The New York Yankees are off to a nightmarish start to the 2021 MLB season, posting the American League’s worst record through 15 games. While frustrations among fans have already started to boil over, the betting odds suggest that the team will eventually turn things around.
Even after a weekend sweep at the hands of the rival Tampa Bay Rays dropped New York to 5-10, the Yankees are still the AL favorites despite getting off to their worst start in nearly a quarter-century.
New York has the best odds to win the AL East (-160) and the AL pennant (+230) at FanDuel Sportsbook. Only the NL's Los Angeles Dodgers are given a better chance than New York to win the World Series (+550).
The Boston Red Sox sit atop the AL East with a 4.5-game lead over the Yankees but are viewed as a relative long shot to win the division (+500). The Toronto Blue Jays are given the best chance to outlast the Yankees in the AL East (+430) after a 7-9 start. The Rays (+900) aren't projected to perform much better than their current .500 record.
The Chicago White Sox have the second-best odds to represent the AL in the World Series (+400). Chicago is followed by the Houston Astros (+700) and Minnesota Twins (+700).
Those odds are not at all reflective of the latest standings or how the Yankees have looked on the field. Only the NL's 4-12 Colorado Rockies have a worse record than New York in all of MLB.
The Yankees are struggling in every phase of the game. A lineup headlined by sluggers Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge somehow ranks dead last in MLB with a .642 OPS. New York’s 4.74 ERA is 12th among 15 AL teams. The Yankees have been a disaster defensively, committing more errors than anyone else and posting the worst fielding percentage in baseball.
Gerrit Cole has been one of the club’s few consistent performers with a 1.82 ERA and 0.81 WHIP in four starts. The ace gave up an RBI double to the Rays’ Yoshi Tsutsugo on his 109th pitch Sunday afternoon that was the difference in a 4-2 Yankees’ loss.
“You have to strap your boots on and wade through the mud a little bit,” Cole told reporters after New York extended its losing streak to five games. “If we stay in that mindset and we leave the field every day exhausted, good things are on the horizon. But I don't have the magic wand; I don’t know when it's going to turn.”
There is plenty of time for the Yankees to turn their season around. More than 90% of the schedule has yet to be played. Fifteen games in an MLB season is the equivalent of fewer than eight games in an 82-game NBA or NHL season. An NFL team would only be at halftime of its second game at this point in the season.
The Yankees are off to their worst start since the 1997 season, during which the team rebounded from a 5-10 start to win 96 games and a wild-card berth. Just two years ago, New York lost eight of its first 13 games before winning the AL East with a 103-59 record.