We're still a couple weeks away from Opening Day, April 6, 2009. So I've been thinking about what an acceptable April would look like.
I believe the secret to a successful pennant race is to play .500 against the good teams, and pound the lousy teams.
Last season the Yanks went 89-73, a .549 winning percentage. So let's make .540 our cutoff point; that puts the White Sox and the Twins in our "contender" category along with the Big Three in the East, and the Angels (for now, let's leave interleague out of the equation).
Against our 5 contending opponents, the Yanks went 37-33, .529.
Against everybody else in the AL, we went 42-32, .568.
(Several things jump out at me as I peruse the date: first, I'm reminded how good the 2008 Yankees were; second, the Angels were the only team we had a multi-game deficit against; third, the 2008 what ifs begin with our 9-9 record against the Blue Jays.)
But back to the task at hand, check out our dance card:
|Opponent||Games Against||2009 W-L %|
That's 7 games against teams from last season's playoffs, and 16 games against teams who finished 2008 at or below .500.
I'm an optimist at heart, so I'll peg the Yanks for 4-3 against the contenders. That means take 2 of 3 in Fenway and 1 of 3 in the Trop, or vice versa, and beating the Angels in the Bronx to close out April.
Against the sub .500 teams, with nearly half of those games at home, I want to win 6 out of 10. That's 11-5.
15-8. That's not an optimistic perspective; that's "good nuff" considering the quality of our opposition.