The 11-Game Win Streak and the Streaks of 2017-2021
May 5, 2022
The Yankees have started the 2022 season HOT and after 11 straight wins (and 1 loss), they hold the best record in the MLB. It isn’t unusual for us to see streaks like this, but this one felt different to years past. Is that a good omen? THE 2017 WIN STREAK: Going back 5 years from now, we arrive at a Yankees team that many of us look at with disappointment. Not necessarily in the Yankees, but in everything that occurred from that season: Joe Girardi was fired, Gary Sanchez was never the same player, Aaron Judge was robbed of an MVP, and most importantly the Houston Astros ruined the Yankees best recent shot at their 28th title. Interestingly, it is also the season where the Yankees had the most losses (not counting 2020) in the recent history of the Yankees. It was also a season where the Yankees severely underperformed their Pythagorean record as they went 91-71 in a season where it was expected they go 100-62. In that season the Yankees had their best winning streak from April 9th to April 17th, during which they won 8 games in a row. During that streak they won 2 games by blowouts (5+ runs) and 3 games by one run. The Yankees had their worst losing streak from June 13th to June 20th, during which they lost 7 games in a row. During that streak they lost 1 game by blowouts and 4 games by one run (including 2 walk-offs). THE 2018 WIN STREAK: Going back 4 years was the beginning of the Aaron Boone managerial era. The Yankees made big strides towards reaching 100 wins, but failed the secure the AL East as another cheating team not only forced them into the wild card game, but out of the playoffs. In that season, the Yankees had their best winning streak from April 21st to April 29th, during which they won 9 games in a row. During that streak they won 4 games by blowouts and 3 by one run (including 1 walk-off). The Yankees had their worst losing streak from August 1st to August 5th, during which they lost 5 games in a row. During that streak they lost 1 game by blowout and 1 by one run (which was a walk-off). THE 2019 WIN STREAK: Going back 3 years and we arrive at the best regular season Yankees team. They won a miraculous 103 games and made it to the ALCS, only to lose again to the Houston Astros. It stung (and still does) that the Astros beat the Yankees twice in 3 years, especially when the events of 2017 (and 2018) came out this offseason. In that season, the Yankees had their best winning streak from July 31st to August 8th, during which they won 9 games in a row. During that streak they won 3 games by blowouts and 0 by one run. The Yankees had their worst losing streak twice, the first from April 8th to April 12th and the second from August 18th to August 22nd, during each they lost 4 games in a row. During the first losing streak they lost 0 games by blowout and 1 by one run. During the second losing streak they lost 0 games by blowout or by one run. THE 2020 WIN STREAK: Going back 2 years, while a shortened season, saw both the longest winning and losing streaks that we’ve examined thus far. The Yankees made the wild card and threatened in the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays…and that’s all that I’ll say about that. In that season, the Yankees had their best winning streak from September 9th to September 19th, during which they won 10 games in a row. During that streak they won 7 (!) games by blowouts and 1 by one run (a walk-off). The Yankees had their worst losing streak from August 18th to August 28th, during which they lost 7 games in a row. During that streak they lost 1 game by blowout and 2 by one run (including 1 walk-off). THE 2021 WIN STREAK: Going back to last year it was a season to forget. The team was entirely constructed to play “3-true-outcome” baseball and were otherwise hard to watch. It was the worst of the analytics we’ve seen take over the game and the season itself was disappointing after a quick exit from the playoffs. In that season, the Yankees had their best winning streak from August 14th to August 27th, during which they won 13 games in a row. During that streak they won 3 games by blowouts and 1 by one run. The Yankees had their worst losing streak from September 4th to September 10th, during which they lost 7 games in a row. During that streak they lost 2 games by blowout and 2 by one run. THE 2022 WIN STREAK/WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? So far into the 2022 season, the Yankees have had one major winning streak and no major losing streaks (they lost 2 games back-to-back just once so far). The recent winning streak lasted from April 22nd to May 3rd, during which the Yankees won 11 games in a row. During that streak they won 4 games by blowouts and 2 games by one run (including 1 walk-off). So, what does this mean? Likely nothing, however the seasons where the Yankees have had the most success in the recent Yankees years (specifically 2017-2019) they had their big winning streak come earlier in the season. This is a big help to the team outside of getting them a plethora of wins early. Think about it: The Yankees have built up a comfortable lead early in the season. It allows them to comfortably play the game instead of “pressing to win” by overthinking decision making in a last-ditch effort to grab wins. Now, comfortability can be a negative if the team uses that to become complacent, but it also allows the team better ability to create long term plans for how they use players. I’m not worried about the Yankees becoming complacent after a decade+ of not winning anything important. Now, it could also motivate the team to keep giving it their all. Nobody (or at least no professional athlete) should be willing to accept going from first place to anything but. The goal is to win and they’ve given themselves a comfortable lead in making that happen. The early winning allows for the team to have that “we’re going to win” attitude going into each game, and that’s not nothing. I can’t quite put it into a word, so let me explain: My high school soccer team went undefeated during my senior season. Now, because we kept winning it also meant we had a lot more games to play, and with each of those games came extra pressure on us to win. Those games also (mostly) came with something to play for: League Title Game, County Tournament Games and Title Game, State Tournament Games and Sectional Title, State Semi-Final Game, State Final Game. With each game it was win or go home. Except, (and now maybe it’s because I was mainly a substitute player off the bench, but) I didn’t feel like there was any extra pressure. We didn’t get cocky or expect to win. We just knew we would win. It was a full team mindset. We knew what we could do, so we went out and we did exactly that. This early season winning streak should give the Yankees the ability to go into each game with that mindset and attitude. It isn’t cockiness or arrogance. It’s self and team understanding. The Yankees are in a very very good spot right now.