A Team Called Nemesis!

It’s all about the D-Rays. From YES to the FAN all the way up north to our esteemed NESN (witnessed moments ago on tonight’s pregame), everybody wants to talk about how those pesky Devil Rays have handled the Yankees (in contrast to our Bosox’ record against the maturing Floridians), and how that’s the most basic difference between our rival teams. Even one of our favorite non-hyperbolists, Gordon Edes, has gone on the air as saying this is the simplest explanation for the state of the division.  I am curious to know whether our Yanks fan readers buy into this straw man of an argument.  Is it really all about the Rays?  Or is it about a now hurt but poorly constructed rotation, an aging outfield, a tired ‘pen, a fatigued rookie at second base, and a team that shall remain nameless to the north?  Not to take anything away from the Devil Rays and their efforts against the Yankees (they are most definitely appreciated in these parts), but this is not the "simplest" explanation in this case, just the most simplistic one.  The Yankees have had many more problems than just their division mates from Tampa Bay.

18 comments… add one
  • Where does macro intersect with micro? Yes, the Yanks are an aging, not especially well constructed behemoth. But they’re getting pummelled by those Tampons once again tonight. Tampa has improved, but they’re not this great. Is a team’s performance against ANY team reflective of their actual ability? Or with even 19 games are we looking at statistical noise?

    YF September 7, 2005, 7:25 pm
  • it’s kind of like the orioles last season…i can see the correlation. but i think it’s far from the only factor.
    also, i like the phrase “maturing Floridians.”

    beth September 7, 2005, 9:15 pm
  • Exorcized!

    YF September 7, 2005, 9:49 pm
  • Does this also explain the abysmal 7-6 record against the unnamed to the north? I’m curious how fans of the team to the north explain this, besides the fact that they have a better overall record (note: overall record is not better due to play against most hated rival).

    YF in VT, UK, CA, MA, CT, RI, ME September 7, 2005, 9:51 pm
  • Giambi for President.

    john yf September 7, 2005, 10:47 pm
  • cheater…

    raphy September 8, 2005, 7:46 am
  • I guess those “poorly constructed rotation, an aging outfield, a tired ‘pen, a fatigued rookie at second base” Yankees having a winning record against the Sox, or the fact that the Sox can’t beat those maturing Canadians don’t mean nothing, huh?

    Bozo September 8, 2005, 8:34 am
  • By the way raphy is that your real posting name or is it supposed to be ralphy, can’t you even spell your own name, dumbass.

    Bozo September 8, 2005, 8:40 am
  • Let’s not make it personal there, Bozo.

    YF September 8, 2005, 9:23 am
  • wow.
    One would think that both teams lost last night. They both won, right? I know I am a lunatic Sox fan, in need of mental health help, which means I did watch both games together, and maybe I was dreaming the whole thing? I’m so confused. Why is Bozo so angry today?

    brad-sf September 8, 2005, 12:06 pm
  • Did the Sox fans all disappear on the same day? I’m still waiting for the explanation for the questions posed by YF in the comments above.
    The best “raphy” could come up with was cheater?? Rather disappointing from the usually erudite Yankee hating baseball fans.

    NYYF September 8, 2005, 12:20 pm
  • i beleive that “raphy” as a name is referring to Palmeiro (busted steroid cheater. it’s a joke, it would seem. you people really don’t understand? sad.

    Ric September 8, 2005, 12:36 pm
  • NYYF: We’re here, just avoiding the obvious. The fact that the Rays are beating up on the Yanks more consistently than normal is most definitely a product of playing them so much. Just like when Boston loads the bases on Mariano, or even better, sends him packing; when a team has the confidence that it may be able to do something, failing at it becomes less of a probablility.
    Boston believes they can beat Mariano, which is why they do it more than any other team. Tampa feels they can beat NY, and after 19 times per year, that confidence is going to shine through. Is Tampa a pain in the ass? Of course, but it has nothing to do with them being a better team than NY. NY is better in every single possible way than Tampa – but when one team plays to win, and the other plays not to lose, the team that plays to win usually gets the cookie.
    Of course the wins are a result of the high number of games, confidence in ability, and NY’s lackluster performances against TB – it has nothing to do with who is the better team. Sometimes, the worse team gets the break, and if you want any further proof, just see the Baltimore record against the Sox over the past five years. It’s the best in Baseball, and that includes NY. Have the O’s been better than NY over that time?
    If NY would just try to show up against this team, the record would be turned around. But, since they choose to lay down for the the Rays, the blame sits directly on the collective Yankee shoulders.

    brad-sf September 8, 2005, 12:38 pm
  • since the all-star break, the d-rays have scored only 3 fewer runs than the Yanks. of course their era is a lot higher.
    against the yanks, they’re loose and confident. one of them said the baseball cliche, “this is our world series.”
    obviously they got that from lou. why doesn’t he do as good a job when they play boston?

    john yf September 8, 2005, 12:56 pm
  • Is there such a thing as a match-up problem in baseball? I ask this in earnest only because it seems that (as opposed to other sports) there’s a higher degree of luck in any one baseball game. We hear a lot about matchup problems in football and basketball, but not so much in baseball.
    Brad-Sf brings up an interesting point about familiarity helping out worse teams, but his supposition doesn’t account for Boston’s easy handling of Tampa and the Yanks success with the Jays. I wonder if there is something about the actual make-up of the Rays that helps them against the Yanks. In recent history, the Yanks have had difficulty against teams like the Angels, teams that are speedy and pesky on the base paths. Is there any connection to the Yanks’ problems with fast runners?

    Nick September 8, 2005, 1:56 pm
  • Hey Brad what’s your explanation for the Sox’ 3-8 record vs Toronto? Isn’t Boston “better in every single possible way than ” Toronto? Is Boston “playing not to lose” against Toronto? Maybe if Boston “would just try to show up against this team, the record would be turned around”, huh?

    Bozo September 8, 2005, 4:08 pm
  • Bozo, I totally agree. Now go punch a wall or something. I gave the friggin Yanks a lot of props in my post, so I don’t know why you feel the need to get your panties all bunched up about it. Everyting I said about the Yankees can also be applied to the Sox versus some teams. FWIW, are you seriously trying to tell me that the Yankees have come witht the A game with TB comes to town?
    Jeez, I can’t even pay a compliment without our resident site psychological doctor wanting to argue about it.
    Nick, I agree that there are certain teams that create match-up problems for the Yanks and Sox – mostly those with recently called up pitchers and ex-players of each squad..

    Anonymous September 8, 2005, 7:10 pm
  • I think the issue here is that there are team-to-team matchup issues on a micro level (hitting a pitching rotation at the right time, whether or not a team is facing a rookie callup for the first time, etc.) that can’t be factored into a vacuum-packed analysis. If 60 at bats are a small sample size for a player, than are 11 games against a single team a small sample size for a whole club? It’s a similar percentage of a season, right? I mean, if the Sox had just played .588 ball against both the Orioles and the Jays, they’d probably have the division locked up right now. That’s a silly supposition, of course, because it ignores the ebb and flow of an entire season, when a team plays another one, whether it’s on the road at the tail end of a long trip or at home to start a nice homestand, whether a rotation is healthy or hurt, etc. My main point in starting this thread was to call the argument that the Yankees owe their deficit in the division to the Devil Rays simplistic. Mathematically that might be true, but it’s also unenlightening, a copout for analysts (like Murray Chass today, on cue) unwilling to engage a more sophisticated debate.

    SF September 8, 2005, 7:16 pm

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