• Previewing The Showdown In The Bronx

    Posted by on August 25th, 2008 · Comments (12)

    Here’s some thoughts on the upcoming Sox-Yanks series…

    Tuesday, Wakefield vs. Pettitte

    The last time that Wakefield pitched was August 6th – nearly three weeks ago. He’s been sidelined with tightness behind his right shoulder. David Pauley could pitch for Boston if Wakefield cannot answer the bell. Before he got hurt, Wakefield was dealing. In his last 13 starts, he threw 88 IP with an ERA of 2.66. In those games, batters only hit .194 against him.

    Andy Pettitte has gone seven innings and allowed three runs or less in his last three starts. However, his home ERA this season is 4.72 (in 82 IP) compared to 3.67 on the road (in 88.1 IP).

    Wednesday, Byrd vs. Ponson

    In his last seven starts, Byrd has an ERA of 2.79 (in 48.1 IP). He’s allowed exactly 4 runs in each of his last two starts – both for Boston.

    In his last start, Ponson allowed seven earned runs in just two innings of work. He’s started 10 games for the Yankees this season, allowing a BA/OBA/SLG line of .313/.383/.479 to the 249 batters that he has faced.

    Thursday, Lester vs. Mussina

    Lester got hammered in his last start. He allowed seven earned runs in 2.1 IP. However, in the 6 starts prior to that one, he pitched 42.2 IP with an ERA of 2.53. This season he’s been a much better pitcher at Fenway Park (2.93 ERA in 89 IP) than on the road (4.11 ERA in 81 IP). This season, to date, left-handed batters have a .227/.274/.318 (BA/OBA/SLG) line against him in 212 PA.

    In his last 11 starts, Mike Mussina is 6-2 with an ERA of 2.83 in 70 IP. During this time, he’s faced 280 batters and allowed an BA/OBA/SLG line of .280./.300/.394. Clearly, the secret to his success is not walking anyone and keeping the ball in the park.

    For the Red Sox, Pedroia, Bay, Youkilis, Ortiz, and Crisp have been swinging hot bats over the last two weeks. Varitek has been batting well over the last week.

    Jacoby Ellsbury and Jed Lowrie have been ice cold, lately, for the Red Sox.

    For the Yankees, Abreu, Jeter and Cano have been swinging hot bats over the last two weeks. Damon and Nady have also been batting well over the last week.

    Pudge Rodriguez and Jason Giambi have been ice cold, lately, for the Yankees.

    My prediction? Tuesday and Thursday should be close games. They both could go either way. However, the Red Sox have the edge on Wednesday because of Ponson. Girardi should remove him from the game the minute he allows a fourth run – no matter what the inning.

    I don’t think either team will sweep this series. But, I cannot tell you which team will win the series. What do you think?

    Comments on Previewing The Showdown In The Bronx

    1. Corey
      August 26th, 2008 | 12:12 am

      A Bronx beatdown is my prediction. It’s time for the yanks to tap the last bits of Yankee Stadium magic.

    2. Joel
      August 26th, 2008 | 12:46 am

      Come on Steve-o! Now’s the time to be a homer. This is a huge series. Quit it with the blog-speak, put on your Yankee cap and confidently predict a sweep!

    3. OldYanksFan
      August 26th, 2008 | 8:05 am

      Well…. Giambi can only hit slow stuff, so seeing Wake and Byrd for 2 games is good for him. Wake is usually VERY good but can be beat with HRs. This first game with Andy is key.

    4. butchie22
      August 26th, 2008 | 8:28 am

      The Jays shelled Lester ( one of the worst offensive teams in the AL) the other day, so anything can happen. The Lester/ Ponson is advantage Red Sox on paper but let’s see what happens.

      If you think the Yankees have been decimated by injuries look at the Beantown Sox. Papi, Ellsbury, Drew, Mike Lowell, Wakefield, Manny, Schilling and Beckett have been/or currently on the DL or are out of the picture this year. So the team in the Bronx is not the only one with injuries.

      I would watch out for some creative calls from the umps. Sunday’s game against the Blue Jays featured a call that basically stole the game for Toronto. Stairs was clearly safe at home and the umps called him out. That run would have given Toronto a 6-4 lead and the win. Instead it seems that the infield umpires along with the home plate umpire are either betting on the games OR colluding to give Boston wins. This reminded me of that playoff game with the As in 2003 where two runs were taken away from Oakland in a very weird fashion.I am very objective on this board, so I can’t be accused of Yankee homerism , so has this been the worst year for umpire calls? The MLB is starting to remind me of WWF or even the World Cup (where games are tacitly fixed by FIFA and the refs). MLB would love to see a Red Sox /Cubbie World Series with the Cubbies finally victorious.

    5. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      August 26th, 2008 | 8:48 am

      Would you like some cheese with that whine, butchie? Jeez. I saw the game on MLB.tv and it was hardly obvious that Stairs was safe, and the fact is he didn’t make a peep about the call, so why are you bitching? And now you bring up that play against the A’s when Varitek recorded two outs at the plate on the same play when some goober missed the plate and started to limp away?

      Yeah, Lester was due for a stinker, and he delivered. I’d be real surprised if he does it again. And Steve is being a homer – he didn’t mention what Lester has done to the Yanks in two previous starts.

      And I don’t know what time period Steve is looking at but I wouldn’t say that Ellsbury is ice cold. His BA bottomed out around .250 and has since risen and stayed up, if I’m not mistaken. So he’s at least hitting better than he was at the depth of his slump.

