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The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, tied once again for the division lead, are each one-third of the way through their respective seasons. If the next two-thirds play out exactly the same way, here's what we would be looking at after Game 162:

  • Both teams finish with 96 wins.
  • A one-game playoff? Nope. The Sox and Yanks will both finish 12 games ahead of the Angels for the Wild Card, and by virtue of the Sox' amazing 18-0 record against New York, the Sox will be crowned division champs, with the Yanks settling for the Wild Card.
  • The Sox then would face the Tigers in the first round, with the Rangers and Yankees duking it out.
  • Boston's MVP? That's a toughie. The stats: 
    • Jason Bay: .283/.405/.618, 48 home runs, 159 RBI, 42 doubles, 15 stolen bases
    • Kevin Youkilis: .362/.483/.659, 27 home runs, 136 RBI, 42 doubles
  • Those 159 RBI would tie Ted Williams and Vern Stephens for second most by a Red Sock.
  • The truly amazing season would be Youkilis' — his OBP would be ninth all time on the Red Sox list, higher than any player since 1957 and behind only Ted Williams' eight best seasons, and his slugging would be sixth, the highest-ranked slugger not named Williams or Foxx. Needless to say, his 1.142 OPS would be eighth-highest in Red Sox history, again only behind seasons from Williams and Foxx.
  • Jason Varitek will break the 30-homer mark for the first time (say what?), while Jacoby Ellsbury will shatter the Sox' single-season stolen base record, with 66. He'd also rack up 210 hits, followed by Dustin Pedroia (201).
  • On the pitching side, the Sox' lone 20-game winner will be … Tim Wakefield (21-9), followed closely by Josh Beckett (18-4) and Brad Penny (15-3). Jon Lester will have put together quite the impressive strikeout season: 223 of them, the most since Pedro was on the team. Seems pretty unlikely that Wakefield, Lester and Beckett will all end up with at least 198 innings this year though.
  • For the Yankees, Derek Jeter will add another 200-hit season to his resume, while Johnny Damon — already with one more home run than he hit in 2008 — is on pace to blow away his career high with 33. 
  • The Yankees' MVP? 
    • Mark Teixeira: .284/.390/.603, 48 home runs, 141 RBI, 42 doubles 
    • Jorge Posada: .320/.402/.630, 24 home runs (in 300 at bats!), 78 RBI  
  • Nick Swisher will hit 30 home runs, Robinson Cano will hit 27 and Hideki Matsui 24 and Jeter 21. That's seven Yankees with more than 20 dingers, which would be a club record. And Melky Cabrera's on pace for 18. 
  • The pitching staff would be a little short on wins — 15-9 for C.C. Sabathia, 15-6 for Andy Pettitte, 12-6 for A.J. Burnett. Sabathia's 168 strikeouts seems a little low, especially given his 234 innings. 
  • Your league leaders: 
    • Carlos Pena (51 homers) and Adrian Gonzalez (66), Evan Longoria (165 RBI) and Raul Ibanez (156), Roy Halladay (27 wins) and four NL pitchers (21), Jonathan Paelbon and Brian Fuentes (42 saves) and Heath Bell (45), Aaron Hill (231 hits) and Miguel Tejada (228).
    • Adam Lind would challenge a record with 64 doubles, while Carl Crawford would bring back the old days with 102 stolen bases.

Of course we all know this is exactly how the season will go from here on out. So turn off your TVs, unplug your computers and check back in Oct. 5.

49 replies on “3x”

whether he is or isn’t, he shouldn’t be. i think it was this time last year when a yf (can’t remember who) belabored the point that bartolo colon was hindering the development of the sox young starters. this year for the yanks, hughes is being held back by pettitte. of the 5 starters, joba seems like the most likely candidate to accept a bullpen role. either that or phantom injury for andy.

I love these epic Paul posts.
I think a lot of this hinges on whether or not Wang can recover. He looked great out of the bullpen, but not so much in his last start. He’s still a reasonably cheap option for a lot of teams, and the Yanks might get a young catcher for him. The Rangers might certainly make a mid-season move for some more pitching since they’re contending.
For that matter, Brad Penny might be a good option for the Rangers. In his six starts in May he has a 4.17 ERA (which would make him the Texas #3), and has pitched 6+ innings in all but one of his starts (he went 5.1 on May 25 against the Twins). A few more solid starts like that and he could be packaged with another young arm (Bard?) for a catcher from Texas. The Rangers get some more solid pitching, the Sox get a young catcher, and the Sox make room for Buchholz/Smoltz.
This is all wild speculation, but Penny has quality starts (either by Game Score or the 6/3 rule) in 5 of his last 6 games, and 6 of his last 8. He’s been a lot better than we give him credit for, since he’s blocking Buchholz/Smoltz.

