Yanksfan vs. Soxfan has an interesting look at predicting the win totals for Boston and New York this season.
I’ll take a shot at it without using any heavy math.
I’m going to assume that each team’s bullpen will win around 35 games, as a group. That’s about 5 wins per relief pitcher, probably a tad less considering that a team may end up using 8 or 9 pitchers, or more, (at some point and time) out of the pen.
I think the “Big Three” in the Yankees starting rotation should be good for 42 wins in 2007. And, I think the Red Sox “Big Three” from their rotation should be good for 42 wins in 2007.
So, that’s 77 wins for each team – leaving just the 4th and 5th starters on each squad to determine the final win tally/projection for each team.
Jonathan Papelbon and Kei Igawa – who will win more games? Tim Wakefield/Jon Lester and Carl Pavano/Jeff Karstens/Darrell Rasner – who will win more games? What about Roger Clemens? Until Clemens signs somewhere, I can’t factor him into the equation.
I think the Papelbon & Igawa win totals are the key here – since both teams will be lucky to get about 10 wins from their 5th man-combo in the rotation. Let’s assume those 10 wins – which puts both teams at 87 wins each, with Papelbon & Igawa deciding the final numbers.
Papelbon & Igawa could both win 13 games (each) – giving both Boston and New York near 100 wins for this year. Or, one of them could win 15 games and the other could win just 10 games – meaning a 5-game gap in the standings for New York and Boston.
We have no idea how Papelbon will react from his conversion this season. We have no idea how Igawa will pitch in America this year. Nonetheless, right now, sans Clemens signing with New York or Boston, assuming all other pitchers remain healthy and produce to normal levels this year, Jonathan Papelbon and Kei Igawa may just be the keys to determining who finishes on top between the Yanks and Sox.