A lot of Yankee fans like to point out that 2008 is far from the first time the Yanks have started out slowly. They found themselves in a big hole last year: 10.5 games out before turning the AL East into a pennant race. But there’s something different about this year’s slow start.
As Vegas Watch tells us, Pythagoras, or at least Bill James’ version of Pythagoras, knows the difference. In previous years, as Vegas Watch notes, the Yankees were unlucky; based on the numbers of runs the team had scored and had allowed, the team was underperforming. Through 44 games last year, they should have been 24-20 when they were 20-24.
This year, however, things are different. The Yanks, as sad as it sounds, were actually outperforming their expected won-loss record through 44 games and now right on target at 21-25.
So then what does all this mean for 2008? Well, as Vegas Watch notes, it’s not really relevant to compare the 2008 start to those of previous years because the causes — luck in the past, a slow offensive start this year — are not the same.
Rather, I look at these numbers, and I’m a bit comforted by it. The Yanks’ pitching is right on par with their 2007 numbers; the offense hasn’t been producing at all. We know that the Yanks have missed A-Rod and Jorge Posada, and I believe that, as the year goes along, the Yankee bats will produce at their expected levels. As that happens, that number in the W column will go up, slow start be damned.