Face/Off, Yanks-Sox Style

We’re nearing the home stretch, coming up on the trade deadline and bearing down on the final third of the season. That means the Red Sox and Yankees, thanks to the wisdom of MLB’s schedulers, will play roughly 325 games against each other in the final two months of the season.

This off-day seems like a good time to see where the principals stand, both generally and in relation to their rival’s counterpart. I’ve decided, out of nothing more than sheer laziness, to assign an "edge" to one team or another, in the tradition of every newspaper and Web site before any kind of important sporting event.

I tried as hard as possible to line up the starters against each other in their correct positions, but with Sexson a new arrival, Posada on the DL and the whole Damon/Giambi/Matsui thing making my head explode, it just wasn’t very possible. Where I had to, I took a team’s overall stats at a position where there was a good likelihood we would see multiple players starting at that position during the upcoming series. So you’ll have to deal.

For hitters, I used BA/OBP/SLG plus two random counting stats I like because they’re like value meals from McDonald’s: extra-base hits (to capture hitters who provide slugging value beyond simply home runs) and runs produced (runs + RBI – HR). I capped it off with sOPS+, which is OPS+ adjusted for the split we’re using — in this case, the position a player plays. Same rules as OPS+ except 100 is league average for that position. For pitchers, it’s ERA/WHIP/BAA, with strikeouts per nine, walks per nine and quality start percentage, for a change of pace to see how consistent the pitcher’s been in arriving at his other numbers.

Enjoy!

C: Jason Varitek/Kevin Cash vs. Jorge Posada/Jose Molina

  • Red Sox C: .220/.299/.341, 28 XBH, 73 Runs Produced, 79 sOPS+
  • Yankees C: .244/.308/.346, 29 XBH, 66 RP, 83 sOPS+

The Red Sox must be loving Jorge Posada right now. Not only has Jason Varitek’s terrible year all but erased any chances he might get a similar deal to Posada’s four-year score last offseason, but Posada has spent the first year of his megadeal either injured or ineffective. It’s because of this that Yankee catchers are barely ahead of Sox catchers despite Varitek’s woes. Call this one even, as Molina is clearly the better defender, but his 51 OPS+ is below even what Varitek can manage. Plus, Kevin Cash, who we’ll see on Saturday, is a capable backup, whereas the Yankees don’t really have one right now. If Posada were still available, this would go to the Yanks, but he’s not, so Edge: EVEN

1B: Kevin Youkilis vs. Jason Giambi

  • Youkilis: .311/.381/.551, 46 XBH, 112 RP, 137 sOPS+
  • Giambi: .256/.399/.533, 34 XBH, 84 RP, 118 sOPS+

Giambi’s rallied quite well, as the rate and counting stats show, and his OPS+ is his highest since 2003. He performs much better at DH than at first, as his split OPS+ shows here. He’ll probably spend most of the series away from first base, but Sexson is a wild card at this point. In either case, Youkilis is vastly superior — his defense is well recognized, and this has been a revelatory season with the bat. His 46 extra-base hits are the most of any player on either team, as are his 68 RBI and 112 runs produced. Edge: YOUKILIS

2B: Dustin Pedroia vs. Robinson Cano

  • Pedroia: .321/.365/.461, 40 XBH, 108 RP, 118 sOPS+
  • Cano: .265/.301/.391, 30 XBH, 78 RP, 81 sOPS+

I honestly had no idea Cano was doing this poorly at the plate this season. These are his numbers even after hitting .367/.386/.550 since June 14. Cano’s problem continues to be plate discipline. Even during his recent hot spell, he’s drawn three walks. Not surprisingly, his BABIP over the last two weeks is .371, over the last four is .342. Pedroia on the other hand has been even hotter (and his BABIP is insane: over .400 for both time periods). Coincidentally, both second basemen broke out on exactly the same day, June 14. In that span of 33 games, Pedroia is .438/.471/.646 with hits in 31 games and at least two hits in 21 games (including seven three-hit games and three four-hit games). Edge: PEDROIA

3B: Mike Lowell vs. Alex Rodriguez

  • Lowell: .287/.350/.483, 36 XBH, 91 RP, 116 sOPS+
  • Rodriguez: .318/.398/.593, 41 XBH, 100 RP, 153 sOPS+

More of the same for Lowell and A-Rod. Stellar defense and solid offense for the former cast-off, incredible production and tabloid headlines for the best all-around player in the game. Yawn. Edge: RODRIGUEZ

SS: Julio Lugo/Jed Lowrie vs. Derek Jeter

  • Red Sox SS: .275/.361/.348, 21 XBH, 61 RP, 103 sOPS+
  • Jeter: .285/.347/.404, 30 XBH, 98 RP, 113 sOPS+

