Winning less than 90 games has happened just twice in the past 17 seasons for the New York Yankees, and MLB betting boards have not seen a win total for he futures odds under 90 for 15 years.
That streak is in jeopardy of being snapped unless action the next few weeks pushes the current line up a couple of wins by Opening Day. We still see 88 for the magic number at The Greek, which is where the Yankees sat in the general overview for season win totals, and the UNDER is juiced at -135 (O +115).
It's worth noting that the last two times the Yankees didn't win 90 games was 2008, an 89-win season that saw them finish third in the AL East. The time before that was 2000, an 87-74 mark that was good enough to win the division before running through the playoffs to a World Series Championship.
Old Roster Makes For Many Questions
There haven't been many changes to the roster from the club that won 95 games and reached the ALCS in 2012, so maybe the veteran lineup shouldn't be counted on to fall off much despite being 12 months longer in the tooth. Still, it's difficult not to question a team that is this old.
We haven't even seen two of the key pitchers in game action this spring, two arms that Joe Girardi is going to be counting on a lot. Mariano Rivera is 43 and wouldn't surprise me if he pitched well and saved 35-40 games for the Yanks. But expecting Andy Pettitte, 41 in June, to hold up for more than 18-20 starts is asking too much, and that means the starting depth will be tested right off the bat.
Derek Jeter, 39 this June, is hoping to be ready to play by April after breaking his ankle last October in the ALCS, and I'm not even sure the team wants 37-yr-old Alex Rodriguez back at any point. He'll be replaced by a more youthful Kevin Youkilis (34 in a few days) at third base.
CC Sabathia is taking it easy this spring after some elbow cleanup, and Curtis Granderson is expected to miss the all of April after breaking his arm in his very first at bat of the spring. Both will be 32 on Opening Day, which makes them kids on this roster, along with soon-to-be 33-yr-old Mark Teixeira who was shut down this week with a wrist injury that will keep him out of action until mid-May at the earliest.
GM Brian Cashman was very quiet this winter and didn't add much to the mix, Youkilis being the biggest acquisition, meaning it's going to be up to some of the young blood like Ivan Nova and David Phelps on the mound, and a full and solid season from Joba Chamberlain in the 'pen while Brett Gardner and Eduardo Nuñez pick up some slack.
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Schedule Includes NL West For Interleague Play
New York's schedule begins at home with three against Boston, and 54 of the club's 96 games before the All-Star break will take place in the Big Apple. In fact, it's a fairly nice slate in terms of long flights with only two trips to the Pacific Time Zone despite playing a majority of interleague games vs. the NL West. Including a 3-game set at Colorado in May, only 18 of the 162 games will take place outside the Eastern and Central Time Zones.
There will be a long, 10-game roadie in June to the West Coast against the Mariners, Athletics and Angels, locales the Yankees split 6-6 during the 2012 season. A 5-game trek to meet the Dodgers and Padres is the only other venture west.
The home-heavy first half will end abruptly after the All-Star Game when the Yankees play 15 of 18 games away from the Bronx to begin the second half. Games in Boston, Texas, Los Angeles, San Diego and Chicago's South Side are the road contests in that span, and it won't be a picnic when that ends with a return to New York to host the Tigers and Angels back-to-back for seven matches.
If there's an easy part to the second-half slate, it's not until the final three games when the Yanks are in Houston against the Astros. That should be a good thing for New York and its backers if the team is still in the playoff hunt or looking to reach that 88-win plateau. But my crystal ball says even if the Yankees sweep that set, they'll still far short. Look for an 87½ figure and see if you can get a -115 or -120 price if possible.
My MLB pick: Yankees Under 87½ winsSBR News- Baseball Sportsbook Preseason