Despite losing two out of three to the Red Sox over the weekend and sitting five games out of first place, the Yankees are a good team. They’re outliving their preseason expectations, surprising many who pegged them to be contenders in 2018 but not 2017. And though they’re not leading the AL East, they still have a pretty comfortable lead in the AL Wild Card. That’s just looking at their Wins and Losses column. If we quickly take a look at their run differential, their Pythagorean record shows a stronger ball club that has had a few things go against them.
Not too bad. According to the Pythagorean record, the Yankees should sit alone in first – though barely. In fact, let’s look at the top 5 teams in both leagues.
This time, the Yankees are fifth in the league and third in the AL!
The Yankees stumbled coming out of the gate this season but after an April 9th win against the Orioles, things started to get on track. The Yankees lineup – while one of the youngest in its history – has proven to be monstrous and capable of supporting a lineup that has looked both spectacular at its best and really shaky at its worst.
Yet, as all things that deal with randomness, things haven’t fallen completely on the Yankees side. Had some games gone their way – like Friday night’s game in Boston – New York could very well be battling for home field advantage throughout the AL playoff race. Given their Pythagorean record, they should be 73-50, half a game ahead of Boston – who would be sitting at 73-51.
Instead, the Baby Bombers are facing a 4.5 deficit in the AL East race, albeit they have a slightly comfortable 3.5 game lead in the Wild Card race.
Cashman hasn’t slept through this season either. He’s added many pieces to the team like Todd Frazier and Tommy Kahnle without giving up any of the top prospects in the farm system. Likewise, the team has also seen its production compensate for Aaron Judge’s continuous slump. If Judge manages to snap out of it and contribute like he did during the first half, then this becomes a very scary lineup – no matter who you are.
The return of Masahiro Tanaka – along with CC Sabathia’s start last weekend – will also help bolster the rotation which has held up nicely. And with September a week away, many of the more notable prospects will become available to help make the final push to either overtake Boston or secure the first wild card. If all things go the Yankees way, then New York fans will be sure to experience a deep playoff run.
Currently, given their actual record, the Yankees are set to finish with an 87-75 record, six games behind Boston. But given their Pythagorean, they are actually playing like a team set to finish at 97-65, two games ahead of Boston. It all depends on which team will show up in the final month of the season.
Stats through 8/21.
Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara / USA TODAY Sports