Like everybody else, I am thoroughly frustrated with the way the Yankees have been playing. I knew the team had weak spots, but coming out of spring and especially after starting 4-2, nobody expected them to do this badly. Brian Cashman believes this team is better than they look, and I can understand what he means. Yet I cannot get away from what my screen looks like when I see the AL East standings.
The saying goes that players play to the back of their baseball cards. For those that remember baseball cards (or maybe still collect them), the back of the card had the career stats for players. The saying means that a player's stats reflect their true ability over time. So even if they are in slumps, they will come out of them. It's an interesting concept - that if a hitter is truly a .300 hitter and they hit .250 in the first half of the season they'll likely have another half season where they hit .350. It's a simplified form of the law of averages, another way of saying "he's due up for a hit" or "it will all even out in the end".
Brian Cashman is counting on this principle to save the Yankees 2016 season. Of course, that assumes it can be saved. Right now the Yankees are 10-17. That is 8 games below .500 that the Yankees have to make up. I am not saying that I am ready to give up on this season, but they would have to go 80-55 the rest of the way just to reach 90 wins. That may or may not earn them a playoff spot. I checked, and they haven't done that since 2012 when they finished the season going 81-54 after the first 27 games. That year was the last time the Yankees won their division. It was also the last the Yankees won a playoff series. I'm not saying it's impossible. I'm just saying that it's a tall order. That's especially true when you consider how good that team was.
The good news is that I think Cashman is partly right. There is no way on Earth I believe that Michael Pineda and Luis Severino are 6+ ERA pitchers, or that Nathan Eovaldi is a 5+ ERA pitcher. Nor do I believe that Mark Teixeira and Brett Gardner are sub .250 hitters. They will bounce back and the team will improve when they do.
The problem with the back of the card is that you have no guarantees on when things will "even out". They are 6 games out of first place, and if they don't turn it around quick, it will be a pretty deep hole out of which they'll have to dig . You also have to keep things constant in order for the concept to work. Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia are on the DL, and it sounds like Jacoby Ellsbury may miss some games with an injury. We are getting hit with injuries again, and you never know which team will take the field.
This team is better than their numbers suggest. I get that. We all get that. It's just high time that it was as obvious on the field as it is on the back of the baseball card.
--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
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