by Owen Hetherington and Paul Semendinger
September 7, 2021
It’s been an awful week, a week that reminded us all about the Yankees in the first half of the 2021 season.
But, even with that awful play, even with the Yankees going 2-7 over their last nine games, the Yankees remain in first place in the Wild Card standings.
If the season ended today, the Yankees would be playing at home to determine which team goes to the American League Division Series.
It could be a lot worse.
Even though the Yankees have been losing, a lot, they are still 15-7 in their last 22 games.
Over their last 39 games, the Yankees are 27-12. That’s a .692 winning percentage. It says something when a team has a winning percentage that good after losing seven of nine games.
While the Yankees were shut out yesterday, it was the the first time they had been blanked since August 8 against Seattle. When you look closely, there is reason for hope amid the negative noise.
In yesterday’s game, Jameson Taillon started and took the loss despite tossing a quality start. He bounced back from a tough first inning to deliver 7.0 innings which matched his season high. He allowed only three hits.
Anthony Rizzo is hitting .325/.386/.500 (13-for-40) with nine runs, four doubles, one home run, and four walks in his last 11 games.
Want to know who is pitching well…Lucas Luetge. Since July 9, he has gone 2-1 with one save and a 1.61 ERA (22.IP, 4ER) in 19 relief appearances.
Yesterday, the Red Sox has a great chance to take first place in the Wild Card race from the Yankees. After three innings, at home, with Chris Sale on the mound, they were winning 7-1. That game was one that was in the bag and wrapped up for delivery. The Sox lost. Chris Sale gave up 10 hits and five runs in just 3.2 innings.
Chris Sale is human. He is beatable at home. The Yankees have a great chance if they face the Red Sox in a one-game playoff.
A baseball season is a marathon. The Yankees have the fourth best record in the American League.
Sometimes rooting for a baseball team is just a matter of perspective. Actually, it almost always is.
Quick Quiz – The White Sox are in first place. They are 10 games ahead of the Cleveland Indians and rolling to the division title. The Yankees are in second place, 8.5 games behind Tampa Bay. They are barely hanging in there. Which team has a better record, the Yankees or the White Sox?
Answer – It’s just about even. The White Sox are 79-58 (.577). The Yankees are 78-59 (.569). If the Yankees were playing in the American League Central division, they’d be running away with it.
If the Yankees were in the National League East, they would be 5.5 games ahead of the Braves.
Sometimes, it’s the way you look at things. The Yankees are in a tough division. That mean they have more challenging games and they have to do better than almost every other team in baseball to remain at the top.
There is hope. The Yankees still have 25 games to play.
The Yankees are on pace to win 92 games in 2021. That’s not great, but, on the other hand, they have not had a losing season since 1992.
The Red Sox have had eight losing seasons since then.
The Dodgers have had four.
The Rays have had 12 seasons under .500 this century!
Oh, and the Mets… They have had 17 losing seasons in that time.
All told, considering the alternatives, I’ll take being a fan of the Yankees.