Sunday, September 19, 2004

Yankees-RedSawx, what did we learn?

After shouting myself hoarse in anger Friday, and missing yesterday's game because my local FOX channel didn't cover the game. So I was able to watch, sweat through (5+ innings) and then enjoy today's whupping, especially because that SOB Pedro was the victim (I expect he'll come back to his normal self Friday night).

But the real question is what have the Yanks and RedSawx learned in their 16 games to date?

Regardless of what Gammons chirped about in late July, it is clear that in the nine games since the Yanks' two April debacles, the Yanks have been the superior team head-to-head. They've won 6 of the 9 and TWO of the losses were because Rivera honked (something the RedSux cannot count on in the postseason -- Rivera's postseason numbers against the redfooties = 2-0, 12.1 IP, 10H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 4/4 SV). Note also that the RedStiffs have a 9-7 series lead, but the Yanks have honked 4 games they should have won, the Sawx have only honked one that should've been a gimme.

Moreover, since the RedSux first win at the Stadium (11-2 debacle against Contreras), they've topped 3 runs only twice in 8 games -- once was Saturday when they got 3 runs in the ninth, which they entered trailing 14-1, the other time was a 13-inning game. Aggregate score in those 8, 49-22 Yanks. Last year, Boston won 5 of the 10 games at the Stadium, scored 8, 9, 10, 10 and 11 runs in those wins, and outscored the Yanks in the Bronx. If the RedSkunx go off next weekend, all bets are off.

Other lessons: (1) The RedSawx should not start Derek Lowe over Bronson Arroyo against the Yanks. Lowe is 2-3, 9.28, 34 H and 13 BB in 21.1 IP against the Yanks this year; Arroyo has an ugly 5.25 ERA against the Yanks, but only 3.00 at the Stadium and the RedSkanx have won both his starts in the Bronx. Lowe also gives Boston added depth in the 'pen after losing Scott Williamson. But the only way Arroyo starts in the Bronx in the postseason (assuming he's the #4 starter) is if the Sux need Pedro and Schilling 2x each to win the ALDS or they overtake the Yanks and he's the Game 4 starter in the ALCS (assuming both teams get there).

(2) The Yanks had a definite plan against Pedro -- look fastball early and whack it. Arod took a first-ball fastball for a single, Sheff for a homer and Jeter for a bomb (the only real no-doubter of the three the Yanks whacked against Pedro). Expect lots of curves from Pedro on Friday.

(3) Lieber is two for two in high-quality starts against the Blosox at the Stadium this year. I don't know why, he seems the type of pitcher who would have trouble against the Sawx's righties (soft-pitch bangers) but I guess he does well against their lefties, who tend to like four-seam fastballs on the outside corner. The real whacky trivia is that of the Yanks' three pitchers who qualify for the ERA title (one IP per each game the team has played), Lieber has the best ERA. Yeah, you predicted that entering the season.

(4) Mooooooooooose has intensity and velocity, two things that were missing a month ago. More importantly, he has kept his quality stuff through pitches 75-105, something he failed to do between 6-8 weeks ago (go look at the boxscore from the game he lost to the Tigers at home -- great for five innings, crud for two).

The upshot? If either team loses in the ALDS, the upshot is irrelevant.

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