And So it (Almost) Begins

The Boston Globe jumps the gun and releases its Baseball Preview a day early. Peter Gammons was on ESPN Radio this morning making his predictions.  We are officially in that golden time where all things are possible and nothing is sure. Soak it up. This is one of the best weekends of the year.

Gordon Edes, Bob Ryan and Amalie Benjamin all pick the Sox to win the division and the World Series. Shaughnessy somehow picks the Blue Jays to win the East, with the Sox as the wild card and the Tigers as the champs.Gammons split the difference, picking the Sox to win the East and the Tigers to win it all.

ESPN, meanwhile, publishes its All-AL team. A-Rod and Cano are the Yanks’ reps. David Ortiz and a new Sox acquisition we’ve apparently missed here at YFSF, "Manny Rodriguez," are the Sox’ entrants. A-Rod and Santana are predicted to win the big awards (booooring). They also inexplicably predict Alex Gordon to win the AL ROY. Why? Matsuzaka won’t be "as spectacular as Gordon" and would need 16-18 wins and low-3 ERA "to get everyone to get past his not-really-a-rookie status."

Let the arguments begin!

188 comments… add one
  • Joe Nathan = All-AL RP? Funny…

    yankeemonkey March 30, 2007, 12:36 pm
  • Out of Edes, Ryan, Benjamin, and Gammons no one thinks the Yanks might win the East?
    Riiigght. So Sox fans, on the eve of the 2007 season, are you guys all bright eyed and bushy-tailed saying “this is the year we knock the MFY’s off the top and take the East?”

    bloodyank78 March 30, 2007, 12:42 pm
  • As I am prepared to announce on my blog this weekend in my awards preview post. The AL ROY race is basically a race that is one players to lose and no not Daisuke Matsuzaka.
    Battle for second place could be fierce between Matsuzaka, Gordon and unlike most people I believe Pedroia will be in the argument as well, but the award is Delmon Young’s to lose.

    Anonymous March 30, 2007, 12:44 pm
  • Not only does Gammons think the Yankees will fall short of the Sox, he predicts them to miss the playoffs all together.

    Triskaidekaphobia March 30, 2007, 12:49 pm
  • I’m not saying a damn thing.
    Go Sox!

    LocklandSF March 30, 2007, 1:01 pm
  • Yeah, the Yanks are gonna blow this year; that questionable, shaky rotation, aging position players, an aging closer. Yeah, no playoffs for the Yankees. I love it. For all those writers who predicted the Sox to win the East in 2006, that prediction went pretty well for them. (que little girl voice) “But the injuries!” Whatever.

    bloodyank78 March 30, 2007, 1:09 pm
  • It baffles my mind….Yankees have holes, but Sox don’t??? Good lord.

    Triskaidekaphobia March 30, 2007, 1:10 pm
  • Wow, Paul is angry Matsuzaka is not ROY. I have a strong feeling I’m going to be reliving this moment in eight months.

    Jim - YF March 30, 2007, 1:10 pm
  • And YF’s getting upset about the “predictions” of Sox homers. This is a weird community you got here.
    SI picked the Yanks. I’ll take that objectivity, thanks.
    Bristol is Boston South, but I’ll be shocked if the majority there don’t take the Yanks.

    Jim - YF March 30, 2007, 1:14 pm
  • I like CHB’s explanation for why the Brewers will finish in fourth…he’s never heard of most of them. A master of his craft, that guy is.
    I don’t know where Gammons’ predictions are or why he doesn’t think the Yanks will make the postseason. I could guess…any criticism must focus on the rotation and probably includes the, ‘but if Roger plays’ caveat. Anyway I’d point out that as much of a homer as he sometimes is, Gammons was pretty spot-on last season, calling for a Cy-calibur season out of Wang and (I think) putting NY in first. So he’s not always on our side.
    Jim needs to look up the definition of the word “anger,” or at least learn to stop equating every slightly negative/bemused emotion with blind fury.

    desturbd1 March 30, 2007, 1:19 pm
  • Gammons did his on The Dan Patrick Show.

    Triskaidekaphobia March 30, 2007, 1:29 pm
  • Ok, I will say something.
    I’m actually with Schilling on this, the team whose starting rotation spends with least number of days on the DL will win the east.

    LocklandSF March 30, 2007, 1:44 pm
  • It seems to me the tide has turned a bit on the japanese players as ROY. If you remember Matsui did not win it his “rookie” year when he had much better numbers than Angel Berroa. I hope this is a sign of things to come. Im sure that Dice-K will have the best or among the best year among first year players but do SF really believe he should be considered among this group?

    sam YF March 30, 2007, 1:45 pm
  • Sam, you seem to be underestimating Berroa’s campaign. He was actually pretty good that year.
    BY, Why so angry? What kind of predictions do you expect out of people who cover the Red Sox for a living? I certainly am not expecting any predictions of the Sox winning the East out of the three principal NY papers. We already know what Pete Abraham thinks. It seems that unless either of the two are going into the season in a dreadfully bad position (hasn’t happened since 1997), you’re going to expect the guys (and gals) who cover a team to be more optimistic about that team’s chances.

