The Early Season Grind


For whatever reason, the Yankees haven’t been a very good team early in the season lately. Last year they went just 12-10 in April, but 91-49 the rest of the way. If you go back three years, the Yankees are 35-39 in April but 251-161 from May on. It’s frustrating, and no one can seem to figure it out what’s causing this. We’ve just come to accept it.

In his blog post today, Buster Olney examined each American League team’s schedule in the early going. The Yanks have the third toughest schedule in the early going (according to Buster), thanks to 12 straight games against teams that finished .500 or better last season to start the campaign. Just 19 of their first 41 games will be played in the Bronx, and given their recent historical suckiness in April, it’s really not all that hard to envision a scenario in which the Yanks are under .500 on May 1st.

Of course, there’s two sides to every coin. The rough April (and part of May) means that June through September will be much kinder. The Yanks will play just three games against a team that finished over .500 last year (the Phillies) from May 28th through June 25th of this season, and 11 of their first 17 games in September are against some perennial doormats. With fewer games against the better teams in the league in the second half, that means winning streaks stay alive longer, and losing streaks don’t last very long.

A good start is always nice, and yes games in April count just as much as games in August and September, but the Yanks are going to face a tough part of the schedule at some point, and I like that they’ll do it in April. More than likely, they would have stumbled to a .500 or so record in that month, but now it’ll come with the reassurance of knowing that they’ll have a chance to build some serious momentum in the second half and go on into the playoffs with the head of steam like last year. Oh sure, it’ll give the talking heads a lot to … uh … talk about.

“They’re complacent!”

“The starters are worn down from last year!”

“They miss Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon!”

I can see all the headlines now, but it’ll just be the usual MSM gibberish. The important thing is that the toughest part of the schedule will be behind them, and they’ll have a chance to make the rest of the league pay once the team hits their stride. Now, just imagine if they get off to a hot start…

Categories : Rants


  1. The Three Amigos says:

    And if they are .500 on May 1st or better, have mercy on the rest of the league.

  2. Rose says:

    A good start is always nice, and yes games in April count just as much as games in August and September, but the Yanks are going to face a tough part of the schedule at some point, and I like that they’ll do it in April.

    There have been quite a few acquisitions this off-season as well as a good possibility young players increase significantly in production (or decrease) and aging players on teams decrease in production (or increase). So…while the Baltimore Orioles may have been so awful the past few seasons…the combination of their acquisitions, prospect improvement, etc. may cause them to be increasingly better in 2010 than last year. Same could be said in an opposite fashion for the LA Angels (of Anaheim!). So I guess it all plays itself out sometimes.

  3. A good start is always nice, and yes games in April count just as much as games in August and September…


    August September games count way more than April games: August September games are nothing but wall-to-wall playoff previews. Most important games on the slate, you stupid polyanna.


  4. PaulF says:

    Not only do the Yankees have and easier schedule post-April, they have the easiest overall schedule in the AL East.
    As the first commenter said, If they are over .500 through april, the rest of the league is done.

    • Steve H says:

      They have the easiest overall schedule in the East because they don’t have to play…….the Yankees.

      • PaulF says:

        Look at the lower chart. It shows all of out division differences in the schedules of the Yankees, Rays, and Red Sox.
        If you only include out of division games, the Yankees have the second easiest schedule in the East, after the Orioles.

        So, not playing themselves is not the only reason they have an easier schedule.

        • Steve H says:

          Yeah, but you can’t really predict if a schedule is easy. Some teams will play a lot better than expected, some a lot worse. Strength of schedule is pretty meaningless in almost all sports.

          • Thomas says:

            It is probably the most meaningless in baseball, since the starting pitcher you face has a huge impact on how tough a team is. No other sport has a player (who routinely changes) that can effect a game that much.

            • Januz says:

              A goletender in hockey has the biggest impact in sports. Think of where Team USA would have been without Miller?
              As for early season games, keep in mind, baseball is not the NFL, it is a marathon not a sprint. Those games are generally not as important as later in the season (See 2010 Yankees/Red Sox Or the Yankees getting swept by Anaheim before the All-Star Break. Where did those teams end up?). The beginning of the season is blown way out of proportion. I remember the poor start to the 1998 Yankee Season and how the media was saying how Torre’s job was in jeopardy after a bad start. It did not exactly hurt them.

        • Chris says:

          I would like to see what that analysis looked like if they used projected standings for this year rather than last years win/loss. Not sure that it would make a significant difference, but it might.

  5. Jammy Jammers says:

    How is the clubhouse chemistry since Melky left???

    • Rose says:

      Much better since he was hispanic and lazy and dragging the team down passing out constantly under the bench to avoid having to work at all and being seen…

      • Rose says:

        [Death Camp of Tolerance]

        (Stan and Randy walk up to the sleeping Mexican janitor in the museum of tolerance)
        Randy: Here’s a good one. It’s the stereotypical ‘sleepy Mexican’.
        (The janitor wakes up)
        Janitor: Aw man, what time is it?
        Randy: Oh I’m sorry. I thought you were a wax sculpture.
        Janitor: Nah man, I’m the janitor. I’m supposed to be cleaning but I’m so tired……Ah so sleepy.

    • larryf says:

      Tomorrow is “team chemistry day” for the Yanks. Last year’s billiards/pool worked out so well and was so much the deciding factor in winning it all that Joe has planned a big miniature golf outing. The season will be just a formality….

  6. DP says:

    “They’re complacent!”

    “The starters are worn down from last year!”

    “They miss Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon!”

    “They’re old and this is the beginning of the end!”

    “The Red Sox organization is miles ahead of them at this point!”

    “This is the year the 20-10 Orioles make it!”

    “In the last 24 years, only 8.6% of teams with a record of 3-6 in their first 9 day games has made it!” /Stark’d

    • bexarama says:

      “The Red Sox organization is miles ahead of them at this point!”


      “They have finished 1-2 in the American League standings nine times in the past 11 seasons and are on pace to do so again this year, only this time, there can be no debating which is truly the better team… The playoffs may be a long way off, but it would seem the Red Sox are better equipped to succeed there as well. With a deep starting pitching staff and bullpen, playoff-tested veterans with recent postseason success and a deep bench to boot, the Red Sox have the edge over the Yankees in almost every area.”


      • Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

        Ted Keith = Failure.

        • bexarama says:


          The day before the Series started, Sabathia talked at length about his friendship with Lee, and recounted how the two had had dinner at Sabathia’s house back in April after the first game at Yankee Stadium, when Lee shut down the Yankees and beat Sabathia much the same way as he did on this night.
          CC left in a 1-1 tie and the Yankee bullpen totally imploded. Sabathia didn’t factor into the decision. FACTCHECKING FTW!!!!

          Also, Andy outpitched him in one game at Cleveland. Therefore, I declare Andy Pettitte is a better pitcher than Cliff Lee at this point in their careers. It is a flawless assertion.

  7. Riddering says:

    Remember last year when you guys kept beating the drum that it was okay the team hadn’t quite hit its stride yet in April and then the Yankees went on to win the World Series?

    That was cool.

    • bexarama says:

      Remember when they lost five in a row to the Red Sox and Rays in May right before A-Rod came back and the season was OMG OVAAHHHHHH? I don’t.

  8. dalelama says:

    I will be saving my “they miss Matsui and Damon” comments for October. LOL…

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