How is this even a close call? The Red Sox’ shortstops — Lugo and Cora, principally, have been awful, both at the plate and in the field. Lowrie is the one saving grace. But clearly this is not Jeter’s best year either. This would be his worst full-season average, on-base and slugging percentages and second-worst OPS+, which hasn’t been below 110 since 1997. Nevertheless, Jeter clearly gets the edge. He’s better than Lugo, better than Cora, and probably better than Lowrie because Lowrie’s still figuring things out. On the other hand, the Sox are better now than they’ve been all season at the position, I believe. After all, Lowrie’s already matched Lugo’s home run total. Edge: JETER

LF: Manny Ramirez vs. Johnny Damon

  • Ramirez: .301/.402/.530, 40 XBH, 106 RP, 136 sOPS+
  • Damon: .315/.384/.463, 33 XBH, 85 RP, 113 sOPS+

This is definitely the new baseline for Manny. Instead of .320/.420/.620, we should dial down and expect .300/.400/.520. I’ll take it. Manny’s had a good year, if a bit streaky. Nothing to complain about — on the field, anyway, and we include that at-bat against Rivera, who last we checked isn’t that bad a pitcher. Damon, meanwhile, was on a monster tear to make up for a wretched beginning, but has since cooled off over the last 18 games or so to a sort of middle ground, but minus any sort of power (four doubles, zero homers despite a .262 batting average). His 127 OPS+ would be a career high, but he’s also playing a position where better offense is expected. His 113 split OPS+ out of that position still pales against his 124 sOPS+ out of center in 2004 or his 163 sOPS+ during the time he played center for the Royals in 2000. Edge: RAMIREZ

CF:  Coco Crisp/Jacoby Ellsbury vs. Melky Cabrera

  • Red Sox CF: .256/.333/.393, 32 XBH, 72 RP, 95 sOPS+
  • Cabrera: .248/.305/.349, 19 XBH, 59 RP, 77 sOPS+

Everyone’s fizzling in center field for these ballclubs. Jacoby Ellsbury is having all sorts of trouble adjusting to what happens when pitchers stop throwing him easy strikes to hit (month-by-month OPS+: 129-111-58-44, and his OPS is now below Julio Lugo’s), we must all come to grips with the fact that Coco Crisp is not that good a hitter (season-by-season OPS+: 88-76-110-117-77-83-84), and Melky Cabrera maybe should have been traded while he still had value; he’s challenging Jason Varitek for the rivalry’s 2008 standards for suck (In OPS, Cabrera is 164th of 174 hitters with at least 300 PAs; Varitek is 162nd. For the record, three other names of note at the bottom of the list: Ellsbury 152nd, Lugo 151st, Richie Sexson 146th). Edge: ELLSBURY/CRISP

RF: J.D. Drew vs. Bobby Abreu

  • Drew: .291/.407/.555, 40 XBH, 104 RP, 142 sOPS+
  • Abreu: .275/.348/.440, 39 XBH, 109 RP, 101 sOPS+

Something doesn’t compute here. Drew by every measure — statistically and anecdotally — is having the superior season. Except, apparently, in the random counting stats I chose to highlight here. The answer, of course, is Abreu’s tremendous durability: 422 plate appearances, to Drew’s 358, 64 more appearances to collect one fewer extra-base hit and nine more runs or RBI. Abreu’s 2008 is a lot calmer than his topsy-turby ’07, but it’s at a level a bit below last season’s final numbers and the worst of his career. Abreu’s career-worst percentages are .283/.369/.445, all set last year. He’s below all three thus far, and given the leaguewide production out of right field, he’s down to about average for the position. Add in the iffy defense, and he looks close to done. But others have said the same of him before. Drew, meanwhile, has cooled off from his ferocious June — one of the best Junes in the game’s history — and is putting up a very Adam Dunn-like .222/.421/.519 line over the last eight games (.236/.387/.500 over the last 20). I don’t think you’ll hear many Red Sox fans complaining about that. Edge: DREW

DH: Not applicable

The DH the Sox are putting out there hasn’t played in two months. The DH the Yanks have been putting out there is on the DL. I’ll pass.

SP Friday: Josh Beckett vs. Joba Chamberlain

  • Beckett: 3.98/1.158/.241, 8.5 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 61% QS
  • Chamberlain: 2.64/1.384/.235, 10.2 K/9, 4.2 BB/9, 56% QS

Josh Beckett’s year has been amazing, in that he’s kept runners off the bases to an exceptional degree — he’s in the Top 10 in strikeouts, WHIP, K/9 and K/BB — but whoever he lets on base seems to score. He’s allowed 54 of 142 baserunners to score — a 38 percent rate that is well above last year’s 33 percent and also above the Red Sox’ team average of 34.6 percent. The league average is 36.7 percent. His high home run rate could have something to do with that; bad luck may simply be the most obvious reason. Chamberlain, meanwhile, has looked like a young phenom by every definition of the phrase — a lot of strikeouts, few hits, and a ton of walks, which keep his pitch counts high and his innings low, reflected in throwing quality starts only five times in nine starts. This is definitely the pitching matchup of the series: Chamberlain threw a quality start against Boston in his only start against them thus far; Beckett is 3-0 with three quality starts in three games against the Yankees this year. Edge: EVEN

