Monday, May 09, 2005

Yankees: Signs of Life

Friday night ended badly with a baserunning blunder, and Rivera failing again this time amply abetted by shoddy defense from A-rod and Tino. (I forgive Jeter's failure in deep short). But at least Pavano had a quality start. A Saturday complete game from Moose and Kevin Brown pitching out of trouble for back-to-back shutouts of the (admittedly weak-hitting) A's have improved the Yankees' condition from critical to serious. With Unit set to go today the Yanks have a chance to go for a season long three game winning streak.

As I've argued before, give them till June 1st.

The Yanks are 13-19 with 19 games left in May. The goal I think is .500 on June 1st which require at 13-6 record rest of the way. Yanks have two series with Seattle, one with Oakland, Detroit, the Mets and Boston and a single game with KC on the last day of the month. Accomplishing that, and its doable, the Yankees will be 26-25. That team would still face an uphill climb to make the playoffs. Check these stats:

Wild cards 2000-2004
Year / Team / Wins / (Next team wins)

The average number of wins required to make the wild-card over the past five years has been 97 though the range has been relatively wide, from 91 to 102. In order to get 97 wins the Yanks have to go 71-40 in their final 111 games or a .640 winning percentage. Possible? Yes. Tough? You bet.

The last stat is an interesting one. If you took out the team that took the wild card, that number is the number of wins that would have been required to make the wild card. That average is significantly lower, 92.6. To make 93 wins the Yanks have to go 67-44 in the final 111 or .604. Taking teams 'out' of the mix is a dangerous statistical play but what is illustrated here is depending on the year and the field you could make the WC with 92-93 wins.

Of course a 19-2 run like the Bosox had last year would help the numbers game tremendously but this team at the moment doesn't seem to have that in them. I can see the pitching improve markedly with Unit/Pavano/Moose holding down the fort and cobbling together the balance. The hitting though, has been feeble and might be tougher to improve.

So, first things first. .500 by June 1. Then hope for a big run. And hope that there's a lot of parity in the AL so it takes 93 wins i/o of 97 to make it this year. [At, the current line on Yankee wins is 88.7/90.6]

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