The Yankees are going to bounce back in a big way, and here's another reason why from Sax Baxamusa and the Hardball Times:
Despite the fact that there is little or no evidence that a team can control its distribution of runs scored, some teams every year do have weird run distributions. It is probably due mostly to luck. Well, not luck--let's say "unrepeatable performance that does not persist." When we call a team "inconsistent" or "feast-or-famine," we are really saying that they have a weird run distribution.
The Yankees scored 0-2 runs in 6.5 more games than was predicted by the Weibull distribution model. Think of the Weibull model as a more advanced cousin to the pythagorean winning percentage that I've introduced before.
On the other end of the spectrum, they scored 8 runs or more in only 1.8 more games than expected.
Now, I'm not saying that -4.7 difference translates into wins. But some of them will.
If the Yankees had performed to expectations and scored around 5 runs 4 or 5 more times (instead of what they scored) that would have added a win in 16 of the 31 relevant games.
That's 50%. Half of 4.7 games equals 2 wins. We lost the division by those two games.
It's worth remembering that this isn't about projecting runs or performance- we're using the 2007 data to explain what happened in 2007. But from what we understand about 2007 (that the Yankees had some bad luck that caused an unexpected run distribution), we can look ahead to 2008. Better pitching (with or without Santana), a more consistent offense, a deeper bench.
We're going to be great.