COMMENTARY | A few numbers stand out from the New York Yankees' 2013 campaign.
The story they tell isn't exactly pretty and shouldn't give Yankees fans hope when it comes to thinking about next season:
85 - Number of wins. The Yankees haven't won fewer games since 1995, when Don Mattingly played first base. By sweeping the Houston Astros in the season's final three games, the Yankees finished in a third-place tie with the Baltimore Orioles. Otherwise, New York would have finished in fourth place, something New York hasn't done since 1992, when Melido Perez led the team in WAR.
Minus-21 - Run differential. Last season, the Yankees scored 136 more runs than they allowed. This season, they gave up more runs than they scored for the first time since 1992. For comparison purposes, the Boston Red Sox outscored opponents by 197 runs this season.
650 - Runs scored. The Yankees scored their fewest runs in a season since 1990, when Bucky Dent and Stump Merrill "led" the team to a last-place finish. Only five American League teams scored fewer runs than New York this season, and none of them were in the American League East -- not a good sign for a team that plays half of its games versus division rivals.
40,489 - Average home attendance. The Yankees led the major leagues in attendance for the 11th straight season; however, attendance at Yankee Stadium dropped by eight percent compared to last year's average (43,733), which had been the lowest average attendance at the new Yankee Stadium since it opened in 2009.
56 - Number of different players used. Yankees clubhouse manager Lou Cucuzza, Jr., was probably very thankful that the Yankees are one of only a few teams that don't place players' names on the back of their jerseys because more players suited up for New York in 2013 than in any other season in franchise history. The Yankees became one of only five ballclubs since 1920 to use as many as 31 different position players and nearly tied the record (33) set by the 2004 Kansas City Royals.
32 - Average age. Gray hairs weren't the only signs of an aging roster. Mariano Rivera (age 43) tied his career mark for blown saves (7); Andy Pettitte (age 41) looked awful at times; and Derek Jeter (age 39) and Alex Rodriguez (age 37) reminded fans that that the older you get, the tougher it is to return from injury.
$29.1M - Luxury tax. Based on the Yankees' $236.2 million payroll, the Yankees are in line to pay a record $29.1 million luxury tax bill. As I described before the season, New York is taxed 50 cents for every dollar it spends over the $178 million luxury tax threshold. Next season, unless the Yankees pare their payroll down to below $234.5 million, the team's tax rate will increase to 75 cents.
1.000 - Rivera's career WHIP . By pitching 1 1/3 innings of perfect relief in his final appearance, Rivera lowered his career WHIP to 1.000 -- as beautiful a number to a stathead as Roberto Clemente's 3,000 career hits. For me, though, Rivera's postseason numbers stand out most -- 0.70 ERA, 0.759 WHIP, and, appropriately enough, 42 saves.
Howard Z. Unger is a freelance journalist in Brooklyn, New York. For the past 15 years, he has written about sports, media, and popular culture. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, New York Post, and New York Times.
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