Thursday, May 19, 2011

Yankeestistical Analysis: Why must we always suck in May?

Every May first, as the Yankees cavort around their traditional may pole, the team is magically transformed into the Milwaukee Brewers.

Don't believe it? OK, Mr Dou Ting-Thomas... check out the stats, the numbers, the red meat and salt potatoes of pure, unadulterated scientific research:


2011: 6-10 (.375)
2010: 16-13 (.552)
2009: 17-11 (.607)
2008: 14-12 (.538)
2007: 13-15 (.464)

For those of you without computer skills, don't worry. I wrote some code and did some crunching.

The overall record in May stands at 66-61, a winning percentage of .519.

That's third place almost anywhere except the National League Central, where it leads the division by 12.

Of course, any respectable scientist asks the same question: Dude, what the fuk? Why May?

Is it because we once had a pitcher named Rudy May, and he put a secret curse on us? Maybe.

Is is because we once traded a raft of prospects for the soften bat of John Mayberry? Could be.

Is it the Spider-Man musical, where Peter Parker is trying to protect Aunt May? Doubtful.

But what is it about May that puts Jeter's bat into a coma, sends Bobby Abreu into pre-retirement and even ages Mariano?

My guess: It's the sap thing. We always suck when our sap is running.

Remember 2009, our championship year, but we couldn't beat the Redsocks to save our lives? (Of course, that was our best month of May, so let's not give ourselves false hope.) May is an illusion, a dream, a drug-induced hallucination.

Right now, this isn't happening. We're sleeping, dreaming that Bartolo Colon is one of baseball's best pitchers, and John Lackey is the worst. Right now, the LSD flashback from 1965 (in Alphonso's case, from last Tuesday) has made us think that Brett Gardner is the worst base-stealer on the Yankees. Right now, when CC Sabathia takes the mound, we have a 50-50 chance of winning. See, it's not real.

That ledge you're standing on? It's not there. Go ahead and jump. You'll be OK.

It's May. Of course, one of these Mays, we're going to suck in June, July, August and September. (But not in October.)

We have too many stars in the Augusts of their careers. And we have too few in the Aprils and Mays.

To win in mid-May, you need career arcs in mid-May. You need equilibrium.

Until we field a lineup of young and old -- rather than old and older -- we will stumble and fall further behind. Milwaukee, here we come.  MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY...

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