    Paul SF March 30, 2007, 1:53 pm
  • In other news, MLB is kicking Pesky out of the dugout, again. I sort of understand the rule, and that Boston’s been breaking it…but since they’re literally the only club to do so, it’s pretty clear the new ‘strict enforcement’ policy is aimed directly at them. Yes, in its neverending quest to screw as many people as possible, MLB has decided for a moment to turn away from its fans and focus on those a**hole former players who still love and try to stay involved in the game.
    I’ve got mixed feelings about a Japanese player winning the RoY. On the one hand, given the constant blabbering about Matsuzaka’s being untested and a gigantic question mark, it doesn’t seem fair to exclude him. He’s also technically a rookie to American professional baseball, given that this is his first year. On the other hand, putting him in the same category as an Alex Gordon or Delmon Young seems slightly disrespectful and dismissive of what he did in Japan…I’d say Japanese players do deserve to win it, and that Matsui got pretty screwed.

    desturbd1 March 30, 2007, 1:53 pm
  • AL ROY: Matsuzaka
    NL ROY: Kouzmanoff
    AL Cy: Halladay (if injury free)
    NL Cy: Sheets (if Brewers stay in contention)
    AL MVP: Manny Rodriguez (with help from JD’s protection)
    NL MVP: A. Jones (walk year production)
    I’m just sayin’…

    Nate SF March 30, 2007, 1:55 pm
  • Gordon Edes, Bob Ryan and Amalie Benjamin all pick the Sox to win the division and the World Series.
    Genuine question: Do any writers not in Beantown pick the Sox to win the AL East, let alone the WS?
    Lesser question: How many of the last 9 years did they pick the Sox for first?

    john March 30, 2007, 1:56 pm
  • Oops, didn’t turn off those italics.

    john March 30, 2007, 1:57 pm
  • I think if you take all the predictions from around the country and average them out the finishing order is like this…
    1. Boston (on paper they are very good, but paper dont win divisons)
    2. New York/Toronto (split decision, Toronto didnt do much to improve but Frank Thomas will give some more punch in the lineup and New York has a very questionable rotation.)
    3. New York/Toronto
    4. Tampa Bay
    5. Baltimore
    New York can’t be favored just ebcause they have won it for the past 9 seasons, they have serious question marks including a very questionable first base.
    As for Schilling’s comments, Boston is in better position to handle a rotation injury then New York is.
    And The toss up could move from 2nd with Toronto and New York to first with Boston and New York if the yanks land Clemens, if Boston lands him, New York will be playing 4 months for second place.

    Anonymous March 30, 2007, 2:05 pm
  • This Pesky thing really annoys me, seriously, MLB, what’s the point? Being in that dugout is about the most important thing in the world to that man, the players love him, he’s not getting in the way or hurting the game in any way, god, this just pisses me off.

    LocklandSF March 30, 2007, 2:07 pm
  • Why is everything italicized? Did you break Typepad, John?
    John, CHB picked Boston for the wild card, with the Division going to (wait for it, wait for it…) Toronto.
    Pitching wins. It’s what everyone from Torre to Gammons has been saying for years. I think it’s pretty reasonable to look at the Sox and Yanks and conclude that the Sox have better pitching. Or wait, was it “pitching wins, unless you’re the Yankees, in which case the weight of history takes over”? I forget.

    Tyrel SF March 30, 2007, 2:29 pm
  • “conclude that the Sox have better pitching”
    On paper, yes, you have a better looking rotation. Only the games will ultimately tell – can’t wait for them to start, so all this silly predicting will stop…

    Andrews March 30, 2007, 2:38 pm
  • John, Shaughnessy picked the Jays to win the division. Likewise, the Street & Smith’s preview magazine picked the Sox, even without Papelbon as closer. Buster Olney this morning picked the Sox to win the division though not the World Series.
    I don’t know the answer to your second question, and I’m not sure how to go about finding out with paying a bunch of money for article-by-article archives :-P

    Paul SF March 30, 2007, 2:41 pm
  • Don’t you know, only certain Japanese imports can win the ROY. Matsui got screwed. Dice K might as well get the shaft too.

    nate March 30, 2007, 2:47 pm
  • Sorry Paul. I was with two guys from school last night, both Sox fans, both from New Hampshire. They were goading me the whole night, we had some lively baseball debate. The, “Pavano? Opening Day? Haha reeal niice dude” got old and I guess I am still pissy.

    bloodyank78 March 30, 2007, 2:50 pm
  • Pavano-as-OD-starter thing: who really gives a hoot? Symbolically, sure, but otherwise does it really make a difference whether he starts April 2nd or 4th or 5th? I’m pretty sure the division isn’t going to be won on Opening Day.
    On paper, Sox have a better rotation than do the Yanks. I’m pretty sure that’s what they said last year too. And look what the injuries wrought! Anyway, all this predicting business is a crapshoot….Let the games begin already!!

    yankeemonkey March 30, 2007, 3:07 pm
  • keith olbermann, one of the staunchest and most insufferable YF’s to ever have a mic in front of his mouth, predicted a yankee third place finish this year as well. oddly enough, he see’s the O’s taking over the second spot. he backed up these picks by saying the yankees will have a serious meltdown this year with a clubhouse in turmoil. how do you predict clubhouse turmoil? well, i’m gonna pick clubhouse turmoil to win ROY in the NL.

