The Yankees have defied the general principles of sports this year by playing better and better in conjunction with losing more and more players.

They have been the Bizarro Yankees. Their roster got uglier and their record got prettier. It made no sense. Their players dropped and their fortunes rose.

It took, of all things, being on the same field with the worst team in the American League, maybe one of the worst teams ever, to serve as a harsh reminder just how depleted the Yankees’ lineup is these days.

When I pointed out the posted batting orders on a TV to a scout before last night’s Astros-Yankees game, he responded with, “Wow, I really hadn’t looked at them side-by-side until now.”

And that was not the “wow” of someone impressed by the overall skill. It was the “wow” of seeing two lineups more befitting Kissimmee or Steinbrenner Field in early March. The microscopic size of the crowd — ignore the announced number of 34,262 — brought even a greater spring training tinge to the proceedings.

Still, on the next-to-last day of April, you figured a combination of the Yankees’ pixie dust and Andy Pettitte would be enough to subdue a team that just scored 10 runs total while being swept four games at Fenway. Houston’s offense is so bad it deeply feels the loss of Yankees castoff Justin Maxwell (fractured left hand) and uses perennial Yankees minor leaguer Brandon Laird to hit third.

The Astros are so young and talent-deprived they are well on their way to easily breaking the major league strikeout record. Thus, they seemed ready-made for the savvy Pettitte to seduce and reduce them to a conveyer belt of incompetent outs.