AL Beast Post Mortem: Boston/Tampa, New York/Baltimore

Four teams in the AL East squared off today. Two have aspirations for the post-season. Two would play spoiler given the chance. We saw David Ortiz do something no other player has done in Red Sox history. We saw Jaret Wright answer critics that would doubt his consistency. We see that August portends to be a long month full of drama.

There is an enormous showdown looming on the near horizon. August 18th will see Boston and New York square off for five games in four days. The rest of August appears full of drama for both contenders as well. There is still plenty of baseball to play, but each contest carries cumulative consequence as we roll towards September. What do the tea leaves tell you?

16 comments… add one
  • No arguing with results, but I really hoped NY would pitch Wright into the seventh. His sixth was so quick; 5 pitches and done. Why did they pull him for Proctor in that circumstance?

    attackgerbil August 6, 2006, 5:20 pm
  • No idea AG, but I think people should start to recognize Wright as a legitimate #4 for the Yanks. I was watching him closely today and he has real nasty late life on his FB, nice command of his breaking ball, and decent control. One thing I really like about Wright is that if he gets behind on a guy, he would rather walk him then make a mistake and give up a homer or an extra base hit. He hasn’t allowed very many homers at all this year. It will be interesting if Torre starts to experiment these final 2 months by allowing him to pitch into the 7th or 8th on a short leash.
    On another note, how sweet is it watching Papelbon give up a homer? =)

    Anonymous August 6, 2006, 5:47 pm
  • Sorry about the anon, the above post is me.

    bloodyank78 August 6, 2006, 5:49 pm
  • There is plenty of blame to go around today for Boston, but one question never changes: Why the hell is Tavarez still on this team?

    Hudson August 6, 2006, 6:02 pm
  • The tea leaves tell me that the series in Boston (which YF and I will be attending for the Sat/Sun games) may spell the end of the season as we know it for the Red Sox. And I don’t think that’s an unrealistic position of a bridge jumper, just the reasoned thoughts of someone who has seen far too much baseball the last three weeks. I hope I am wrong.

    SF August 6, 2006, 6:10 pm
  • As horribly as the Sox are playing right now, these things can turn around in a hurry. Not that I am predicting a turnaround vs. NY. OTOH, the White Sox are pretty much sucking, too. Their pitchers have allowed as many HRs as Boston, hard as that may be to believe. Where would we be without Papi?

    Tom sf August 6, 2006, 6:21 pm
  • ….Or without Fausto Carmona, Tom sf.

    yankeemonkey August 6, 2006, 9:04 pm
  • Tom, I think the Sox would be in deep, deep trouble without Papi. But, as you say, the five game series can change everything. While I agree with SF that if this play from the Sox continues, the Yanks will win the division fairly comfortably, if Boston wins just three of the five game all of a sudden it’s game on again. I’d love, love to see the Yanks come home safely with a five game lead down the stretch. Unfortunately, I doubt that’ll be the case!

    Sam August 6, 2006, 9:10 pm
  • The Sox are not going to lay down, no f’ing way. There are way too many good players on that club, way too many veteran guys who know how to grind it out in a pennant race. I know there has been a waive of optimism in Yankeeland and grumblings of worry in RSN, but let’s look at things realistically. There’s a load of baseball left to be played, during the rest of August the Yanks have 7 games against the Halos, 6 against the White Sox, 3 against the Tigers, and 5 against that team from Beantown. There are any number of things that can happen, and a 2 game lead in the East can evaporate in an instant. I still believe, as I did very early in the season, that the AL East will be decided the weekend of September 15th-17th in the four final games between the Yanks and Sox at the Stadium. Whatever team that comes out of that bar brawl on top will most likely win the division. But hey,that’s just my $.02

    bloodyank78 August 6, 2006, 10:14 pm
  • It’s innately frustrating about baseball that it goes on for SO long and you usually don’t know where you stand (in this divison anyway) until the last couple of weeks, possibly the last day. If I could only be casual about it and watch the last month or so, when it “matters”.
    But it matters to me all the time; I just can’t help it.
    I have no predictions, really. There are just two many things that could change and the race is still relatively tight.