FUN FACT: Penny has more quality starts (7) than Padilla (5) or Matt Harrison (3), and as many as Brandon McCarthy or Scott Feldman. Kevin Millwood has 9.

Just realized the Sox are on a 12 game run through FOUR first place teams – the Tiger, Rangers, Yanks, then Phillies. What a stretch – I wonder if this has happened since interleague started, where a team played four consecutive series against division leaders. Paging Elias!

AG can verify this, I picked Jason Bay as this year’s AL MVP… (Pats self on back)
and PS, I will “Settle” for a WC! As long as we get a ticket to the dance, I don’t care how it comes.

I don’t care how it comes.
You, John, nearly alone, in a sea of Yankee fans who cling to the devaluation of the 2004 Red Sox title!

few more solid starts like that and he could be packaged with another young arm (Bard?) for a catcher from Texas…
Id’ rather trade Papelbon than Bard. I know that’s crazy, but Bard is by far a superior talent – it’s getting the innings to prove it. Plus, Papelbon would garnish more for less – I know it’s crazy, but something tells me Papelbon isn’t right. Plus, I think most teams would like to have Saito, since he’s once again proven that he can throw and close.

Papelbon can’t match Bard’s fastball or breaking stuff, and Papelbon isn’t far from being much wealthier.

I was a big Teagarden supporter going into this season, but honestly the Sox can have him. He’s by far the best defensive catcher the Rangers have, with Ramirez and Salty being the better offensive options. But honestly none of those 3 scare me like I thought they would. That just proves the point that projecting a catcher is by far the most difficult position to predict. (Unless you are talking out of this world talent like Mauer) I’d rather have a more proven catcher, but that’s just me.
The Phillies have a young stud catcher, as do the Giants and our own Jesus…otherwise you are talking established mediocre options. Why not give Snyder a shot from Arizona? Iannetta? Those are guys that would prosper in Fenway.

I agree, John. Neither of those guys really have impressed me; either is a decent option, and I wouldn’t be upset in any way if Boston picked them up.
I’m much more concerned with replacing the guy in the 6 hole than I am a catcher at the moment. Whoever they deal with, I’m hoping a SS comes with him.

Khalil Greene…he’s a PERFECT fit for the Sox. Sure he’s going through some tough times, but where better than Boston for this kid? I hate to admit it, but Boston is the most supportive atmosphere in Baseball. (Maybe St. Louis is close as well) They take you in, almost like you are part of a family, and that’s what this kid needs. He can hit, he can play defense, he just needs to overcome his anxiety issues. I am not a doctor, but I think he’d thrive (personally) in Boston. Get Theo on the phone with St. Louis ASAP!

John raises a good point.
Some relevant catchers’ stats in 2009:
Jason Varitek: .248/.335/.531, 10 HR, 11 2B, 20% CS
Saltalamacchia: .248/.299/.400, 5 HR, 7 2B, 25% CS
Taylor Teagarden: .239/.327/.283, 0 HR, 2 2B, 22% CS
Max Ramirez (AAA): .238/.277/.329, 2 HR, 7 2B, 32% CS
Miguel Montero: .221/.337/.349, 2 HR, 5 2B, 22% CS
Now Varitek will regress and some, if not all, these guys will improve, but it brings to mind the adage we were repeating after the non-Lester/Santana deal: Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make.

Unless J.J. Hardy is walking through that door (and he isn’t), the Sox are going to see what they have when Jed Lowrie returns from the DL.
What they NEED is a Victor Martinez (or, barring that dream scenario, Nick Johnson): A good-fielding, good-hitting first baseman who can push Youkilis to third, Lowell to DH and Papi to a platoon, sad as it is to say.
That improves both the lineup AND the left-side defense, which will get a boost anyway when Lowrie returns (even granting that he’s not much better than average).

