May 1, 2007


Down in a hole: Odds stacked against Yankees making postseason (Tom Verducci, May 1, 2007, Sports Illustrated)

No team expected to be a contender is off to a worst start than the Yankees, who finished the month 9-14 (.391). New York can reassure itself all it wants that its horrid starting rotation will return to normal

-- if Mike Mussina comes back with better stuff than he showed before he injured his hamstring

-- if Phil Hughes is as good as advertised immediately and can hold up over the workload of a full big league season

-- if Roger Clemens leaves his hometown team in Houston and turns away a special place in posterity in Boston (retired uniform, all-time franchise win leader, Hall of Fame Sox cap, etc.)

-- if Carl Pavano decides he wants to pitch, if ... well, you get it.

The Yankees assuredly will be better and fall within the range of the 95 wins it will take for them to get into the playoffs. (The Yankees can only qualify as the AL East champion or AL wild-card winner; the past 12 such slots were claimed by teams with no fewer than 95 wins.) But the cold fact is the Yankees face overwhelming odds to get into the postseason after such a brutal start.

Firstly, good teams tend to be apparent one month into the season. Of the 88 playoff teams since 1996 (the first season with a full April schedule since the wild card format began) only 17 (or 19 percent) played losing baseball in April.

But wait. The Yankees were not just a little off their game in April, or a game or two below .500. They were .391 baseball awful. How many teams recover from that kind of terrible start to get into the postseason? Would you believe 4.8 percent? That's right. From 1996 to 2006, 62 teams played worse than .400 baseball in April. Only three of those 62 teams made the playoffs. If there is good news for New York it is that it was done twice just last year, bringing the odds up all the way from 1.3 percent.

Who, other than Yankee fans, expected them to be a contender?

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 1, 2007 11:20 AM

Will oj get a bite today? Stay tuned.

Posted by: Bartman at May 1, 2007 11:47 AM

Um, everyone except delusional Sawx fans? You know the type of folks who thought they had the best fielding infield ever last season. Who thought John Lester was an elite prospect etc etc.

Meanwhile, the Yanks were off to a much worse start well into May 2 seasons ago, and they didn't have the luxury of the best farm system in baseball arms wise to fall abck on.

It's going to be funny watching the Yanks waltz to the division title yet again, while the posters at Sons of Sam Horn, and certain other bloggers, go ape nutroots style.

New England. Dying part of the country. Dying team.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at May 1, 2007 12:34 PM

Go Blue Jays!

It's too bad that the DamnYankees will probably show signs of life this weekend. Is there any chance they can put their comeback off for a week?

(The only reason the Sawx have a good record is because they've gotten to face DamnYankess pitching...)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at May 1, 2007 1:16 PM

With all the hullabaloo about the AL East it makes me glad to be an NL fan. Unfortunately for me I'm a Cubs fan so...

Posted by: Bartman at May 1, 2007 2:04 PM

While I disagree with Jim's swipe at NE (not everyone in NE is a lefty) he could be right about the Yanks. Didn't the Sox get 8-10 games ahead of the Yanks by August only to lose it and then miss the wildcard?. If the Yanks are still below .500 come September I'll write them off.

Posted by: AWW at May 1, 2007 2:22 PM

The '78 Yankees were never five games under .500, were they. And Guidry is a coach now, not a pitcher. They have no Guidry.

Posted by: oj at May 1, 2007 3:48 PM

They were at .333 on May 2, 2005?

Posted by: oj at May 1, 2007 6:21 PM