    Devine August 6, 2006, 10:58 pm
  • *too

    Devine August 6, 2006, 11:00 pm
  • This next few weeks also will be a test of my makeup as a Red Sox fan. I go back to the early 70s with this organ-I-zation, a time of different leadership, philosphy and hope.
    It all has changed. But, dare I say, we’ve seen this before, and the obvious signs right now are not good, especially when considering:
    * Red Sox unreal injury situation
    * Yankees had enough depth to not be crippled by their injuries and enough time to recover
    * Red Sox have played .500 ball since the 12-game win streak ended in late June.
    * Yankees deadline acquisitions actually are helping, and they jettisoned some problems, i.e., Chacon, unlike Red Sox
    * Red Sox getting too little production from starters 3-5, bullpen and bottom of the order
    * Red Sox unGodly number of homers allowed
    * Red Sox deplorable record in the AL East
    * Yankee questionmarks have stepped up, Red Sox have not
    * Yankees seem confident, Red Sox seem tired
    BY is right. The Red Sox won’t lay down. They could get hot overnight and win another 12 straight. And, frankly, there’s nothing wrong with winning the wildcard again.
    But I just don’t see enough positives to feel that something like that is imminent. I don’t believe that the Yankees are THAT much better than the Red Sox, but for the last month or so the Yanks have been playing just well enough to win and the Red Sox have been playing just well enough to keep ’em close. Without a couple of miracles last week, they’d be 5 back.
    So, I really hate saying that I’ve seen this before, but I have. I don’t recall (I don’t have the greatest memory) the Red Sox coming back to pass the Yankees and win the division when trailing this late in the season. And even if they do recover, will they have enough gas left to make noise in the postseason?
    So I challenge the Beantown Nine: PROVE ME WRONG! FOR ONCE, PROVE ME WRONG!!!

    I'm Bill McNeal August 7, 2006, 12:37 am
  • We’re down. We’re not out. And as far as having enough gas left, let’s ask the Yankees about having enough gas. After Cano, it gets old pretty quickly in that lineup. Though I say that partly foot-in-mouth, with injuries to some of our aging players as well, lately.
    Personally, I think the pressure’s on them. They’ve gotta hold us off. This is a team hungry for some wins, and the Yankees have a tough stretch ahead, while we have KC and Baltimore. Raise your hand if you really think Matsui will come back and be able to get in a rhythm by playoff time. Will Sheffield be an even poorer defensive option at 1B than either Craig Wilson or the aforementioned Giambi? Will he sulk through it after spouting the company line? Will Abreu EVER hit another HR?
    Not all of these questions will be answered in the negative for the Yankees. Can’t expect that. Just trying to make the point that they have their questions too, they’re only 2 up, we’re only 1/2 out of the Wildcard. I’ll push the panic button as hard as anybody if say we’re over 5 games out come September. But that’s not the case.
    Perhaps today’s blowup against the Devil Rays will finally cause Francona to realize that Julian Tavarez is, in fact, the least reliable option in pressure situations. A poor silver lining, but a silver lining nonetheless.

    Quo August 7, 2006, 4:10 am
  • Someone on the Sox game thread yesterday he wished he knew how the sox breakdown was for runs allowed per inning.
    …ask and ye shall receive.
    After a couple hours working through boxscores I have set up a chart that I will update atleast every other game, but will try to update every nite.
    http://travisjliles.com/redsox.aspx
    I also have the breakdown of the Sox 41 errors on there.

    TJ August 7, 2006, 9:40 am
  • Re: AG’s Wright comment,
    Torre will not let Wright go beyond 6 innings no matter what he shows during the first 6 because his ERA & BAA spike upwards sharply in innings 7,8,9 over the course of his career. Torre is just playing by the numbers.
    Re: Quo’s Yankee Questions:
    The Yankees have shown that they can beat the top teams in the AL without Sheff and Matsui. So in the worst case scenario I’d say they can win the AL without those two at this point – as long as they can make it into a tournament situation. If either one is not ready by October 1, then the defensive issues brought up never come into play, as Sheff could move to LF as opposed to 1B. If both are in the lineup, Giambi would be subbed for in late innings, as has been the case most Octobers. I would not expect to see Sheffield at 1B this season. And I don’t see HRs as necessary for Abreu, unless he’s on your fantasy team. The team is winning without power from him.
    As far as the Sox are concerned the big question mark is Fat Boy Wells. Will an out of shape forty-something get it together in time to contribute in October? Odds are against it.

    lp August 7, 2006, 11:35 am
  • While there is still hope for the Sox to win the division, in terms of the Wild Card I am much more concerned with Minnesota than Chicago. Chicago’s pitching looks very suspect to me and right now Santana and Liriano are the best (or close to) 1-2 in baseball.

    Brian in S.F. August 7, 2006, 11:38 am

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