    sf rod March 30, 2007, 3:17 pm
  • I don’t feel particularly good about the Yanks rotation, but wouldn’t be surprised to be pleasantly surprised. For example: Is Moose washed up? Can Pavano come back? (of course he can, which doesn’t mean he will) Has Pettite put his injuries behind him? Will Wang improve? How will Igawa and the rookies do? There’s plenty of potential for upside there, but downside too.
    But there are plenty of questions about the Sox too. Dike-K and Beckett have to do it on the field. Schilling and Wake are a year older. And how ’bout that pen? (How do they get to Papelbon?) I honestly don’t understand why people say the Sox have a great rotation — they didn’t last year.
    You can win the SEASON with the offense, as the Yanks did last year. What’s a LOT harder is winning the postseason without great pitching.

    john March 30, 2007, 3:26 pm
  • I didn’t know Olbermann was a YF. Oh well, I still like his politics.

    Tyrel SF March 30, 2007, 3:29 pm
  • I have read several stories recently about the sucess knucklers have after age 40.
    Wins after 40
    Joe Niekro: 35
    Charlie Hough: 67
    Phil Niekro: 128
    Hoyt Wilhelm: 129 Saves

    Anonymous March 30, 2007, 3:31 pm
  • Age and Wakefield shouldn’t be a real problem, if anything, like wine, the knuckle can get a lot better with time.

    LocklandSF March 30, 2007, 3:58 pm
  • Was Wake’s injury a freak one last year? I think age affects even knuckleballers.

    Nick-YF March 30, 2007, 4:21 pm
  • Nick, yeah, it was a broken rib, he didn’t even know how it happened, if memory serves me correctly.
    Age certainly does affect everyone, but it’s kinder to a knuckler than say, a power pitcher.

    LocklandSF March 30, 2007, 4:25 pm
  • I don’t think any of us really know the initial cause of Wake’s rib issues last year.
    Throwing a knuckle puts no real pressure or wear on the arm or body, and Wake doesn’t have to hit or run the bases, either. Guys who throw them well can pitch as long as they want (assuming they can still field.)

    Steve March 30, 2007, 4:26 pm
  • if clemens can pitch a 90mph fastball at 45 Wake can throw a knuckler to 50

    Anonymous March 30, 2007, 4:33 pm
  • How old was Nolan Ryan when he retired? He was still throwing mid-90s gas.
    I heard the only reason he gave up the game is because he didn’t think he had good enough reaction skills on the mound any longer, like with a line drive coming right at him.

    Steve March 30, 2007, 4:47 pm
  • Bradford had some interesting stuff to say today. Here’s some quote from John Farrell, after Bradford asked who made the biggest strides this spring –
    “You look at the secondary stuff of (Josh) Beckett, which has been consistent. He has used his curveball and changeup with a greater percentage of overall pitch distribution, which has allowed him to relax and not rely solely on velocity. That has been very encouraging. You see the development of (Curt Schilling’s) change-up. Clearly it is a pitch that will allow his fastball to be that much more effective. Him and Tek have been very good in their usage. He’s thrown it first pitch, he’s thrown it 3-2, ahead in the count, behind in the count. I think his change-up is really going to add some life to a 92-93 mph fastball. Occasionally he will telegraph it a bit with his body, but for the most part it’s a solid average major league pitch and times a little bit above. It will definitely be a weapon for him.
    “The consistency of J.C. Romero has been very good, particularly with his fastball command. Fastball command and first-pitch strikes with his fastball have been a major goal of his and ours and for the most part he has been able to do that. He’s an integral part to our bullpen.
    “I think most importantly there has been specifics laid out with pitchers, and for the most part they have been open. The interaction has been great and they have trusted the feedback. We are very fortunate to have a group of pitchers who don’t shy away from work. Their self-awareness is good, and they are honest with themselves.”

    Tyrel SF March 30, 2007, 4:58 pm
  • um…nolans reaction time was pretty good with robin ventura.
    purchase that moment in time here….

    sf rod March 30, 2007, 5:03 pm
  • The Sox’ rotation collapsed last year because it wasn’t as deep as this year. It had Schilling, Beckett and Wakefield. But going in, Wells was injured and Clement was a giant question mark. Arroyo was traded away, and Papelbon became the closer. When Wakefield went down, forget it.
    Two significant flukey things happened to doom the pitching staff last year — Wakefield’s broken rib, and Wells taking a line drive off his already-injured knee during his first start back. Those two things do’t happen, and the staff can 1. weather Schilling’s second-half injuries, maybe even rest him longer so he could be fresher, and 2. only rely on Lester/Snyder/Tavarez for one spot instead of three. Jarvis, Johnson, Pauley and Gabbard never even enter the picture.
    Of course, that doesn’t mean the Sox make the playoffs. You still have injuries to Varitek, Crisp, Ramirez, Nixon, Pena and Ortiz to worry about, plus those injuries prohibiting worn-down guys like Lowell, Loretta and Youkilis from getting a rest. It was a mess.
    All that to say: Anytime you lose two key starters to injury (and we’re not even discussing Clement in that equation), you’re going to have trouble. The difference now is that none of the Sox’ five starters are a significant injury risk. Schilling is the likeliest, and he’s very healthy — he’s no more likely to be injured than Mussina or Pettitte. Beckett’s been discussed ad nauseum here, but the gist is that he likely helped the Sox more than hurt them in 2006, and that he is very likely to improve upon that performance this year. If any of them, God forbid, does go down with an injury, there is Lester, Snyder and Gabbard, not to mention Devern Hansack.
    I feel much better about this team’s pitching this year. Not only are the starters on paper much improved — both over last year and in comparison to the Yankees — but the depth is better than last year as well.

