The Yankees have celebrated more often at Yankee Stadium this year and play 12 of their remaining 20 games there as they push to reach the postseason. (Image: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE)

The Yankees must take advantage of kind schedule

The New York Yankees’ nosedive from a ten-game lead in the American League East into the current dog fight with the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays is well documented. The remaining schedule is rather kind for the Yankees. Is there anything in their win/loss record and home/road splits at various points this season which may indicate how they will fare in those games? Besides the home/road splits, are there other factors which may give the Yankees an edge? Let’s investigate.

The Yankees begin the day in Boston tied for first place with the Baltimore Orioles with 20 games remaining on the schedule. The Yanks have eight road dates left including tonight’s series finale with the Red Sox. The other twelve games will be in the cozy confines of Yankee Stadium. Let’s review the Yankees win/loss record in several different respects.

As shown in the chart to right, the Yankees own an overall record of 80-62 heading into tonight’s contest, which is exactly what their Pythagorean W-L record indicates it should be based on their 687 runs scored and 594 runs allowed. Respectable, but after reaching 23 games over .500 back on July 18th, things have not gone so well playing five games under .500 overall. Further reflection shows the Yankees have been awful on the road since July 19. While, it wouldn’t have been earth shattering play, had the Yankees gone 15-14 on the road during that span they’d have a three-game lead instead of being locked in a dead heat with the Orioles. But, as the overall record since July 19 attests, they have not been playing great baseball anywhere.

Can we use any of this information to project the future? I’m not certain the home/road splits are enough on their own to foretell what the next three weeks have in store. We can look to see who they face, where they play and what the opponents’ records are to date and contemplate how the rest of the season may shake out.

This year the Yankees are 43-42 against teams which now have a record of .500 or better. That’s 37-20 against teams which currently sit below the .500 mark. Of the twelve home games the Yankees have left, six are against teams with winning records (Tampa Bay and Oakland; both teams are potential postseason candidates) and the other six are against teams playing below .500 right now (three each against Toronto and Boston). Fortunately for the Yankees, the eight road games left on the calendar are all against teams with a losing record — Boston (1), Minnesota (3) and Toronto (4).

The remaining twenty games the Yankees have left could not have panned out better when considering the factors involved. While they are not especially strong against teams with a winning record, they have played their best ball at home and each game against winning teams is at home. Plus, while the road has not been kind to the Yankees of late, the games they play away from the House that NYC Taxpayers Built, are all against teams with losing records.

Of course there are plenty of other factors to consider where it involves the Yankees. They have had many injuries, but they have dealt with an array of top talent going down since Spring Training and it has not let up all season, so to me that is a wash. Also, we can’t assume the percentages will continue to fall out exactly as they have been or were prior to the lengthy slide they’ve endured. That said, with this information, we can speculate that the Yankees could finish strong considering where they play each of their opponents combined with the records of those teams. Regardless, the Yankees will have to perform well both home and away with Baltimore showing no signs of letting up and the Rays only three back heading into today’s action. Not only is the division race at stake but a berth in the postseason is not solidified either.

One thing is for certain; it won’t come easy no matter the venue. The Yankees have played some hard fought games of late. Their closest competitors are striving for the same goal of reaching the postseason, while the teams who are out of it are playing for pride and trying give their fans a glimpse of what playoff baseball could have looked like in their respective parks; much like this series with the Red Sox has shown. The Yankees have a fortunate schedule ahead and need to take advantage of every edge they are given.

Tags: New York Yankees

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