On May 29th of last year, I wrote:
Actually, I think I can sum up the difference in the Yankees and the Red Sox over the last couple of years in two names: Jason Giambi and David Ortiz. Yankees have the former and the Sox have the latter.
And, if the last 11 months have shown us anything, it’s told us that this difference no longer exists. In fact, on the whole, the Yankees can hit with the Red Sox, toe-to-toe, and stay with them all day that way.
If anything, when it comes down to the Yankees and Red Sox now, there are three match-ups to focus on:
1. Schilling & Beckett vs. Johnson & Mussina
2. Wakefield & Clement vs. Wang & Chacon
3. The Sox 5th SP vs. The Yankees 5th SP (whomever it may be in both camps)
In “Group 1″ above it will be all about health. The side who is able to stay sound the best will win that match-up.
I actually think “Group 2″ above is a push. Clement and Chacon should run hot and cold all year. And, Wakefield and Wang both need their signature pitch to be on – to be effective – and they both should be OK most of the time.
This leads to “Group 3.” Will it be Wells for the Red Sox? Will it be Pavano for the Yankees? Both are injury plagued now. Will it be Lenny DiNardo for Boston and Jaret Wright for New York? That’s ugly all around. How about Jon Lester for the “Saux” and Matt DeSalvo for the “Bombers”? It’s possible – but not yet likely.
The dark horse here could be someone like Roger Clemens. If he decides to pitch, and outside of Houston, the side that gets him has an edge over the side that does not. Then again, if either team can make a trade for another good SP – like a Dontrelle Willis, Andy Pettitte or Barry Zito – that would also be a huge edge.
What about the bullpens (you might ask)? Right now, they’re about even too – like the hitting.
Between Boston and New York, this season, it’s going to come down to starting pitching. And, the answer just might be “The pitcher to be named later” on both sides.