    Paul SF March 30, 2007, 5:16 pm
  • A professional writer said, “Him and Tek have been very good in their usage”? 1) Him? 2) What does “usage” mean in this context?
    Clemens and Nolen Ryan are freaks. The logic here is like saying, if Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs then the Giambino can too. There is no logic.
    The Sox rotation has questions. The Yankee rotation has more questions. That does not mean the Sox rotation will be better, although it certainly could be. I just don’t understand all the people who say how great it will be.

    john March 30, 2007, 5:18 pm
  • John, that was a professional pitching coach with the pronoun error, not the professional writer.

    Paul SF March 30, 2007, 5:22 pm
  • I see Schilling, Beckett and Matsuzaka all winning atleast 16 games with Beckett leading the way with 21 this season Add in wakefield for 12 which is his career avcerage over a season and Tavarez/Lester for another 10 and thats a pretty damn good group of starters and it only gets better if Clemens chooses Boston which he will.
    He regreted his choice last year and he wont do the same this year, he will go for the story book ending on a team with a solid rotation and very very good offense.

    Anonymous March 30, 2007, 5:25 pm
  • The Yankees have proven again and again that awful rotations don’t matter in the regular season if you’ve got the offense to back it up. The 2004 Red Sox had an amazing rotation with Schilling and Pedro, while the Yankees had their worst rotation in recent memory, and yet they still won the AL East (we won’t go into the postseason details…)
    The Sox don’t have as great a rotation this year (you think Matsuzaka is going to win 21 games and post a 3.25 ERA? And Beckett will go under 4.00? Long, long shot. And then the rotations would be equal) and their offense is a bit better, although much, much, MUCH more injury-prone. But their bullpen is miles worse barring Papelbon, and that will lose them many games.
    The Yankees, however, have an even better offense than in 2004, and it’s really hard to have a rotation as bad as that one, and undoubtedly theirs is better this year. Their bullpen also is better with 3 pretty solid guys backing up God (and while it’s true Tom Gordon is not there anymore, we also don’t have guys like Heredia), with big upsiders like Bruney waiting in the back end, and Britton waiting in AAA.
    People don’t learn from history. The Red Sox have been overrated every season since 2004, and it’s happening again this year. To say that a team like the Yankees with the best offense in the game, and one of the better rotations in the league, are going to finish third, is completely, inexcusably, idiotic.

    Andrew March 30, 2007, 5:32 pm
  • Anonymous: I can fairly see Schilling, Beckett and Matsuzaka winning 16 games barring injury. However, Beckett with 21? Nobody in the game won 20 last year. It’s arguable that last year saw low output for wins totals in both leagues, but 21? Last year Santana and Wang won 19. Wang’s hurt and everyone says he overachieved anyway. Beckett is not Santana. 21? Santana I can see, and one must respect Halladay. Otherwise, Beckett and the rest of the field < 21. That said, I do expect Beckett to not give up so many long balls this year.

    attackgerbil March 30, 2007, 5:38 pm
  • I didnt realize I wasnt signed in :) Yes noone won 20 last year but Beckett won 16 ina rough transition to the AL and in his second season he should be more accustomed to it and should show a improvement.
    Translating that into another 5 wins with a better bullpen isnt a ridiculous idea.
    I think the AL will see a few 20 game winners this season.

    TJ Sox Fan March 30, 2007, 5:49 pm
  • Win totals are a pretty arbitrary stat, and if anything, Beckett’s and Johnson’s totals from last year show how team-dependent that category is. If Beckett’s ERA drops a run but he only wins 13 because the Sox happen not to hit for him, then, in my book, he still will have a better year than last. I think the 16 win total is illusory baseline stat to use, TJ.

    Nick-YF March 30, 2007, 5:53 pm
  • “The Red Sox have been overrated every season since 2004, and it’s happening again this year.”
    So by that logic, the Red Sox were overrated all TWO seasons since 2004 — including one in which they went to the playoffs, finished with the same win-loss record as the Yankees and, like the Yankees, lost in the first round of the playoffs.
    Therefore, they are overrated again. Wow. That’s quite an interesting train of thought.

    Paul SF March 30, 2007, 6:01 pm
  • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but I don’t buy it that the Yanks middle relief is “miles and miles” ahead of the Sox. I’m not so sure Proctor will hold up after throwing 104 innings last year, Farnsworth is eh, Myers pitched 30 innings last year, Vizcaino had a 3.5 ERA in the pitching friendly NL West. That is hardly fear inducing.

    Tyrel SF March 30, 2007, 6:11 pm
  • Anyone else see the Post’s Cy Young prediction?
    Josh Beckett, Red Sox No one will benefit more from Daisuke Matsuzaka’s arrival than Beckett, who, under less scrutiny and with more understanding when to use his off-speed stuff, will thrive. Minnesota┬╣s Johan Santana, the Angels’ John Lackey, Oakland’s Rich Harden, Baltimore’s Erik Bedard, Detroit’s Jeremy Bonderman and Toronto’s A.J. Burnett and Roy Halladay make it a race.”

