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Sunday, March 31, 2013
The mystery of 2013

By Andrew Marchand

Is there a way the Yankees win 95 games again? I think so. It will start with the starting staff and stretch into the bullpen. If the Yankees have dominant pitching, they could have just enough hitting to be back where they usually finish.

But with predictions, you are saying what is the most likely outcome. To me, it is fourth place, though, with a winning record and just on the outside looking in on the second wild card. Of the 11 members of the ESPN New York staff who made predictions, six have the Yankees making the playoffs, five did not. Don La Greca and Mark Simon chose the Yankees to win the division.

I do think the Yankees will be better than the Red Sox. But this is such a crazy division to predict that I'm not even sure about that.

Despite picking them for last in the East, I could make a sound case that Boston will bounce back this year. Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz looked good in the spring and Boston could have some young players, including Jackie Bradley Jr., that might contribute.

To me, this is why this season should be so much fun; especially, for Yankee fans and those of us who cover the team. There is a mystery in 2013, not the same old, 'Will they win the division or the wild card?' Every game has a little more importance because a one-run win in April or May could be the difference between going to the playoffs or not.

In 2012, I picked the Yankees to win the AL East. They were clearly, 1-through-25, the best team in the division and that proved to be true. This year, I can't say that. In fact, there are not many, if any, areas where I think the Yankees are better than '12. It doesn't mean they can't win 95 games -- I just don't think it is the most likely scenario.