A New Post-Mortem

September 30, 2008 – 11:17 am

Of all the post-mortems that we’ve seen of late, there’s one that doesn’t seem to get much play — and that is, that the one really significant difference between this year and the last several years is Tampa Bay going from last-to-first. Wish away Tampa Bay’s incredible year and instead pencil them in to the 2008 standings with their 2007 record of 66-96 and voila — you pretty much have 2008 looking exactly like 2007, with Boston winning the East and the Yankees winning the wild card. So if you want to come up with an excuse for the Yankees, that seems to be as good as any — as lame as it is. Who could have seen the Rays doing what they did? Hindsight always being 20-20, it was reasonable to expect that the 2008 Yankees would probably perform about as well as the 2007 team. Offensively there really weren’t any changes to speak of, and although the pitching underwent some major changes most expectations were that the pitching would probably net out about the same as 2007. So going in to the season, it was reasonable to expect yet another two-way race between Boston and New York, with one winning the division and the other winning the wild card. But then Tampa Bay showed up at the party and New York was the odd man out.

So what does this mean for next year? The answer is rather obvious — the East is no longer a two-team division. In fact, with Toronto finishing a respectable 10 games over .500, it’s really now a four-team race. Which means not only do the Yankees need to improve in a lot of areas, they need to improve significantly. That’s quite the challenge for next year.

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