    Tyrel SF March 30, 2007, 6:15 pm
  • I guess the lesson is that anything can be predicted?

    Nick-YF March 30, 2007, 6:16 pm
  • I can buy into that since earlier today i put Beckett my money favorite for CY Young with a 21-7 record, though I didnt go so far is to actually predict he will win it. I said it was too close to call with him, Papelbon, Santana, Haladay among others all in the run for it

    TJ Sox Fan March 30, 2007, 6:18 pm
  • at least on paper and according to most projection systems, the Yanks’ middle relief is better than Tavarez, Donnelly, Romero and company. But, again, these are all middle relievers and their performances tend to shift from year to year. Middle relief is a volatile animal.

    Nick-YF March 30, 2007, 6:20 pm
  • Tj, you forgot to include Jeff Karstens.

    Tyrel SF March 30, 2007, 6:21 pm
  • Wow. I could see it, but I’m blown away that the Post actually predicted it.
    I’m on record as believing Beckett will have a monster year, but I guess I’ve always figured Matsuzaka, Halladay or of course Santana would be better.

    Paul SF March 30, 2007, 6:21 pm
  • TJ, do you really think Beckett’s in Santana and Halladay territory?

    Nick-YF March 30, 2007, 6:23 pm
  • Well, Dayn Perry at Fox Sports has the Yanks at #1 in all of baseball in his preseason power rankings, and Steve Phillips on the ESPN telecast of the Yankee game today picked the Yanks to win the AL East, so in other words, Sox fans should stop drooling at the Globe’s picks, and btw, those guys at the Globe are just afraid of their houses getting egged if they picked anybody other than the Sox.

    Whatever March 30, 2007, 6:27 pm
  • Phillips predicted the Yanks? Shit.

    Nick-YF March 30, 2007, 6:28 pm
  • Beckett has the ability to be top 5 pitcher in all of baseball yes.
    Will he perform that way this year? who knows, but he has the ability to and I think he will.
    Im not syaing hes gonna blow past Halladay or Santana, I think the Cy vote will be very close this year but he certainly has the ability to be right there when its all said and done.

    TJ Sox Fan March 30, 2007, 6:28 pm
  • Wow! I mean I get flack for saying that some Sox fans overrate Beckett, and here you have a case we’re he’s being predicted to compete neck and neck with Halladay and Santana.

    Nick-YF March 30, 2007, 6:34 pm
  • “Phillips predicted the Yanks? Shit.”
    Yeah, that could be the kiss of death. Heh.

    Whatever March 30, 2007, 6:35 pm
  • If Beckett wins the Cy Young, he should also be in line for Comeback Player of the Year.

    Whatever March 30, 2007, 6:39 pm
  • Nick stole my line, regarding Phillips.

    attackgerbil March 30, 2007, 6:40 pm
  • If Beckett wins, I will eat so much crow. The thought scares me.

    Nick-YF March 30, 2007, 6:40 pm
  • Was he overrated in 2003 when he posted a 1.10 ERA with 19 K in 16.1 innings including a complete game shutout in the decisive game 6?

    TJ Sox Fan March 30, 2007, 6:41 pm
  • He was very good in a very small sample.
    Do you remember Jeff Suppan last world series?

    Nick-YF March 30, 2007, 6:42 pm
  • TJ, I think Beckett is a great pitcher. He’s so good, he could rise above my expectations and be an outside legitimate contender for the CY. However, I think it is so incredibly difficult to work in the AL that a guy like Beckett could end up with a record that easily belies his talent. NY’s experience with him when he was a Floridian aside, I just can not see him being more than a 15-7 pitcher in the Beast. And that’s before thinking about injury hiatusesez; it’s also not Beckett’s fault; he pitches in the meatiest division of the toughest of the leagues. The deck is stacked against pitchers all the way around. Guys like Santana, Nathan, Mo, and Paps are all the more impressive because of where they punch their clock.

    attackgerbil March 30, 2007, 6:47 pm
  • Beckett has as much “natural ability” as anyone in the game. If he can put it together and not get hurt, he can certainly be one of the 5 best in the league. It’s a big IF, but there’s no crime in being optimistic.

    Tyrel SF March 30, 2007, 6:49 pm
  • There should be a crime in being too optimistic. It would protect people from a lot of heartache. Ah, that bitch called “Hope”.

    Nick-YF March 30, 2007, 6:53 pm
  • Let me get this straight:
    The Sox finish ten games out in third place with a starting rotation of Schilling, Beckett, Wake, and Wells.
    Replace Wells with the Japanese Sushi special.
    And I’m supposed to be scared?
    Right, injuries to 40 year olds are fluky. Nice.
    Same crappy bullpen. Same crappy lineup plus Nancy Drew (yeah Lugo career .740 OPS means nothing).
    Again I’m supposed to be scared?
    Yanks upgraded their top three with Pettitte. The back of the rotation only needs to be league average from among the four guys they have to choose from. They have the best pitching prospect in all of baseball waiting in the wings. They get a full year from Matsui and Abreu to add to their MLB leading lineup. Their bullpen is 7 deep and they have the GOAT closer at the end.
    Who am I scared by?
    Okay, yeah Josh Phelps is going to make or break the season.
    Me, I’m just wondering if the Yanks break the 125 win mark. Cake walk.