Brad, I understand your frustration with Papelbon and am also eyeing nervously the years when his arbitration figures begin to increase exponentially heading toward that big free agency payday, but…
Are you insane? MLB is littered with the wreckage of young pitchers who had electric fastballs and good breaking stuff. It is also littered with the wreckage of pitchers slated to be The Next Big-Time Closer. The Red Sox already have TNBTC. His name is Jonathan Papelbon. There’s a reason why he and Mariano Rivera are so special: Because it is extremely rare for closers to replicate dominance for more than a couple seasons in a row. You are advocating a trade for proven dominance that may or may not continue (but likely will, given the age and track record) for promised dominance that may or may not ever arrive.

When is Papelbon’s contract up, at the end of 2010? I desperately want to keep Paps in Boston, but he’s made it very clear that he wants a huge payout. I love me some Papelbon, but I don’t see the Sox paying him K-Rod money.
Regardless of who the Sox try to get, Penny is becoming a good trade chip. I have faith that Theo is working a deal as we speak to send him somewhere for a player we can use now, or later.

I agree one thousand percent, Paul. But, my bigger issue is that I don’t think Papelbon is correct right now. I think something is wrong, and when you combine that with the fact that he’s going to hold the Red Sox hostage when his time comes (he brings it up every spring), I can’t help but think that moving him is not beyond the boundries. I’m not advocating a trade of Papelbon, I’m just emphasizing the idea that I hate to move Bard.
I’m ONE MILLION PERCENT against moving Bard for anyone short of Martin or Martinez (or insert big-hitting and defensively competent short stop here).
Did I mention that I don’t want to move Bard:))

Exactly Atheose. They’re not going to pay him what he wants. He’s going to demand to be the highest paid closer in history – and I fully expect him to hire Boras this winter to try to get that payday before the end of next year.
And I agree, Theo has to be working right now.

Jon Papelbon will be the closer for the New York Yankees in 2011, baring of course, they don’t move Joba there.

Ath, I have to disagree about Penny. Other than maybe the Phillies and the Mets, who else is lining up for that trade? The Rangers? They have better pitchers in their farm system (Feliz) and on their current roster (Holland). I just don’t see Penny having the value/demand you think he has.

Ath, I hate it as much as anyone – trust me. But when Boras and Papelbon ask for 4/80$, who do you think is going to pay them that? Hint – they don’t keep house north of Providence. We’ve seen it before, and we’ll see it again. It all lines up Perfectly for Papelbon.

It’s all very easy, and I don’t know what Theo is doing, but…
Move Masterson, Bowden, and prospects for Holliday and OCab. The move Holliday, Penny and Kotsay to the Mets for Reyes..

Teams that have shitty pitching and are in contention:
-Phillies (ranked 28th in starter ERA)
-Twins (25th)
-Brewers (21st)
-White Sox (18th)
-Rangers (16th)
-Mets (14th)
Regarding the Rangers minor league options: Feliz is still very young (21), and at least a year off. He shouldn’t have started the year at AAA, where his WHIP is 1.5x as high as it was last year in A/AA. He’s shown horrible command this year too; look at those walk numbers. He’ll be great, but not for another year at least.
Holland was also rushed up too quickly. He started 2008 in A and progressed quickly, and was given only 4 innings at AAA before being brought up to the majors. Good strikeouts numbers, and like Feliz he almost never gives up homers (in the minors, at least), but he’s only 22 and he’s struggling. The difference between AA and AAA is HUGE, and he needs at least a full year there before he can be effective for the team.
Brad: there’s no way the Mets let Reyes walk. He’s the co-face of the franchise (David Wright FTW), and well loved despite some of his issues. I’m still waiting for a Loria firesale, hoping that Hanley will become available.

Right, I understand all that. My point is that these teams (The Rangers, Twins, Brewers, White Sox) are all teams that should understand that their future is where it’s at. All 4 of those teams have very good pitchers waiting in the wings in AA, AAA, etc…The Mets and Phillies (while even the Phillies have Carrasco) are win now teams with major holes in their rotation. I could be wrong, but I just don’t see any of the other teams on that list making a move for Brad Penny.

I’m not saying Penny is a great long-term option (he’s not), but he could be a solid piece for a team trying to contend this year. As an 18-year Rangers fan, I’m SHOCKED that they’re in first place right now, and would love to see them make a few minor additions to try to stay ahead of the Angels. Penny is one such option, and if the Sox offer to pay the remaining ~3mil on his contract then he’s cheap too.
I specifically think the Rangers will end up with him; they’re going to make at least one move if they’re still around in a month. The Sox need to move him, and he’s good enough that they can at least get something in return. If he makes 2 or 3 more quality starts then they’ll be able to get that much more in return.