SP Saturday: Tim Wakefield vs. Andy Pettitte

  • Wakefield: 3.69/1.160/.210, 5.9 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 70% QS
  • Pettitte: 3.86/1.286/.261, 6.8 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 62% QS

Wakefield has simply been tremendous all season, despite not having the wins to show for it. He’s looking at his lowest ERA as a full-time starter since 1995, his lowest WHIP as a full-time starter ever and a 118 ERA+ that would be higher than any full season except 1995 and 2002. Since posting a 19 game score on May 23, Wakefield has thrown 10 straight quality starts (by game score), averaging seven-plus innings a game, posting a 2.43 ERA, allowing a .182 batting average and posting an average game score of 63. Somehow, he’s only 3-4 in that span, all four losses occurring in one-run games. Pettitte, meanwhile, has been up and down (last five game scores: 55-23-79-45-79). He was rocked by the Red Sox on my daughter’s birth day, his second-worst start of the year. He followed that up with his best, an eight-inning shutout of Tampa. It all evens out near average: A 107 ERA+ — a figure worse than last season’s 110 despite Pettitte’s posting a lower ERA because the league-average ERA is so much lower this year. Nevertheless, his strikeouts are up, his walks down, and that’s a good combination. He’s clearly not done yet. Edge: WAKEFIELD

SP Sunday: Jon Lester vs. Sidney Ponson

  • Lester: 3.20/1.315/.246, 6.0 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 57% QS
  • Ponson: 4.02/1.609/.296, 4.1 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 38% QS

Someone during a Red Sox gamer snarkily suggested Daisuke Matsuzaka is the luckiest pitcher in MLB this season. Not so. Sidney Ponson, he of the average ERA and 1.60 WHIP  is somehow 6-1. More amazing, he’s 2-0 with New York despite a below-average ERA and a WHIP of 1.721. Only two qualifying pitchers in baseball have a WHIP above 1.7 this year — Kevin Millwood (6-6, 5.40) and Barry Zito (5-12, 5.56). Throw in Zach Duke (4-7, 4.92) and Adam Eaton (3-8, 5.71) and you have the four qualifying starters with a WHIP touching 1.6. Yet here is Ponson, a respectable ERA and winning record despite allowing baserunners on par with the worst pitchers in baseball this year. The Yankees, incredibly, have won all four of his starts. Ponson, frankly, is what Lester looked to be turning into, posting WHIPs above 1.45 each of his first two seasons. His is still too high, but that owes a lot to his first month. Through May 4, he walked at least three in six of his first eight starts, but has done so just twice in his last 13. And we all know about his shutout over the Yankees, one of the best a Sox pitcher has thrown in the rivalry. Edge: LESTER (I honestly never thought I’d write that phrase).

Bullpens

  • Red Sox bullpen: 3.88/1.397/.249, 7.8 K/9, 4.1 BB/9, 34 SV, 68% SVPct
  • Yankee bullpen: 3.42/1.211/.227, 8.5 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 27 SV, 84% SVPct

Not much to say here. Take out Jonathan Papelbon’s stellar-as-usual numbers and the rest of the Red Sox’ bullpen looks very ugly indeed, ERAs aside. In fact, it might be the worst bullpen ever to feature four consistent relievers with ERAs below 3.00. The inconsistency is the key, though the pen delivered a great performance yesterday. It’s the club’s Achilles’ heel, and it will hurt the Sox in the playoffs — if they even get there. The Yankees, on the other hand, have seen their bullpen turn into a bulwark. No reliever has blown more than one save (by contrast, Papelbon, Hideki Okajima, Manny Delcarmen and Craig Hansen all have blown at least two for the Sox), they strike out a ton, walk few, and limit baserunners. The incomparable Mariano Rivera leads the way, of course, but getting the ball to him has been amazingly easy for the Yanks. Edge: YANKEES

66 comments… add one
  • Get ready for the firestorm.

    Brad July 24, 2008, 5:30 pm
  • I’ve learned through the years that no matter how things look on paper, and I do believe these comparisons are fair and legit, it means nothing when these two get together.
    Very nice work, as always, Paul.

    Brad July 24, 2008, 5:31 pm
  • so the sox are arguably throwing their best 3 starters at the Yanks, and the Yanks 2 of their three. should be interesting!

    dw (sf) July 24, 2008, 5:35 pm
  • At least for Chamberlain, I *guess* you should count his 2 initial starts in part of the QS%, but otherwise.. it’s more like 5/7..

    Lar July 24, 2008, 5:39 pm
  • Terrific analysis, Paul. I might suggest that the Wake/Pettitte matchup should be flipped to the even column, and there’s a decent argument for the same action with Giambi/Youk. But then we start getting into the DH issues with Papi coming back….

    YF July 24, 2008, 5:39 pm
  • That’s why they play the games!!!

    krueg July 24, 2008, 5:47 pm
  • Youk has a large defensive edge on Giambi. Wake and Pettitte are indeed very close; Wake’s been more consistent.
    You’re right about Chamberlain’s starts, Lar. Probably more accurate to say 71% for his quality starts.

