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April 25, 2006

Beating Tampa
by SG

Last year, the Yankees lost the season series to the Tampa Devil Rays, 8-11. This was very frustrating, considering that the Yankees had an 80-31 record against Tampa historically. For comparison's sake, Boston went 13-6 against them last season.

Tampa's lost 3 in a row now and have allowed the most runs in the league at 121. They have a team ERA+ of 75. Their offense is solid at an OPS+ of 110, but their defense is on pace to allow 67 runs more than average by zone rating.

If Tampa plays to their pythagorean record over the rest of the season, they would finish 65-97.

8-11 isn't going to cut it this year. Using the two teams' current pythagorean records with Bill James's log5 method for predicting expected winning percentage based on your opponent yields the following results.

Yankees' pythag Wpct: .690
Tampa's pythag Wpct: .396

log5 Wpct for Yankees: .772

This means that if pythag is an indicator of the two teams' respective talent levels, the Yankees should be expected to win 14-15 games against Tampa.

Pythag is not very meaningful after fewer than 20 games and only a few opponents, but the point is basically that if the Yankees want to win the division, they need to beat Tampa this season, and do so convincingly.

Let's see if Moose can do his job against Scott Kazmir. I don't expect the Yankees to hit Kazmir hard, but hopefully they can make him work and get him out of the game early.