The New York Yankees have been a sheer disappointment in the month of April, but it is not the time to write them off.
By Emmanuel Berbari
For the first time since 2008, manager Joe Girardi’s first year calling the shots in the Bronx, the New York Yankees will have a losing record in April. Best case scenario, they finish the month 10-12. Worst case scenario, they are 8-14 possessing the worst record in the American League.
This raises the question of whether getting off to a fast start dictates the outcome of a season.
Every year from 2009-2015, the Yankees finished above .500 in the season’s first month. Five of those seven seasons, the Yanks finished the season with a playoff bid locked up. The last five world series champions went a combined 77-46 (.626) in April. Last year, the 10 teams that qualified for the MLB postseason combined for a 128-89 (.590) W-L record in the first 30 days.
Statistically, it appears imperative to get off to a quick start. Logically, it is just too small of a sample size.
The Yankees have played 20 games or just over 10% of an entire MLB season. They sit at 8-12, leaving them well within striking distance yet on pace for a 65 win season at this rate. There lies the point.
29 is the number of games the Yanks will play in the month of May. Say a few of the elements that failed them this month prove relatively positive for them in May and they manage a 16-13 month.
That will leave them at 24-25, likely well within the range of whoever stands atop the AL East on June 1st and certainly within a couple games of the wild card.
It is simply too early to push the panic button.
With the exception of the first six games of the season, the Yankees have not hit at all. They rank 14th in the American League when all offensive categories are taken into consideration, and 12th in OPS (.678). That is certainly not the output they expected.
Their starting pitching has not nearly produced as well. They rank 25th in baseball in starters’ ERA (5.13), wins (4), and innings pitched (112.1).
Long story short, the Yanks have severely underperformed right off the bat. The fact that they have managed even an 8-12 record with those splits is relatively impressive. If a few of those categories take a turn in May, the win column can only skyrocket.
Taking the optimistic perspective: older players can start to get comfortable at the plate, the starting pitching can get pushed, and the bullpen can continue to thrive and possibly become historic when Aroldis Chapman is activated on May 9th. A lot of things can go right in the month of May.
Although it is extremely realistic that the starting staff does not improve, it is hard to believe that this talented of a Yankee lineup will continue to rank 14th in an average American League.
The last time the Yankees had close to this bad of a start was their World Series year of 2009 when they went 12-10 in April. Similar issues were apparent.
The lineup had not come around and the starting pitching was very unreliable. The Yanks can only hope that a turnaround of that type ensues, entailing a 17-11 May and a 103 win season.
That type of success is clearly a stretch for this particular Yankee team, but it may occur to some extent. There is a lot of talent persisting on the 25-man roster for the Bronx Bombers. They may be down, but do not bury them just yet.