    Paul SF July 24, 2008, 5:48 pm
  • We should revisit this thread Monday morning and see how these numbers pan out…

    krueg July 24, 2008, 5:49 pm
  • Plus, Kevin Cash, who we’ll see on Saturday, is a capable backup, whereas the Yankees don’t really have one right now.
    Cash is 30 years old and has a career 35 OPS+ with a 72 OPS+ in limited action this year.
    Moeller is 33 years old and has a career 62 OPS+ with a 80 OPS+ in limited action this year.
    I don’t disagree on the summary analysis (no difference between the teams’ catchers), but there’s also no difference between Cash and Moeller. (And I’m too lazy to do the extra clicks for sOPS+).
    [Giambi] probably spend most of the series away from first base.
    I don’t see that.
    Melky Cabrera maybe should have been traded while he still had value; he’s challenging Jason Varitek for the rivalry’s 2008 standards for suck
    Except Melky plays defense! And well, Melky is a year younger than Ellsbury. So whatever his value (76 OPS+ this year), it’s higher than Ellsbury’s (80 OPS+ in 2008). Melky still has room to grow, and more than Ellsbury. I’m very happy the Yankees haven’t given up on him yet.
    Otherwise, Ponson’s “success” is his GB ratio. It’s close to Wangian levels. If he keeps that up, he’ll continue to look lucky. Dice-K, however, is.
    Pettitte is the same pitcher he was last year. Don’t let a 3 point difference in ERA+ seem significant.
    Not too much to complain about otherwise! So well done, boy! I heart Paul!

    A YF July 24, 2008, 5:57 pm
  • Incidentally, I fully anticipated giving the “edge” to more Yankees going into this. It makes me wonder if the Yanks are overachieving, the Sox are underachieving, both or neither. Based just on the position-by-position numbers, it looks like the Sox should be well ahead. But the Yankees just don’t die. Never do.

    Paul SF July 24, 2008, 5:58 pm
  • It makes me wonder if the Yanks are overachieving, the Sox are underachieving, both or neither.
    Well, I think the Sox are performing as they should be. But your bullpen is just killing you guys. With the run differential, the Sox should have 2 more wins. But with that offense and starting pitching, you guys should be in much better shape. The only blame I can find is the bullpen.
    By contrast, the Yankee hitting has been brutal, and some of those positions would be alot closer, or edge to the Yanks, if some hitters were performing as they could be expected to. The Yanks, based on run differential, are right where they “should” be. Problem is, they should have scored at least 50-100 more runs.

    A YF July 24, 2008, 6:06 pm
  • One more note on Varitek’s standard of suck:
    40 SB: 10 CS = 20% CS rate
    Jorge with a bum shoulder?
    34 SB: 7 CS = 17% CS rate
    I hope they run wild on Varitek’s arm.

    A YF July 24, 2008, 6:12 pm
  • And I got my numbers wrong:
    Varitek = 42 SB: 10 CS = 19% CS rate
    Gotta run! Have a great night, my friends!!!

    A YF July 24, 2008, 6:14 pm
  • Sorry, didn’t meant to nitpick about Joba – the fact that I didn’t say more probably means that this was a great post!
    Someone mentioned that Abreu was awful on the basepaths this year – and he is. Other than that, Damon, Jeter, ARod, maybe Melky, and Gardner, if he ever gets on base, should definitely get the green light.

    Lar July 24, 2008, 6:39 pm
  • As the guy that picked Hughes over Joba in a dynasty league.. I still can’t get over that one! Hahaha, but so far Joba has way overperformed my expectations – and as you said, he’s giving up too many walks, but he’s young, and, *knock on wood* will hopefully be the stuff that we’ve been waiting for!
    Now, if Wang does come back and and be a 3-4 starter, that would’ve be awesome.

    Lar July 24, 2008, 6:42 pm
  • Pretty good analysis. Since you’re clearly saying the Sox are favored, what will you say if the Yanks take 2 of 3? (as I think they will)

    me (yf) July 24, 2008, 7:02 pm
  • “Edge: LESTER (I honestly never thought I’d write that phrase).”
    I’m still trying to envision an universe where I’d see the phrase, “EDGE: Ponson.” :)
    Good analysis, indeed. I’d feel better about the weekend if Moose was starting one of the games. But the Yanks are hitting on a lot more of their cylinders post ASB than before, so I’m hoping for two of three this weekend. Let’s Go Yankees!!!

    nettles July 24, 2008, 7:40 pm
  • Since you’re clearly saying the Sox are favored
    My friend, I always consider a weekend in which the Red Sox win one game in a three-game series with the Yankees a success. I have no intention of changing those expectations now.

    Paul SF July 24, 2008, 7:52 pm
  • I’d feel better about the weekend if Moose was starting one of the games.
    The fact that Ponson is starting a game and not Mussina is the only thing about this weekend that gives me hope. On paper Wakefield is better than Pettitte but Wake also gets destroyed by the Yanks. Not looking forward to that game.

