Why Beating Good Teams Matters For Yankees

Yankee record against teams over .500 isn't good

With a four-game series against the Red Sox looming this weekend, there's going to be a lot of discussion of the Yankees' 0-8 record against their rivals. Given the fact that the Yankees are in first place, it's easy to say that too much has been made of their struggles with the Sox, and an article in the Wall Street Journal says too much may being made of their overall losing record against winning teams as well.

Starting in 2000, World Series winning teams have had winning records against teams over .500 just four times. Furthermore, the 1995 Braves are the last team to finish the season with both the best regular season record in those games and a champagne celebration in their clubhouse. Interesting enough, although it would only be worth mentioning in relation to the Yankees if the playoffs were starting tomorrow. 

The issue for the Yankees right now is that they are 24-29 against teams over .500 and 34 of their 57 remaining games are against teams that currently have winning records. That makes it more than a little premature to start talking about how a losing record in games against plus-.500 teams doesn't matter, because the Yankees might not have a chance to play anything but golf come October if they don't do a better job.

There are four teams that they're realistically fighting against for a playoff spot. Boston and Tampa in the East, who are joined in the Wild Card fight by the loser of the Anaheim-Texas battle out West. Based on the way things look right now, there aren't going to be many games separating the in crowd from the teams pressing their noses up against the glass. Given the imbalance of their remaining schedule, the Yankees will probably need to squeeze out a few more wins than they have thus far to ensure their inclusion.

There would be worse times to start winning those games than this weekend against Boston. Not because it makes any difference in October, but because it will make all the difference in August and September.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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