      And Lowrie is ice cold? Lowrie is hitting .343 over his last ten games. Lowrie hasn’t made an error yet, and in only 150 ABs has 15 doubles. He is simply another guy that in the coming year will leave Yankee fans wondering again why they can’t seem to develop young impact players.

    6. August 26th, 2008 | 8:55 am

      ~~And I don’t know what time period Steve is looking at but I wouldn’t say that Ellsbury is ice cold.~~

      FYI, Ellsbury’s BA/OBA/SLG over his last 30 PA: .214/.267/.250

      ~~And Lowrie is ice cold?~~

      FYI, Lowrie’s BA/OBA/SLG over his last 25 PA: .182/.280/.364

      Cold enough for ya? ;-)

    7. AndrewYF
      August 26th, 2008 | 8:59 am

      Gosh, I had no idea Chien Ming Wang, Robinson Cano, and Joba Chamberlain (not to mention the multiple successful bullpen arms which the Sox seem to have had real trouble with recently) were not “young impact players” that the Yankees had developed. I really am scratching my head, where did these players come from?

      Anyway, you can’t say Lowrie is ice-cold, he won the game for the Sox two days ago. Ditto for Giambi, who while not being quite as hot was the difference for the Yankees two games ago, and was tattooing the ball all over the field last game.

    8. August 26th, 2008 | 9:02 am

      ~~Anyway, you can’t say Lowrie is ice-cold, he won the game for the Sox two days ago. Ditto for Giambi~~

      See the stats in my last comment for Lowrie.

      FYI, Giambi’s BA/OBA/SLG over his last 24 PA: .227/.208/.364

      Seems cold to me.

    9. Raf
      August 26th, 2008 | 10:13 am

      ~~Anyway, you can’t say Lowrie is ice-cold, he won the game for the Sox two days ago. Ditto for Giambi~~

      Merely the law of averages catching up to him. As Steve showed, both players are struggling.

    10. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      August 26th, 2008 | 10:28 am

      I find it interesting that Steve chooses different numbers of PAs to determine that someone is “ice cold”. 30 for Ellsbury, but 25 for Lowrie. Perhaps those five PAs before make Lowrie look a little less cold?

      As for “young impact players” I was referring to everyday players (we can match you in the pitching department, we blow you away with every day players).

      Cano plays half a season like a superstar, if you’re lucky. The Red Sox have developed:
      Youkilis
      Pedroia
      Lowrie
      Ellsbury (and yeah, he’s not a RoY candidate but he’s every bit as untouchable as he was a year ago. Can’t exactly say that for Melky or IPK, can you?)

      Four every day players on the Sox roster to one on the Yankees who people question his drive/professionalism/whatever because he isn’t the every day star he’s supposed to be.

    11. August 26th, 2008 | 10:36 am

      ~~I find it interesting that Steve chooses different numbers of PAs to determine that someone is “ice cold”. 30 for Ellsbury, but 25 for Lowrie~~

      FWIW, I didn’t use PA as a cutoff. I used what they’ve done in the LAST 7 DAYS…and it just so happened that was the amount of PA that they had in the last 7 days.

    12. butchie22
      August 26th, 2008 | 10:38 am

      Once was, no whine but I’ll take some Pinot Noir here! No, those were too crappy calls against Tejada and Byrnes that were reminiscient of FIFA calls in the World Cup. That was beyond ludicrous! Instead of stealing goals, the umps stole runs away from Oakland. Nice try, but no cigar……

      Once was, you sound like RemDog did on NESN EXCEPT Remy was almost strangely saying close call. Look, if you see it from behind home plate, you can’t see that Stairs reached home plate AND then Tek tagged him out. Terrible call by the home plate umpire and bad call by the infield umpires. Those types of calls usually final say calls, so how many times is that call reversed? If that happened to Boston , I would have reacted the same way BUT like FIFA, MLB has its favorites. The umps seem to be very activist in the last year, so my opinion still stands.

      Once was, remember when I said that Lester was pitching more like a No 2? I like Lester and I don’t know how he’ll do, but compared to Sir Sidney the Red Sox have this game locked up. BUT they play the games for a reason. It was crazy to see the anemic Blue Jays crush Lester, I quite enjoyed it because of the utter unpredicability of it. ON paper, Lester has pitched better over the season relative to Litsch BUT Litsch looks like Halladay Jr in his last two starts and Lester blew that one.

      Lowrie has done a really good job, people in New England are saying :Who is Lugo? Theo has been good at developing young players, but Ellsbury has not become the superstar he was advertised as. He is not Pedroia, who is a wizard in the field and at the plate. Ellsbury is the olny player that hasn’t lived up to his relative hype…..along with Buchholz! Talk about an Ian Kennedy/Phil Hughes failed experiment. Such a bright future for Mr No Hit and then he becomes undone.

      Once was Cashman’s youth movement is relative new as well. The brain trust up in Boston wanted to draft well in the beginning of the Henry/Werner era because quite frankly that cannot compete with the Yankees on payroll. The debt servicing for the purchase of the team and NESN, and the repair of Fenway have precluded them from spending obscene amounts of money on every free agent that passes their door. In their minds, it was wiser AND cheaper to go the baby bonus route. Cashman’s regime has gone in that direction and the fruits of some of those drafts have trickled in (most notable product being Joba). Andrew YF has a point, but Boston has a kid like Pauley in their system who is arguably better than the Hughes Kennedy experiment. And there are more like him in terms of postion players and pitching in the Boston minor leaugue system than in the Yankee system.

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