    Atheose July 24, 2008, 8:19 pm
  • I hate the Sunday night game, generally speaking. As someone who has a bit of trouble separating my life feelings from my baseball feelings, I don’t like that it sits there, ready to keep me up for an hour+ with victory adrenaline, or send me to bed reeling with defeat…on a Sunday effing night, the day before the work week starts. Either way, sleep is off to a bad start.

    Devine July 24, 2008, 8:32 pm
  • Even for a blog so deathly afraid of confrontation that was pretty lame. Joba doesn’t even belong on the map because he’s only pitched a handful of games, and even with those he was fortunate to escape pitching against decent offenses except TEX (at home) and Boston (at home, minus Manny and Papi). The new Joba Rules?
    And also, vs Beckett? that’s funny. Maybe the Yank hype machine doesn’t need your help, Paul.
    Beckett < Mussina Dice > Pettitte
    Lester > Joba
    Wake > Rasnor
    Alcohol > Ponson
    Looking forward to seeing how Joba’s 4 walks per 9 work in Boston tomorrow. That should be rich.

    Dirty Water July 24, 2008, 8:42 pm
  • DW, in less than 24 hours Joba will make you eat your words. He may not win, Beckett may pitch a great game, but Joba’s the real deal, who will only get better as he pitches more and more.
    Ponson? Sometimes this year he’s been great. We’ll see which Ponson we get Sunday.

    me (yf) July 24, 2008, 8:47 pm
  • Sox starting C +72
    Yanks starting C +51
    08:$13.1M, 09:$13.1M, 10:$13.1M, 11:$13.1M
    Whoops!

    Dirty Water July 24, 2008, 8:51 pm
  • Why no head-to-head for DiceK?

    Hudson July 24, 2008, 10:41 pm
  • Ummm Hudson, do you ever read the whole post before you comment? Dice isn’t in the show, lol.

    Marc YF July 24, 2008, 10:55 pm
  • DW, there’s no need to be a dick. Joba is the real deal and you’re fooling yourself if you think he’ll be a bust.

    Atheose July 24, 2008, 11:02 pm
  • Rays lose. Awesome.

    Devine July 24, 2008, 11:11 pm
  • Great post Paul. We all appreciate your hard work and efforts.
    I started to put together how both teams have done over the past 3 weeks and stopped after nearly fainting after seeing how well the Sox have hit during that time. Jeter, Cano and Alex have been stellar over the past 21 days for the Yankees. But the Sox have just been out of this world. Casey, Manny, Youk, Drew, and on and on. When you don’t get to follow a team daily, you kind of look at the team results and expect something that really isn’t the case. The Sox have been flat out raking the past 21-28 days. (Except Tek who is hitting close to his season average of .222)
    The only real edge that I can see is in the bullpen for the Yankees and believe it or not Friday’s matchup.
    Beckett over the past 21 days threw 19 innings, went 2-1, had 12 K’s, 5 BB’s, 21 H’s, 5.68 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP.
    Chamberlain over the same period of time threw 18 innings, went 0-1, had 22 K’s, 5 BB’s, 17 H’s, 3.38 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP.
    The other 2 matchups, if you go solely by the numbers over the last 3 weeks, are pretty much even Steven.
    With all that said expect the unexpected!

    John - YF July 24, 2008, 11:21 pm
  • Rays and Sox in a tie for first place, Yankees 3 games back. It’s going to be a very interesting weekend!

    Atheose July 24, 2008, 11:29 pm
  • Marc: No need to be a tool. This appeared to be a team v. team comparison, not a series comparison.

    Marc July 24, 2008, 11:51 pm
  • Marc: No need to be a tool. This appeared to be a team v. team comparison, not a series comparison.
    Uhh, do you have two accounts and you accidentally logged into the wrong one when you wanted to argue with yourself?

    Atheose July 24, 2008, 11:59 pm
  • He’s the real deal if he can continue to perform after putting 100 IP under his belt. For right now though he’s a stud reliever; converted to starter out of necessity; who is a lead leader in P/IP; has lapses in concentration, and walks too many batters to be a member of the Clemens, Mussina, Oswalt group: the very few who pitch brilliantly from the first day they step on ML soil to years thereafter.
    I’ll reserve judgement for awhile, thank you. Maybe until that time Hughes wins his first game since 2007. Or maybe Kennedy instead.