    Jim - YF March 30, 2007, 6:53 pm
  • Tyrel: no doubt, I remember seeing Beckett looking like a master of the game facing formidable opponents; he _mowed_ them. For him to sustain over his ~30 starts is the trick. Again, I _think_ that it is really tough for hurlers throwing against the east (and the central, thinking about it; _look_ at the Tribe and the Twins deadly M-combo and the supporting cast heading into this year). The lineups they face are built to make pitchers look bad.

    attackgerbil March 30, 2007, 6:57 pm
  • lol, Thanks, Jim. I needed a good laugh before I left work for the day… Knew I could count on you.

    Paul SF March 30, 2007, 6:58 pm
  • Me, I’m still laughing about the predictions last year and then the results. 10 games back? Third place?
    “The injuries!”
    Hope does spring eternal.

    Jim - YF March 30, 2007, 7:06 pm
  • “There should be a crime in being too optimistic.”
    I think if that were the case, fully 3/4 of the people here would be facing hard labor. And poor Jim might be looking at the chair (another three years of the same production from Posada, indeed).

    Tyrel SF March 30, 2007, 7:09 pm
  • attackgerbil is a bit worried about the Yank rotation. Here’s a quick summary, nothing to do with any other team:
    The yanks lose a 17 game winner in Johnson, but no biggy (right). The Yanks start the season with their (arguably) best pitcher from 06 on the DL in Wang. Their 1 is Moose, whom has had a rough go in the post all the way through. Their 2 is Pettitte, returning to the team that didn’t respect him and is also returning from the NL to the meat-grinder of the AL-Beast. Their 3(4?) is a pitcher from Japan who has yet to throw in the ML in a game of consequence. The 4(3?) is a recidivist injury monger whose accolades came as an NL pitcher and hasn’t seen legit action as a starter since… The 5 is Darrell Rasner. Yeah, I don’t like to think about it, because it’s not a proud state of affairs.
    Offensively? I think the Yanks are the best team 1-9 that will take the field, without a doubt. Pitching wise, I’m concerned. Very concerned. How could you not be?

    attackgerbil March 30, 2007, 7:32 pm
  • Beckett has top 5 talent in all of baseball?
    What do they put in the water in Boston?
    TJ you gave those three pitchers more than 20 victories more than that professional prediction we saw a few days ago. I predict the final result will be in the middle.
    If you’re right, the Sox finish first. If the pros are right, the Sox finish third. More likely is a baseball pennant race.

    john March 30, 2007, 7:34 pm
  • I live in Brooklyn so if theres anything in the water its effecting Yankee fans more then Boston fans.
    As for Pettite being an upgrade???
    14-13 with a 4.20 era in the NL and Johnson was 17-11 with a 5.00 era in the AL how does that translate to being an upgrade? At best its a wash.

    TJ Sox Fan March 30, 2007, 7:41 pm
  • Beckett’s best year in Fla:
    3.38 15 & 8*
    Pavano’s best year in Fla:
    3.00 18 & 8
    I guess our starting pitcher Monday is in the top 4 in all of baseball.
    * In 2003, he had a 3.04 era, but only went 9 & 8 in 142 innings. That’s the same year Pavano had the 3.00 era, in 222 innings.
    In 6 years, including his 9 and 8 year, Beckett has had 3 winning seasons, and only with the Sox did he win as many as 16.
    That is not top 5.

    john March 30, 2007, 7:42 pm
  • Note on Vizcaino:
    Lefties hit .163 vs. Vizcaino, so you should not just sell his ability short because he pitched in the NL West. He also has a rubber arm, which is huge for pitchers in the pen.
    I know this will get pissed on, but I am a baseball fan 1st, Yankee fan second and I honestly believe this team is as good as a we have seen in the Bronx since ’98. Will that translate into 114 wins and a championship like ’98, maybe/maybe not, but they have that type of ability. They won 97 games last year, a year filled with injuries and awful starting pitching. The Yankees DO NOT have that power pitcher, front line starter like the Sox or Blue Jays, but they have consistency and with the type of offense they have that’s all they need.
    Brewers fans should be optimistic, Yankees fans should be confident.

    Triskaidekaphobia March 30, 2007, 7:42 pm
  • How does Pettite affect Beckett? If Andy has a poor year Josh will be more likely to throw his curveball for strikes?
    I think most Yankee fans consider Andy a holding action for a good offense while young pitching develops. If he’s better than that, so much the better.

    john March 30, 2007, 7:46 pm
  • I never said Pettite affected Beckett, one of the Yank fans commented how Pettite was an upgrade from last year, I just dont see how hes an upgrade from Johnson.

    TJ Sox Fan March 30, 2007, 7:50 pm
  • Are you guys kidding me with Pettitte??? His elbow is FINE, slower F-I-N-E. That being said his numbers were inflated in Houston due to arm issues that did not get resolved until the 2nd half of last season. Look at his numbers in the 2nd half last year, they were great, not good, great. By his own admission he wasn’t healthy until July of last year. Talk about beating a dead horse. It’s like talking about Beckett’s blister problems, uggh.
    As for AG, chill out bud. Wang hurt his hammy not his arm, he will be back ASAP. The ship can be held a float until he gets back. You are really concerned in losing Unit??? He won those games because of the Yankees offense, not because he was impressive. FYI, he is starting the season on the DL. As for Mussina, Igawa and Pavano, that group knows how to pitch, they may not be Daisuke, Beckett, Schilling, but the Sox offense is not the Yankees offense either.

