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May 10, 2007

Get Your Candles Ready!

Did you know, that, if the Boston Red Sox play just one game over .500 for the remainder of the season, the Yankees will have to play .566-baseball to catch them?

Further, if the Red Sox play just five games over .500 for the remainder of the season, the Yankees will have to play .581-baseball to catch them.

I believe that the Yankees can play .566 to .581 baseball for the remainder of their season. Given the talent on their roster, and now that their rotation is in better shape, it's a "doable" expectation.

But, can we expect the Red Sox to only play .504 to .519 baseball for the remainder of their season? That's not very logical.

At the worst, Boston will probably play .535 baseball for the rest of this year. This means New York would have to play .597 baseball to catch the Sox. Can the Yankees play .597 baseball from here out? It's possible - if their pitchers hold up.

But, the point here is that New York now needs Boston to play at it's near worst - while the Yankees play at their near best - in order for New York to (once again) finish first in the A.L. East (this season).

There's a word for this condition. It's called "miracle." The Yankees need a miracle, at this point, to win the A.L. East. It's happened before...see 1978, for sure, and, to an extent, 2005 and 2006.

The key to something maybe happening this season, for the Yankees, as Mike Plugh notes, are those head-to-head games which remain between New York and Boston. Basically, the Yankees need to win 10 of those 12 games remaining against Boston to offset the hole they're in now, and put the two teams on equal footing in terms of facing the rest of the league.

I'll tell you this...if the Yankees do beat up on Boston, and take 9 or 10 out of those 12 games, and end up winning the East, that will make it three years in a row that Boston choked it up to New York (after winning a ring in 2004). If this does happen, maybe it's time to thinking about whether or not Pedro Martinez put a curse on the Sox or something. However, before we even consider that, there's still a ton of things that have to happen right for New York, and bad for Boston, this season.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at May 10, 2007 10:55 PM

Comments

Let's assume we can make up 2 games in the standings on the Sox before we play them next. 5 games back entering the matchup at Fenway.

If we throw Clemens, Pettitte, and Moose at the Red Sox and earn a sweep (somehow), we'd be 2 games back with June, July, August, and September to play. What a difference that would make. Everything would be back in order.

If we lose more ground, let's say the same 2 games, and then lose that series, we'd be looking at a 10-11 game deficit and probably the end of the AL East hopes. In the first week of June.

You could argue that the next 3 weeks are the AL East stretch run, and the next meeting is the opening round of the AL playoffs. It got late early.

Posted by: Mike Plugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 11, 2007 12:43 AM

This next stretch of games, which is brutal, are very important.

But.

The Yankees were four games back in in the division in July of '06. They had ten fewer wins than the Tigers, who were sitting pretty at the time.

The Yankees ended up in first by ten games and had the best record in the league. The Tigers lost their division on the last day of the season, due to a collapse at the end of the year (yes, even with their great pitching). The Red Sox totally fell apart and finished in third.

So anything can happen.

It is important, though, that the Yankees play well over the next two weeks.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 11, 2007 01:03 AM

The Red Sox totally fell apart and finished in third.

The Red Sox were also devastated by injuries. Leaving that out doesn't tell the whole story. Could happen again, but it's not something you want to count on.

Posted by: xxxdanxxx [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 11, 2007 01:59 AM

Yikes, isnt it a little early in the season to break out the fancy math?

What it comes down to is this---

If the Yanks wins 11 more games than the Sox do for the rest of the year, they will overtake them. If they win 10 more, they tie. If they win 9 more they lose.

They rest of those figures and equations make it seem like baseball is a computer program that can be worked out ahead of time. Remember there are slumps, streaks, injuries, 45 yr old pitchers that come into the equation...

I'm just relieved the Yanks are starting to get their act together.

Posted by: JeterReggieGuidry [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 11, 2007 02:02 AM

"The Red Sox were also devastated by injuries. Leaving that out doesn't tell the whole story. Could happen again, but it's not something you want to count on."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't the Yankees 'devastated' by injury as well? Well, maybe not devastated, but 2/3's of our outfield was down for most of the season and the pitching was, I think, more suspect than it is now (at this current moment).

Eh, you just gotta believe.

Posted by: dave24s [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 11, 2007 08:13 AM

Good Lord! I guess we shouldn't even bother with those other 129 games we have left huh?

What if the Sox lose 7 of 10 in a stretch while the Yankees win 7 of 10? They're right back in it.

And I don't think something is that much of a "miracle" if it happens two years in a row with the possibility of a third.

Posted by: JJay [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 11, 2007 08:29 AM

~~~You could argue that the next 3 weeks are the AL East stretch run,~~~

I said that 10 days ago.

http://www.waswatching.com/archives/2007/04/next_fortnight.html

And, I'm still sticking to it.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 11, 2007 09:23 AM

If those guys play like they're playing now for the whole season, they deserve to win the East. But it's very rare that a team plays the whole year that consistently without slumps, slides or injuries, especially in the AL East. Right now, a lot is going their way. If Beckett usually gets lit up for a month or so a season. Shilling's old, Wakefield is prone to it too. The head-to-head games are key, that's where so much gets decided physically and mentally. We got schooled the first six, we need to even that score, or else we'll have a real uphill battle.

Posted by: Exit9 [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 11, 2007 12:17 PM