Oh yes! It's almost here. To baseball fans, Opening Day is like Christmas. It's the most wonderful time of the year, for us.
But for us Yankee fans, will our season be wonderful again, like it use to be years prior. Well, two years in-a-row it hasn't been very Yankee-like. In 2013 and 2014, we had to say goodbye to two legends and playoff appearances. Will the Yankees rerun those season again this season, or in 2015 will the they begin a new dynasty.
You know, if you dissect the 2013/2014 seasons for the Bombers, two things happened. One -- they didn't make it to 90-wins. And two -- they've been hit with unexpected teams winning the A.L East.
Let Me Explain the 'Unexpected' Teams
Unexpected teams: The team you think much of having chance, before the season started.
Even in 2008 when the Yankees missed the postseason for the first time in thirteen years, the Tampa Bay Rays came out of nowhere and won the A.L East. It was the beginning of the Rays birth to being a good team. But no one expected the Rays to win 97-games, in '08. Because of Tampa bay, the Yankees missed the postseason for the first time in years. Yankees won 89-games in 2008.
It was the Rays fault!
In 2013, no one expected the Boston Red Sox to be that good by winning the A.L East by 97-wins and that good enough to win the World Series. That was a freakish year for the Sox, where everything went right. As for the Yankees, they ended winning 85-games that season.
It was the Red Sox fault!
Last season, 2014, the Baltimore Orioles were the team to ruin the Yankees spending spree of an offseason. With the Orioles pitching staff, who thought they'd win 96-games and hit as many homeruns as they did. Yankees last season had losing record against the O's, which made their chances more difficult to win the division. Those loses were crucial as they ended the season winning only 84-games, as Baltimore went on to win the East.
It was the Orioles Fault!
Not Getting To 90-Wins Anymore?
In 2013 and 14, Yankees finished with 85 and 84 wins. It took 95 wins or over to win the East in those years. Which tells you they've just missed the playoffs by ten games. Now that sets up the question: Can the Yankees in 2015 be ten more wins better, than they were in those previous years.
It takes 95-wins and over to win the A.L East. Might take just nine or eight more wins, to take the second wild card. But knowing the Yankees, and us fans, they/we want no part of that one-game wild card. But if it's our only chance to make the postseason, we gotta take it.
What Is It Gonna Take For The Yankees To Reach 90, Again
They've got to beat the teams in their division. They cannot have the Orioles winning every series of the season, like last year. Not just the Orioles, can't have the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Rays, too.
Seems like the A.L East is wide open, this upcoming season. The only team that would surprise me if they made a big run at the division or won it, would be the Rays. As for the other teams, it's anyone's year.
Extra inning game-wins, are one of the keys to winning those plus games. Those extra innings wins are big for the teams' mentality. Look at the 2009 Yankees -- look how many walk-offs they had. It gave them so much confidence heading to the postseason, that even Alex Rodriguez, who struggled in the postseason in his tenure with the Yankees, was hitting huge ninth-inning homeruns.
Beat the teams in your division and win as many extra inning games as possible -- that should make the Yankees, at least, five more wins better than last season.
Surprising A.L East Teams?
The A.L East is wide open. The only team that I would be surprised if they made a big run at the division or won it, would be the Rays. As for the other teams, it's anyone's year.
The Red Sox and Blue Jay offense worry me, as a Yankee fan. They worry me because they have a younger and simply better offense than the Yankees. Yanks don't have a player better than Jose Batista. The Red Sox - three, four, five bats (David Ortiz, Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez) look a lot better than the Yankees' three, four, five.
Although, the Yankees pitching gets the edge over the Jays and Sox. Yanks have a better back-end of the rotation and starting staff. Even though their rotation is a question mark, it has a lot more potential than what Toronto and Boston have.
Yankees did not have their full rotation throughout the season, last year. You have to take that into account. C.C Sabathia was out the full year. Masahiro Tanaka was done-for, after the all-star break. And Michael Pineda missed a ton of games in the beginning of the season. Are they gonna miss that many games again?
If they can get a full year from the three big-names starting pitchers, while they added the additions to the bullpen, that's big upgrade from last year.
Is The Lineup Better This Season, Than Last?
Yes is it. Not lightyears better, but it's sure an improvement from last season.
The lineup has gotten younger, better and older, at the same time. Yankees got younger with Didi Gregorius, but get older with Alex Rodriguez returning. Then get better, with Chase Headley. As we all know Headley didn't start the 2014 season, since he was a mid-season acquisition.
The one subtraction in the lineup from last season -- Martin Prado. I liked Prado a lot. That's gonna be a big lost offensively and a lost in the clubhouse. I would've liked to seen A-Rod and Prado together.
If A-Rod plays well, everyone else will play well too. Because he just brings that domino effect to the team; he's got amazing presence. A perfect example is the game two years ago when Ryan Dempster plunked A-Rod, then he hits the big homerun and the Yankee offense explodes.
The top of the order is gonna be a lot faster with Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner batting at the top. With Jeter gone, the top of the lineup is gonna be peskier.
So Will The Yankees Be Ten Wins Better Than Last Year?
Or will they be ten wins better than the past two years?
I'm gonna say: Yes. Why?
Carlos Beltran, who was in and out of the D.L last season, I expect to be healthy and have much better all around season.
Brian McCann is gonna be a lot more comfortable after his freshman year and might have a better feel for that right field porch.
Mark Teixeira is due to have a healthy season.
They'll start the season with Headley. They didn't have him in the start of last season.
Andrew Miller is gonna improve the bullpen massively, since he'll be able to get the top left-handed hitters out.
With Jeter gone now, Yankees have a lot of 'first to home' runners, that can score off a double. May not be a big deal to some, but those are the big rbi-hits that gets the go-ahead run home.
Watch out for Stephen Drew. Had an awful season last year -- he's due to have a comeback year. Also, he's better defensively at second base, than Brian Roberts who started for the team last year.
I expect the team to be much better defensively. The infield of Teixeira, Drew, Gregorius, Headley should be really solid.
Like I said earlier, the A.L East doesn't look as powerful, so I can see the Yankees beating the teams in their division. Yankees, may not have a better lineup than the other teams, but they're more of a complete team.
But you know how the New York Yankees become ten wins better than they were in the last two seasons? Big hits, big outs.
They have to learn how to those close games. If they can learn how to win those games where you say: 'the Yankees weren't even suppose to win that game' -- that's how they enhance their record. Because that's what greats teams do. Greats teams win those games they aren't suppose to and find a way to.
That's the difference between the Yankees of the past two years and the past nineteen years -- they've been good, but not great.
It's time for the Yankees to be great, again.