    Triskaidekaphobia March 30, 2007, 7:52 pm
  • TJ you obviously never saw Unit pitch for the Yankees if you don’t think a consistent Pettitte is not an upgrade from Unit. Andy isn’t a big K guy, but he is s battler who keeps you in games by ALL means. You should focus all your “Concern” on Wakefield and Tavarez and that stellar bullpen.

    Triskaidekaphobia March 30, 2007, 7:54 pm
  • pedroia just went deep. the kid does have a quick bat.

    sf rod March 30, 2007, 7:58 pm
  • what is the obsession with the Yankees offense? its not all that great.
    Over the past 4 seasons Boston has had the better offense in 3 of the 4 seasons except last years failed defense first season.
    NY has had the “better lineup” but Boston has produced better then the Yankees. Im not saying they will this year but its not a forgone conclusion that NY will out perform Boston this season offensively.

    TJ Sox Fan March 30, 2007, 8:00 pm
  • drew leaves the yard too. the balls a flying at the citizens bank.

    sf rod March 30, 2007, 8:01 pm
  • im loving the new MLB gameday screen

    TJ Sox Fan March 30, 2007, 8:03 pm
  • Randy Johnson enjoyed the best run support in the AL last year. Give a pitcher the best run support in the league and 33 starts and Joe Blow could win 17 games.
    Andy Pettitte, after a stellar 2005 in which he was 5th in the Cy voting, pitched through nagging injuries in the first half of 2006, but got healthy and pitched well in the 2nd half, posting a 2.80 ERA after the break. While Pettitte is going back to the more potent AL, he’s also going from hitter friendly Minute Maid park to the best park for lefties in baseball, Yankee Stadium with it’s death valley in left-left center.
    Pettitte is 34, Randy Johnson is 43. Pettitte is a great guy in the clubhouse, RJ was a surly asshole.
    Bottom line: all things considered, it’s an upgrade

    Whatever March 30, 2007, 8:06 pm
  • Obsession?
    Varitek Vs. Posada = Posada
    Doug M. Vs. Youklis = Youklis
    Pedroia Vs. Cano = Cano
    A-Rod Vs. Lowell = A-Rod
    Jeter Vs. Lugo = Jeter
    Manny Vs. Matsui = Manny
    Coco Vs. Johnny = Johnny
    Drew Vs. Abreu = Abreu
    Papi Vs. Giambi = Papi
    So out of 9 spots, you get 3. You are right, we shouldn’t be optimistic. Our offense deserves no hype.

    Triskaidekaphobia March 30, 2007, 8:07 pm
  • Great post Whatever.

    Triskaidekaphobia March 30, 2007, 8:08 pm
  • Nieves vs Mirabelli = Mirabelli
    Cairo vs Cora = wash
    Phelps vs Hinske = Hinske
    Cabrera vs Pena = Pena
    Just cause u didnt mention the bench which will be a big part of Bostons season.
    You cant realistically call 2B because you dont know how well Pedroia will perform. Going into 2005 noone would have thought that Bellhorn would be out performed by Cano. Yes Cano has had a great 2 seasons but that doesnt mean he is a runaway better player then Pedroia so lets call that a wash for now.
    Now for catcher, theres no proof that last year wasnt anything more then an injury plagued season and he cant bounce back from it. in 2005 both catchers were near even offensively with tek with ever so microscopic advantages. again for now this is a wash.
    The advantages that jeter has over Lugo Manny makes up with Matsui. Im not sold on Coco Crisp but im not sold on Damon producing like last year either, damon still holds the advantage there.
    Then theres RF. That also is a wash. I dont know how you can keep a strait face as you said Abreau is better.
    The Sox bench has the far better advantage.
    I dont think either team has an advantage offensively. And it certainly isnt some run away advantage that you seem to think it is.

    TJ Sox Fan March 30, 2007, 8:25 pm
  • now Youk has hit Bostons 4th HR of the game 5-1

    TJ Sox Fan March 30, 2007, 8:26 pm
  • How stupid can you get?

    Anonymous March 30, 2007, 8:59 pm
  • who is stupid?

    TJ Sox Fan March 30, 2007, 9:14 pm
  • “Me, I’m just wondering if the Yanks break the 125 win mark. Cake walk.”
    Any shred of sanity/credibility he may have been able to once hold claim to is now long gone. TJ…I think Boston’s O will be good enough, but they aren’t even close to NY. They should finish top-5 in the AL in runs scored, but I don’t see them ending up better then 3rd; Cleveland could challenge NY in scoring and both Toronto (which, per their other offensive statistics scored fewer runs then they ‘should’ have last season) and Chicago still boast potent offenses. The difference will be pitching, specifically in the starting rotation, etc. etc. it’s all been said before. Position-by-positions are misleading because they fail to address talent differential…in other words, A-Rod is a major offensive upgrade over Lowell, while the difference between Drew and Abreu is marginal at best.
    Trisk…you really like this club better then the team that lost to the D-Backs in 01? Or to the Fish in 03? Look I like their offense to score 900+ runs at least…but look at what happened to Cleveland last year. Doesn’t guarantee a spot in a division rich with pitching, which Boston and Toronto most definitely were not coming into 2006, or at least not compared to what they look like now. (Though, after Burnett, I hate Toronto’s rotation and think their bullpen will regress significantly…which is why I’m not too concerned with them this season)