    Dirty Water July 25, 2008, 2:13 am
  • Great job, Paul. Thanks.
    While the Yankees BP is superior, the Sox do have a secret weapon: in an effort to get back at the Yankees for secretly paying Gagne $5 million last year to stink it up, Theo is doubling Bobby Meachem’s salary to serve as the Yankees 3B coach.
    Bobby, of course, gentleman that he is, isn’t used to taking money on the side and making things look *close*, so his mis-sent runners are getting thrown out by five and ten feet, instead of close plays at the plate….

    yankees76 July 25, 2008, 2:37 am
  • Even for a blog so deathly afraid of confrontation that was pretty lame.
    So funny. Thanks.
    But then you go and ruin it with the Joba hate. And no – he was a full-time starter on temporary (and dominant) relief work.
    to be a member of the Clemens, Mussina, Oswalt group: the very few who pitch brilliantly from the first day they step on ML soil to years thereafter.
    Hmmmm…
    Clemens – 1984: 133 IP, 97 ERA+
    Mussina – 1991: 88 IP, 138 ERA+
    ROswalt – 2001: 142 IP, 169 ERA+
    Joba- SP- 2008: 47 IP, ~165 ERA+
    Of course, that leaves aside his 1192 ERA+ in mere relief his “first soil” season.
    With all that said expect the unexpected!
    No doubt! Baseball at its best the last few years. Can’t wait for tonight’s game.

    A YF July 25, 2008, 8:53 am
  • Damn tags! Sorry revered moderators…

    A YF July 25, 2008, 8:53 am
  • One more time to try and close it.

    A YF July 25, 2008, 8:54 am
  • On the Yankees needing pitching?
    IPK – last night came within 1 out of a 7 inning no-hitter (7 Ks vs 0 BBs).
    last 14 IP in AAA: 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K
    2008 in AAA: 33 IP, 19 H, 8 ER, 9 BB, 27 K
    And he’s 23 years old.
    For a contrast with another 23 year old (4 months older) with a rough MLB start to his year – Clay Buchholz:
    2008 in AAA: 43 IP, 36 H, 12 ER, 17 BB, 43 K

    A YF July 25, 2008, 9:10 am
  • IPK – last night came within 1 out of a 7 inning no-hitter (7 Ks vs 0 BBs).
    last 14 IP in AAA: 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K

    You dismiss one month of Posada statistics as a small sample, then say the Yankees don’t need pitching because IPK has been good in his last few starts?
    And if you want to look at major league starts this season, Clay is significantly better in every category. Their minor league stats are promising going forward though. It’ll be exciting to see how well they succeed from here on out: Buchholz had a good start the other day against King Felix. Not great, but good.

    Atheose July 25, 2008, 9:25 am
  • Ummm, no I actually did point to his whole season in AAA. Sure, that’s 38 innings, but it fits within the larger framework of everything he did last year too. The only outlier?
    IPK’s start in MLB this year.
    And if you really want to compare a pitcher with a 75 ERA+ (Buchholz) and one with a 56 ERA+ (IPK) – go nuts. But that’s a mistake too when you get away from the much larger samples of their minor league numbers.
    Career mL numbers:
    Buchholz: 329 IP, 6.70 h/9, 2.57 bb/9, 10.91 k/9, 2.46 ERA
    IKennedy: 183 IP, 5.70 h/9, 3.05 bb/9, 9.6 k/9, 1.97 ERA
    Now, they’re not the same type of pitcher, but you can’t write the younger one off even as they both had a rough start to this season. That was my only point. There’s a worry here the Yanks need pitching – but they have it in AAA.

    A YF July 25, 2008, 9:37 am
  • beckett and joba even? totally disagree on that. but agree on yankees relative bullpen strength–pretty scary after playing 12 innings in seattle.
    also, who forgot to end the italics?

    beth July 25, 2008, 9:39 am
  • Stark says:
    “And Gregg Zaun and Rod Barajas are all yours if you want them.”
    Seems like either would be a slight upgrade over Molina. Barajas is probably a bit better than Zaun – five years younger, okay with the stick and better with the glove. His contract is good too so they could keep both him and Molina into next year and see how Jorge comes through.
    I wonder what Ricciardi wants…

    A YF July 25, 2008, 10:08 am
  • “Buchholz had a good start the other day against King Felix. Not great, but good.”
    No, he had a good start against the Mariners the other day. =P And who doesn’t?

    Lar July 25, 2008, 10:17 am
  • Beth – agreed that Beckett and Joba can’t be considered even. I was actually thinking Joba performances since convertijng to starter were pretty akin to Dice: he’s effective and not giving u runs, but he’s also throwing too many pitches and not getting deep into games.
    Also (and I know this was a pretty cursory comparison, but…): Damon’s actually been better than Manny this year (r at least was as of about a week before the ASB) when you factor in Runs Saved based on Zone Rating. Also factoring in D, Molina is significantly better than Varitek, even if they’re about even offensively. And the Jeter/Lugo thing isn’t actually all that close. As down as Jeter has been with his bat this year (for him), his defense is much improved, and factoring in batting and fielding runs, he’s still been the third best AL SS (behind Mike Young and Orlando Cabrera). Lugo’s been one of the worst, below average offensively and bad in the field.
    On the plus side for the Sox, RF is an outright massacre: Drew has been the AL’s best, Abreu the worst (although his bat finally seems to be eating up a bit – his defense is still atrocious though). 2B is a similar massacre so far this ear, thanks mostly to Cano batting .150 with no walks over the first 6 weeks of the season.
    And the Sox still have a pretty decent edge at CF, even if Ellsbury’s struggles are tightening it up.

