the Braves ran Smoltz-Glavine-Maddux out there for years with little to show for it.

      The only staff of recent vintage that I can say was lousy was the 2004 Yanks. I felt comfortable with the rest of the staffs the Yanks put out there, whether they won it all, or if they were bounced in the first round.

      The Yanks may have their issues, but so does everyone else.

    10. Evan3457
      July 22nd, 2011 | 12:43 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      @ Evan3457:
      Who did the Yankee play from 5/3 through 5/16 and from 7/2 through 7/21?

      From 5/3 to 5/16, the Yanks lost 3 of 4 to a so-so Tigers team that they took 2 of 3 from earlier in the year, took 2 out of 3 from the Rangers, lost 2 of 3 to a Royals’ team that has since collapsed, albeit having brought up a large number of exciting prospect, and they got swept by the Sox. Of these teams, the best, besides the Sox, is the Rangers.

      Who they’ve played from 7/2 through 7/21 is a group of decent teams, with all but 3 games on the road, losing the 3rd game to a .500 Mets team (after winning the 1st two) 2 of 3 to a so-so Indians team, beating the Rays 2 of 3 at home, splitting four with the Jays and four with the Rays all on the road.

    11. July 22nd, 2011 | 1:05 pm

      @ Evan3457: So, when the Yankees played the Red Sox, Rangers, Indians, and Rays – all teams with talent this season – they didn’t do so well, did they? And, don’t you think they’re going to have to go through the Rangers or Indians and Red Sox to get to the World Series this year?

    12. satchel
      July 22nd, 2011 | 1:26 pm

      Garcia wrote:

      1. A team/teams that played great against sub .500 teams.
      2. A team/teams that played great against teams that had winning % above .500.
      We are talking about a few select teams like the ’98 Yanks. I’m sure you’ll find that most teams played closer to .500 ball against the really good teams and excelled against the crappy teams.

      I’m curious about this too. In the years that I’ve been a more-than-casual baseball fan (unfortunately I can’t count this year among them), it’s always been my impression that this is how good teams do it – they beat up on the weak teams, and they hold their own against the strong teams. Only truly exceptional teams like the 1998 Yankees, it seems to me, break this model.

      And even the great 1998 Yankees had some trouble spots – Anaheim, Cleveland…

    13. Evan3457
      July 22nd, 2011 | 1:46 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      @ Evan3457: So, when the Yankees played the Red Sox, Rangers, Indians, and Rays – all teams with talent this season – they didn’t do so well, did they? And, don’t you think they’re going to have to go through the Rangers or Indians and Red Sox to get to the World Series this year?

      Well, no, that’s wrong too, because the Yanks have a winning record against the Indians (4-3), the Rays (5-4) and the Rangers (7-2).

      It’s the Red Sox. Just the Red Sox. I can’t argue they’re better than the Red Sox, because as of now, they’re not.

    14. Scout
      July 22nd, 2011 | 3:33 pm

      @ Raf:
      Maybe, maybe not, but the Braves ran Smoltz-Glavine-Maddux out there for years with little to show for it

      As I said, it’s about probability. Yes, with a mediocre starting staff, a team MIGHT still succeed in the post-season, especially if it has an overpowering offense. But the Yankee offense is roughly comparable to that of the Red Sox and Rangers. I would like the Yankees’ chances much better, then, with a bona fide second ace in the rotation.

    15. July 22nd, 2011 | 3:50 pm

      Just like last year, the Yankees have put themselves in a post-season spot where they MUST WIN the game when Sabathia pitches – because, with Hughes, Burnett, and Colon, you don’t know, for sure, that you’re going to get a great pitched game. (Here, I assume, that Garcia would be removed from the rotation in October.)

    16. Raf
      July 22nd, 2011 | 5:43 pm

      Scout wrote:

      I would like the Yankees’ chances much better, then, with a bona fide second ace in the rotation.

      As the Yanks currently stand, their starters are 5th in the AL in R/G (SEA-OAK-LAA-TBR), as well as 5th overall (OAK-TBR-MIN-TEX) so they must be doing something right.

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Just like last year, the Yankees have put themselves in a post-season spot where they MUST WIN the game when Sabathia pitches – because, with Hughes, Burnett, and Colon, you don’t know, for sure, that you’re going to get a great pitched game.