I am not the biggest fan of sportsradio-type trade speculation, but what about the Brewers and Prince Fielder? I realize he is a marketable player, but he is making $7M this year, 11 next, and then is free and will be looking for BIG money relatively soon, and if a king’ prince’s ransom can be gotten (say, Masterson, Bowden, Penny, or even Buck in the mix, so two cost-controlled major league pitchers and one decent deal), could it happen? I don’t think so, to negate my own WFAN phone call, but it intrigues…

Penny might be a throw-in on a trade, but he’s be a 1-year rental, and I just don’t see how he helps a contender. his ERA is just south of 6. What contending team would add even one win by slotting him into the fifth rotation spot?

re: Penny (of whom I am ambivalent, trending negative), and quoting Ath:
In his six starts in May he has a 4.17 ERA (which would make him the Texas #3), and has pitched 6+ innings in all but one of his starts (he went 5.1 on May 25 against the Twins)
His ERA is high, but he has been very solid for over a month. And he will cost maybe a three million bucks at this point, which for six inning starts for the rest of the season isn’t all that bad.

Penny’s ERA is inflated by two bad starts, to continue a discussion that occurs something along these lines every time he’s been brought up this year:
1. Penny will probably be traded.
2. Who would want him? His ERA is high.
3. His ERA is inflated by two bad starts.
4. Repeat one week later.

I don’t love Penny, he seems to get hit hard every start and skate away. But my eyes may be lying – his results have been solid. He’s proven, so far, that he is healthy (don’t know if my fingers should be crossed on this or not). He’s owed about $3M for this year, with no entanglements for next year should he get hurt. Why wouldn’t another team be interested in him? I don’t know what the Sox will get for him if they tried, but he’s a commodity, pure and simple.

What the hell, Francoeur? I like the guy, but wouldn’t want him on my team. Lifetime OBP of .309? Really?
I’m surprised the Braves want Penny; that article you linked SF says they have the 4th-best starter ERA at 3.90. At least this backs up my assertion that Penny is becoming a marketable trade chip.
I never thought about Fielder, but I would love him on the team; he’s a very likable guy, he produces, he’s young, and he’s voiced his displeasure with the Brewers organization.
A few rumors around the league:
-Red Sox want minor-league SS Jason Donald for Brad Penny
-The Nats are willing to part with Dunn but want a top-pitching prospect from the Sox (Buchholz)
-Tom Glavine wants to pitch for the Sox
-Theo is looking into JJ Hardy

Don’t forget V-Mart, who the Indians may or may not be interested in trading (C.C. Sabathia tells Heyman the Indians would never trade Martinez, which makes me laugh because not only is Sabathia not a member of the Indians’ front office, he’s not even a member of the Indians).
I put no credibility in any rumors involving the Red Sox’ alleged interest in Jeff Francoeur. It’s ludicrous.

Tom Glavine wants to pitch for the Sox
I’d rather be punched my 1987 Mike Tyson than watch Wakefield and Glavine on the same damn team.

Well if we have Smoltz and Glavine, we might as well pull Maddux out of retirement too!

The Braves would actually get the better part of a Francoeur-Penny trade. Francoeur stinks. Like Paul, I don’t believe for one second the Sox are interested in him.

It could be a situation where the Sox are trying to get people to come to them about Penny, as opposed to desperately trying to shop him around the league. Other than that I really see no reason for the Francoeur interest.

Penny was victimized by the near-corpse that is our shortstop, in large part. He should have been through five stellar scoreless innings, but for Lugo (and Penny’s eventual single lapse). Without context, the game looks very different, as is clear from Rob’s statement.

You can always selectively filter every start. But sooner or later it adds up – like his last 150 innings showing a pitcher with 6 ERA.
The defense also can’t be blamed for 8 homeruns in 60 innings.

Rob, you’re correct, but last night SF is very correct in his statement. Penny looked very good until Lugo let him down on two very easily reached balls. He has played into some very bad luck of late, and while he has watched some balls leave the yard, he’s looked very serviceable – to the point that I’m not huge on trying to move him, as I think he’s getting better looking with each start out.

And, while I’m not big on Nick Johnson being on the Red Sox, if it means that Ortiz sees less plate time, at this point, I’m damn okay with it. But, what happens? Lowell goes to the full time DH? Nick Johnson to DH? If the Nats demand that the Red Sox take Kearns what happens there?
That seems like a logjam waiting to happen.

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