    Mark (YF) July 25, 2008, 10:24 am
  • BR.com doesn’t break down splits (starter vs. relief) for BABIP, but:
    Joba – .326 BABIP
    Dice – .249 BABIP
    If anything, Joba has been unlucky this year. That’s fun and scary! Dice’s luck is about to run out (unless, again, he learned to gyro the ball mid-flight after it’s been hit).

    A YF July 25, 2008, 10:32 am
  • One thing that might bode well for NYY this weekend (OK, this is a weak way to get to my broader point, but stick with me) is that they are one of two AL teams that is not sub-.500 on the road. (NYY 23-23; OC 31-18). (Yes, I know Bos has the best home winning pct.) Four AL teams are five or fewer games under .500 (Ray, by the way, has the third fewest road wins with 19), and 3 NL teams (Phi, Mil, STL) are +.500 on the road.
    (If I get time tonight, I’ll look up the last 10-20 years for historical perspective.)
    But it would seem plausible to conclude that by season’s end only 2-3 teams in MLB could have +.500 road records.
    Questions: What’s the reason for so many bad road records; What’s the liklihood this evens out by the end of the season; Is this a trend we’re likely to see continue in the future and why?

    I'm Bill McNeal July 25, 2008, 10:33 am
  • Beth, don’t waste your time.
    He’d argue that the sky is green.

    I'm Bill McNeal July 25, 2008, 10:34 am
  • And if you really want to compare a pitcher with a 75 ERA+ (Buchholz) and one with a 56 ERA+ (IPK) – go nuts. But that’s a mistake too when you get away from the much larger samples of their minor league numbers.
    Hey, you’re the one that compared IPK to Buchholz first. I was just using the example to show that it’s disingenuous to point to a player’s 31 AAA innings and say that the 37 major-league innings are the “outliers” this season. If you ignore ML innings and focus solely on AAA then Kei Igawa is the greatest thing since mountain dew.

    Atheose July 25, 2008, 10:39 am
  • Joba – .326 BABIP
    Dice – .249 BABIP
    If anything, Joba has been unlucky this year.

    Joba is the real deal. I think most SF’s on this site will agree with you there.

    Atheose July 25, 2008, 10:42 am
  • “And if you want to look at major league starts this season, Clay is significantly better in every category. ” – Atheose
    That, sir, is a small sample that shows nothing by itself.
    I offered the IPK and Clay comp for reasons already cited. The Yanks don’t need to make a move for pitching because of 30 lackluster innings earlier this year. The Sox didn’t.

    A YF July 25, 2008, 10:50 am
  • I can’t wait to revisit this thread on tomorrow…hopefully DW will be eating his words with Joba win! How many runs are they getting Joba in his starts? It can’t be many. Of course, getting on Beckett is no easy fit. I can’t wait for tonight!!!

    krueg July 25, 2008, 10:53 am
  • Damon’s actually been better than Manny this year (r at least was as of about a week before the ASB) when you factor in Runs Saved based on Zone Rating
    Does that factor in the Wall? Or Manny’s better arm?

    Paul SF July 25, 2008, 10:56 am
  • The Sox scored three runs against Joba in his one start against them, and should have won that game (should have swept the whole damn series, but I still see spots in front of my eyes when I think about that), so we know they can rough him up a little. The question is, can he adjust?

    Paul SF July 25, 2008, 10:57 am
  • Bill – there was an ESPN article not too long ago (maybe a month or so?) that asked coaches, etc about it. Let me see if I can find it.

    Lar July 25, 2008, 10:58 am
  • Italics fixed in original unclosed comment. Remember – preview is your friend.

    attackgerbil July 25, 2008, 11:12 am
  • That, sir, is a small sample that shows nothing by itself.
    I didn’t say you should only focus on the major league stats, I just said that you have to consider those 38 IP when evaluating IPK’s success this year. I never said that IPK was a bust, only that the half-of-his-season played in the majors are weighted more. IPK may very well bounce back and have a successful career (he is only 23), but you can’t assert that bsed on a month of AAA starts. Again, if AAA stats were worth more than MLB stats Igawa would be a god.
    I offered the IPK and Clay comp for reasons already cited. The Yanks don’t need to make a move for pitching because of 30 lackluster innings earlier this year. The Sox didn’t.

    I wasn’t saying you shouldn’t compare IPK to Clay–I was just objecting to the fact that when I went off of your comparison you accused me of making the comparison in the first place. And again, I never said the Yankees should make a move for pitching; I just said that you can’t look solely at IPK’s 33.1 AAA innings and say “Look, we have fantastic options!” while completely disregarding the first half of the season where he posted a 7.41 ERA and 1.752 WHIP against real hitters.

    Atheose July 25, 2008, 11:14 am
  • Ath –
    Check your fantasy team.

