|It's all about the guys who throw the ball.|
But CC Sabathia was still pitching, if differently. Hiroki Kuroda isn't slowing down, and neither is Andy Pettitte (despite last night's whooping at the hands of the hapless Astros). Phil Hughes has looked better the farther he moves from his Spring Training back injury. Ivan Nova on the DL after an unimpressive string of starts, but David Phelps and Adam Warren are on the roster to solve exactly that problem.
Pitching wins. Slap together whatever lineup you want, and if you get good pitching, you can win the game.
So far, the Yankees have had decent pitching, right around league average. But they've gotten some great performances on the nights they needed it and are out performing their Pythag expected winning percentage by a couple games. Sometimes, you need a little luck (especially when $80 million worth of All-Stars on the DL).
The adage is to take 2 out of 3 from the second tier teams and play .500 against the contenders. If we call contenders any team that finished within 3 of the second Wild Card spot, our 2013 American League contenders are the Orioles, the Rays, the Tigers, the A's and the Rangers.
In April, the Yanks have played 9 games against contenders and 16 games against the second tier. If they went 5-4 against contenders and 11-5 against the rest, they'd have 16 wins and 9 losses. Instead, they're 15-10.
Same pitching staff, same expectations, same result.
Push tonight's Astros game into the May pile, and the Yanks should play 21 games against non-contenders and 9 against contenders. Look forward to a 19-11 May that'll keep the Yankees on pace to win 100 games.