      Yeah, but you look at 2007 (Wang-Pettitte), 2005-6 (Wang-Mussina-Johnson), and they were in the same position with aces and second aces and they were still knocked out when proven performers didn’t perform. Even the collapse of 2004, if you told me that the Yanks were up 3-0 with Mussina-Duque-Lieber and Brown in the pipeline, I’d take that bet that they’d be able to close out the Red Sox.

    17. SteveF
      July 22nd, 2011 | 5:48 pm

      The starting rotation is definitely a weak spot in a likely playoff series against Texas and Boston, and that’s even assuming Colon is still able to pitch in October.

      Over the past 20 days (only 17 days of which have had games played) the Yankees have lost 4.5 games in the standings to the Red Sox whose starting rotation over that time is Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Tim Wakefield, Andrew Miller, and Kyle Weiland.

      Whatever Cashman does at the deadline, it has to be with an eye towards winning two playoff series against the Rangers/Red Sox. This team doesn’t have the horses to compete with Boston over 162 and it would be foolish to make any deals to try when the closest Wild Card competitors are definitively inferior to the Yankees (Rays/Angels).

    18. Greg H.
      July 23rd, 2011 | 4:55 pm

      Garcia wrote:

      It means they won enough to make the playoffs and none of what you pointed out matters at all. The playoffs are a crapshoot.

      This is well put. Although I do seem to remember some statistical evidence that in the playoffs, good pitching beats good hitting, it was not overwhelming. No one can argue that the Yanks have a better staff than Philly – but all the other contenders are within reasonable comparison. Pitching can be just as fickle as hitting. Last year the Rangers pitched incredibly well until they got to the World Series, where they were pounded – especially the uber playoff ace Cliff Lee – by the freaking Giants.

      SteveF wrote:

      Over the past 20 days (only 17 days of which have had games played) the Yankees have lost 4.5 games in the standings to the Red Sox whose starting rotation over that time is Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Tim Wakefield, Andrew Miller, and Kyle Weiland.

      And in the previous 20, didn’t we gain 5 games when Boston was playing less well and we were on fire? At the end of the season we’ll finish either with the division or the wild card (barring the unexpected). We won’t necesarily be playing Boston, if we win the short series, we play the winner of the other short series. Boston is just as likely to lay a turd in a short series as the Yanks are.

      The playoffs are a crapshoot.

    19. rankdog
      July 27th, 2011 | 3:14 am

      I think honestly it comes down to expectations and how you define success. Over the last 16 years the Yankee have been to the playoffs all but once. The have 7 trips to the World Series (5 wins). They have been relevant and fun to watch most of the time. Granted a lot of that success came in the early part of era 95-03 account for 6 of the WS trips. One thing that should be clear is that its hard to sustain continued success. I think to a degree fans were spoiled by the success of 96-03.

      Another thought to consider is this Yankee team is going through transition. The older stars (Jeter, Posada, Pettite, Rivera) are slowing fading while new stars (Granderson, Cano, CC, Gardner, Texieria) are entering/in their primes.

      My view is we are lucky to be able to be in a championship contender while transitioning from one era to the next. Most teams go to the dregs for several seasons, accumulate high round draft picks and wait for the a core to form to make a run. Yankee fans are going on nearly 20 years of having a horse in the race.

      Could they have done better? Sure. We can pick apart and find fault with any number of moves the team has made in the last 20 years.

      As to some of the points made above. All teams perform better against weaker competition. I always get a kick out of those posting win loss records verse weaker competition. Comparing these Yankee teams vrs the historic 98 team is unfair. In basketball terms you would be comparing every team vrs the 1996 Bulls team that went 72-10.

      Look at the Sox for example. The Yankees and the Sox have played near dead even baseball since the unbalanced schedule came into play. This includes the early run WS titles. I think your expectations that the Yankees should play +.500 ball against the best competition and/or win the WS every year is unreasonable. I think the general rule is you try to break even against the top competition and beat up on the weak competition. Come play off time you go mano y mano to determine who is the best. Its rare that you see a team in any sport dominate from start to finish and do it continuously. That’s what makes those teams special.

      However, its your expectation and it might explain why you appear to be a constant state of disappointment compared to average Yankee fan. To the point you have dismissed the ’09 season when they Yankees did win it all.

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