    Brad July 25, 2008, 11:24 am
  • you can’t assert that bed on a month of AAA starts.
    I specifically pointed to his complete professional record. And did the same for Buchholz. As two 23 year olds, those numbers are much more relevant than a 30-40 stretch in their sophomore seasons.
    you accused me of making the comparison in the first place
    No I didn’t. I pointed out you were making the wrong comparison – based on 30 or 40 MLB innings. Big difference.
    And again, I posted all of their minor league numbers. Again, big difference.
    Buchholz posted a 5.81 ERA and 1.709 WHIP against “real” hitters. It means little to nothing. Same as for IPK. Good thing you’re not saying “Look, we have fantastic options!” when moving Masterson to the pen. Oh. wait.

    A YF July 25, 2008, 11:24 am
  • On the Yankees needing pitching?
    IPK – last night came within 1 out of a 7 inning no-hitter (7 Ks vs 0 BBs).
    last 14 IP in AAA: 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K
    2008 in AAA: 33 IP, 19 H, 8 ER, 9 BB, 27 K
    And he’s 23 years old.
    For a contrast with another 23 year old (4 months older) with a rough MLB start to his year – Clay Buchholz:
    2008 in AAA: 43 IP, 36 H, 12 ER, 17 BB, 43 K
    Posted by:A YF | Friday, July 25, 2008 at 09:10 AM

    Your Claim: The Yankees don’t need pitching help
    1st point you make to back up your claim: IPK almost threw a 7 inning no-hitter last night
    2nd point: He’s been good in the last two weeks
    3rd point: He’s been good in AAA in 2008
    You’re the one making a claim based on small samples. You do a great job of backtracking after the fact and making a perfect “No True Scotsman” fallacy (“I specifically pointed to his complete professional record.”) but again, you’re changing your argument after the fact because your original statement was false.
    And again, I stated “IPK may very well bounce back and have a successful career (he is only 23), but you can’t assert that based on a month of AAA starts.” You’re the one using the small sample, not me. My main point is that the jury is still out on IPK–he could go either way.

    Atheose July 25, 2008, 11:38 am
  • Actually, the original argument wasn’t *false*, it was incomplete. Big difference. Meanwhile, I haven’t changed anything in what I said. I simply provided more information in support of my argument. You have not. Big difference.
    And if that’s your theory on IPK, then you also have to say “the jury is still out on Buchholz–he could go either way.”
    But will you say that? Of course not. You want to argue for a difference between the two. Good luck, again.

    A YF July 25, 2008, 11:46 am
  • Big Papi back! NESN reports batting order:
    Dustin Pedroia, 2B
    Kevin Youkilis, 1B
    David Ortiz, DH
    Manny Ramirez, LF
    Mike Lowell, 3B
    J.D. Drew, RF
    Jed Lowrie, SS
    Jason Varitek, C
    Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
    I would have put Drew 2nd, but eh…

    dw (sf) July 25, 2008, 2:52 pm
  • Drew has cooled off some, dw. His power is there but not his average–as someone said the other day (AG I think) he’s been very Adam Dunn-like lately.
    Im happy as can be to see Pedroia leading off, and Tek moved down the 8th.

    Atheose July 25, 2008, 3:01 pm
  • it definately stretches the line-up. I suppose they don’t want the “double lefty” hitters either (which is silly to me as they both hit lefties OK, which nullifies the LOOGY for two batters in a row). He has cooled, but with Pedroid on it opens up that side of the infield, too.

    dw (sf) July 25, 2008, 3:07 pm
  • Unscientific predictions:
    Joba and Pettitte will give good representative performances – even if not dominating, they won’t be a reason for failure. So that will leave the offense…
    Damon will have a big weekend because he always seems to step it up vs. Boston.
    Abreu and Cano will have big weekends because they have hit the point of the season where, every year, they remember how to hit.
    Ultimate Yankee success therefore hinges on whether Jeter and A-Rod can connect those dots in the lineup.
    Oh, and Molina will catch a few more base-stealers.
    As for Sunday, Sidney Ponson on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball – cringe.

    IronHorse (yf) July 25, 2008, 3:12 pm
  • Wow, when I looked at that lineup, it moved.
    I’m so fired up to have the big man back.

    LocklandSF July 25, 2008, 3:24 pm
  • I can’t tell who’s more excited for Sunday night’s matchup, Sox fans or Dan Giese, who will finally get an opportunity to pitch some good quality innings from, say, the third inning on.

    yankees76 July 25, 2008, 5:56 pm
  • “‘Damon’s actually been better than Manny this year (r at least was as of about a week before the ASB) when you factor in Runs Saved based on Zone Rating’
    Does that factor in the Wall? Or Manny’s better arm?”
    Way late on this response, so don’t know if anyone’s still reading this thread, but…It factors in the Wall, yes – numbers were park-adjusted.
    It did not factor in arm – but the difference there is what, a maximum of about 4 runs over the course of the year? Range is about 2.5-3 times more important than arm in OFs. Also, Damon’s also a far better baserunner, and it didn’t factor that either. Not a knock on Manny – I just don’t think many people recognize how good an all-around player Damon still is – especially in the big Yankee Stadium LF.

    Mark (YF) July 25, 2008, 6:59 pm

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