Why Wins Today May Mean Loses Tomorrow

Yankee fans were unhappy—to say the least—on Monday night, when the Yankees surrendered first place to the Rays for the first time since August 3. Tuesday night, the Yankees got first place back, and breathed a sigh of relief.

Amidst all that anger came an interesting thought: what if, by some chance, the Yankees didn’t win the division?

That question is easy enough to answer. They would most likely win the Wild-Card, and would be playing the Twins in the first round instead of the Rangers. They would not have home field advantage either.

Interestingly enough, that road really wouldn’t be so bad for the Yankees. In fact, it may even be the preferred road to take.

The Twins do have the better record, but the Yankees are much better equipped to take on the Twins as opposed to the Rangers.

First off, the Yankees have a .667 winning percentage against the Twins, and a .500 percentage against the Rangers. Although that is a small sample, it is telling. (Not to mention the trouble the Yankees had with the Rangers just this past weekend.)

Another thing to consider is that the Twins have just one left-handed starter, while the Rangers have two, one of which is Cliff Lee who the Yankees can’t seem to beat. That’s significant considering seven Yankee hitters have batting averages below .275 against lefties this year, including key hitters Alex Rodriguez (.244 vs. lefties), Mark Teixeira (.260), and Nick Swisher (.266). As a team, they hit just .259 against lefties, the sixth lowest in the American League.

Furthermore, the one lefty Twins starter, Fransisco Liriano, has not overpowered the Yankees throughout his career. Despite his 3.12 career ERA against New York, he is 0-2 in the games he has started against them.

In terms of hitting, the Rangers and Twins are nearly tied for the league lead in batting average, with the Rangers leading by an insignificant .001. However, the Yankees would have less trouble facing the Twins, who no longer have Justin Morneau. As we saw over the weekend, the Yankees have trouble holding down the Rangers.

What about home field advantage? It is true that losing the division would mean losing home field advantage. But the Yankees are still a very good team on the road. Before the Yankees recent crash, they had a .575 winning percentage on the road. Although their home percentage is much better, the Yankees would benefit from playing a worse team on the road.

It is a crazy notion, but the Yankees would likely be much better off losing their next couple of battles to win the war. No team ever wants to lose, but for the Yankees, winning today may mean losing tomorrow.

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10 Responses to Why Wins Today May Mean Loses Tomorrow

  1. Mike S. says:

    I say, be careful what you wish for. I remember how many Yankee fans felt relieved in 2006 that the Yanks "only" got the Tigers in the first round. We know what happened.

  2. Eric Communiello says:

    Home field advantage, home field advantage, home field advantage.

    There's really no argument if you ask me. The Yankees have the 2nd best home record in the AL. You know who has the best? The Twins.

    The Twins look very good right now, I wouldn't write them off quite yet.

  3. Jess K Coleman says:

    I'm not writing them off. All I said was that the Yankees would have an easier time against the Twins.

  4. Debi dicio says:

    I like Yankees Rangers
    Yankees will knock them off maybe in seven buy they are capable and can do it!
    They never take the easy road anyhow~

  5. Steve Henn says:

    Still, playing in front of a home crowd is a powerful thing, and no team should be willing to lose games, ever.

    The Yankees have had great success against the Twins, but, as John Sterling has everyone saying, you can't predict baseball. This season is not over yet, and with the way the Yankees have played of late, it's just evidence.

    The Yankees have to start winning games again, bottom line.

  6. Steve Henn says:

    I ended the second sentence in the second paragraph abruptly. Let me say that it is just evidence pointing towards the saying, by which I mean that anything can happen. It is baseball we are talking about.

  7. Something you wrote was bothering me, so I looked it up. The Yankees actually do very well against lefties this season. They are second in OPS+ against them in the AL at 116. Only the Red Sox hit them better. The batting average may be low, but they are drawing walks and hitting for power.

  8. michael says:

    When it comes to World Championships the mere thought of backing into the playoff makes every Champion in Yankee baseball past cringe if their still alive or role over in there grave.

    The notion of handicapping baseball like the other sports via a wild card mind set is crazy.

    You want 28 , you win your division, division playoffs, the Al pennant. Then you have to beat the Phillies in the World Series. Just like in the 70's with the Dodgers.The Phils will be there. You get there by winning, nothing else matters.The Yankees will never be the MARLINS of 97 & 2003.

    Lets keep George's (THE BOSS) attitude, their is no substitute. WIN, win, win. Raise the Flag !!!

  9. Winning a World Series via the Wild-Card is no less worthy than winning it via the division. Please.