Yankees working to correct the market

Yanks winning with the team they have, not the team they want
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Omaha

We’re on one helluva ride, folks. This actually feels a ton better than the 10-game winning streak back in 2005, because we played so much worse baseball for so much longer. This got to the point where many fans argued that “they haven’t shown us signs that they can put it together, so what should make me think that they eventually will?” Hell, I was at one time asking friends why I continued to bother watching. That’s bad.

However, it only makes sense that the Yankees would go through a market correction period, playing well better than anyone would have expected in order for them to be where they truly should at this point. While we were slumping in mid-May, many people cited the Yankees record in one-run games and their Pythagorean record as evidence that they’ll turn things around. By the end of May, many of those arguments were written off. All the sudden, they’re valid again.

The Yankees currently hold the third greatest run differential in the league. Since historical research shows that a team’s record heavily correlates to their run differential, you have to think that the correction will continue for a bit (maybe not in a string of consecutive wins, but certainly in a string of playing .700 ball). They’re 33-31 right now, with a Pythagorean record of 38-26. I’m not saying they’ll fulfill that expectation soon (in fact, given how they played in May, it will be exceedingly difficult to live up to their Pythag record — we’ll need as much good luck in the future as bad luck we had in the past).

(Also, for the record, Boston’s Pythag is 39-26. They’re coming back to earth, and we’re emerging from the depths. This is why we can’t get too worked up over the first two months of the season — though we already did and will continue to do so in the future.)

We’re currently seven and a half games back. Just over two weeks ago, we were 14.5. We have quite an easy schedule coming up: after the Mets, it’s to Colorado, San Fran, and Baltimore. Boston has San Fran, Atlanta, San Diego, and Seattle. That’s three good teams by my count, as opposed to our one (though, while we play the A’s after that stretch, they get the Rangers, so that evens out a bit). If we continue to play well, we can certainly pick up another two or three games over the upcoming stretch. Four and a half out at the end of June? I’ll freakin’ take it.

Oh, and we played a game yesterday. It wasn’t the most interesting of games, but hey, a 7-1 win is a 7-1 win. It honestly looked like we had beaten the Diamondbacks into submission. The Yanks offense wasn’t at the top of their game, but the Diamondbacks’ inexcusably sloppy defense allowed the Yanks to pad a slim lead.

I wish I could think of something new to say about Andy Pettitte. Alas, I do not. He’s not the kind of pitcher who makes you say — or leaves you with the potential to say — “wow” after his starts (like King Felix). He doesn’t blow guys away or make them look like fools. He gets the ball over and makes you do something with it. Fortunately, he’s good enough that most guys can’t do much with his pitches. And for that we’ll always appreciate Andy.

It was tough to tell from the right field bleachers, but Jorge looked a little gassed at the plate. Anyone have any opinions on that? I just hope Joe has the sense to give Jorge a whole day off on Saturday, rather than DH him.

Before I wrap this up, I just want to point something out. I forget what inning it was, but there was a grounder to third at one point, and Miguel Cairo’s sissy arm couldn’t make a throw all the way to first. Phelps-hater Pete Abraham blamed the play on Josh for not being able to pick that ball. However, I have to argue with him. That was totally Cairo’s fault.

See, when you don’t have a good arm, you tend to overcompensate when throwing the ball a long distance. You try to get some extra mustard on the ball and whip it over to first. Naturally, your hand will tighten around the ball a bit more than when you’re throwing free and easy. What this whipping motion and adjusted grip do is put a funky spin on the ball. When it hits the dirt, it’s difficult to determine what it’s going to do (I know this because I have a poor throwing arm).

Maybe Minky has that because he’s seen so many throws. But a guy like Phelps is going to have trouble, not because he’s bad a first, but because of inexperience. I’m not trying to say that Phelps is a good first baseman; he’s no Minky. However, I do feel that if given regular playing time, he won’t be a butcher out there. And he has something to offer with his bat (which, once again, you’re not going to see if you’re playing him once or twice a week).

Rocket vs. Oliver Perez tonight. If only Piazza was still on the Mets…

Last 7 Days
Matsui: .476/.538/.857 — holy crap
Alex: .368/.519/.895
Jeter: .364/.517/.455 — three Yanks with a .500+ OBP…sweeeeet
Abreu: .400/.483/.640
Posada: .312/.455/.500
Melky: .235/.409/.235 — we’ll be fine if he can keep getting on base
Damon: .227/.292/.227 — he’s not hitting well as a DH
Cairo: .250/.273/.350
Cano: .269/.269/.385

Yanks winning with the team they have, not the team they want
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Omaha
  • http://www.dapperdansofharmony.com Chuck M.

    I think that “market correction” is the perfect term. They were nowhere near as bad as their record indicated. Abreu & Cano are NOT .230 hitters, and it was only a matter of time before their numbers started to climb.

    Granted, I don’t think Cano is a .340 hitter, either – I kind of suspect that he’ll come down somewhere around a Mariano Duncan swing-between-.340-and-.270 kind of career. Without any walk totals at all, his numbers depend on how many ground balls squeak through the infield in a given year.

  • John L.

    I suppose it’s probably worth pointing out that one wouldn’t expect a “market correction” for the Yanks to make up the difference between their actual and expected record. We would expect the Yanks to play up to their expected record the rest of the way, not play above their expected record to eliminate that current difference. Playing up to their expected record the rest of the way would leave them the same number of games below their expected record for the year as they are now. That’s the way these things work. They can’t undo what happened the last two months.

    Now, would I like the Yanks to eliminate that difference? Yeah, but they have to overachieve (ie: go on long winning streaks like this) to do it.