    desturbd1 March 30, 2007, 9:22 pm
  • matsui was more a victim of the anti-yankee bias than anything else…i hope dice-k isn’t a victim of the anti-japanese veteran bias that was invented to justify the matsui snub…if he beats out the competition, he deserves to win…
    why are we shocked that the yanks aren’t picked to win?…most of these fortune-tellers aren’t any better qualified to pick the winners than we are…they are acknowleging the improvements the sox made to their lineup, their superior starting pitching, and mgmt’s coming to their senses about paplebon, and banking on the law of averages to convince the baseball gods that a 10 year run for the yankees is long enough…i wouldn’t be surprised to see the sox take the division…i’m ok with the wild card…several teams have been quite successful in that position in recent years…um, it remains to be seen whether that plays out however…for example, does anyone think paplebon may have been a “one-hit wonder”?…no telling ’til we see i guess…
    ag, with all due respect, the yanks and red sox may have one 16 game winner apiece…i don’t see shilling, mats, and beckett all winning 16…the bullpen will blow enough leads to keep that from happening…you are overly concerned about the yanks rotation…they will win games…
    don’t worry nick, i think beckett peaked last year…that’s as good as it gets…

    dc March 30, 2007, 9:23 pm
  • “does anyone think paplebon may have been a “one-hit wonder”
    Actually that’s the first time I’ve heard anyone suggest it. ;-) He doesn’t exactly have Shingo Takatsu-type stuff…only issue in my eyes is health.

    desturbd1 March 30, 2007, 9:29 pm
  • If you think you have the better bench, more power to you, I think both teams are weak. Mirrabelli is a name, not necessarily a good player.
    “You cant realistically call 2B because you dont know how well Pedroia will perform. Going into 2005 noone would have thought that Bellhorn would be out performed by Cano. Yes Cano has had a great 2 seasons but that doesnt mean he is a runaway better player then Pedroia so lets call that a wash for now.”
    Are you INSANE? Do you watch baseball at all? Cano is a pure hitter. Great swing, hits to all fields, can bunt. is developing power and you want me to give you a wash with a guy who has thus far been ALL hype? You are redunkulous!
    “Now for catcher, theres no proof that last year wasnt anything more then an injury plagued season and he cant bounce back from it. in 2005 both catchers were near even offensively with tek with ever so microscopic advantages. again for now this is a wash.”
    Ask your fellow Sox fans whose better. TJ really man, watch a few games of baseball this season.
    “The advantages that Jeter has over Lugo Manny makes up with Matsui.”
    Manny is one of the best hitters of our time, so I won’t argue that he is better then Matsui, but Matsui is solid .300/.380/25 HRS, I’ll take that.
    “Then theres RF. That also is a wash. I dont know how you can keep a strait face as you said Abreau is better.”
    You don’t know how I can keep a ‘Straight’ face? Are you for real? Is Ashton Kutcher going to pop up on my screen any moment now? If you can’t admit that Abreu is better then Drew, I am wasting my breath. Please look at their career numbers, please. Look at Abreus OBP.
    “The Sox bench has the far better advantage.”
    Wily Mo and Melky are a wash and I will tell you why. Sure Wily Mo has the power advantage, but defensively, WOW, not even close son.
    “I dont think either team has an advantage offensively. And it certainly isnt some run away advantage that you seem to think it is.”
    That “I” think it is….it’s not just me TJ, the breakdown I gave is the same breakdown I gave on another thread that most if not all Sox fans in that thread.

    Triskaidekaphobia March 30, 2007, 9:39 pm
  • well, and i promise i’m not trying to start any bs-slinging d-1, but pap did have the injury, and given that closers tend to be touchy guys with short shelf lives anyway, i’m just wondering aloud…i like the kid and i think he’s got the right stuff mentally and i like the way he pitches, but his ability to repeat last year has to be in the back of our minds…

    dc March 30, 2007, 9:42 pm
  • Since 2003, last season was the only season NY had a better offense then Boston, NY did nothing to improve there offense.
    On the other hand Boston has improved there offense drastically.
    Injuries aside because both teams had them last season How can anyone justify saying either team has an offensive advantage in 2007?

    TJ Sox Fan March 30, 2007, 9:43 pm
  • “Trisk…you really like this club better then the team that lost to the D-Backs in 01? Or to the Fish in 03?”
    On paper this offense is as complete as I have seen in my lifetime (I am 31.) I watch a ton of baseball, so take it for what it’s worth, if healthy this team can eclipse the ’98 teams win total. I like the depth at pitching, it’s not overpowering like Schilling, Daisuke and Beckett, but good enough to keep us in games until the offense can score some runs. We are missing that power guy, but maybe that appears in June or July. Now this all depends on health, as with all teams.

    Triskaidekaphobia March 30, 2007, 9:47 pm
  • Abreu career OPS: .919
    Drew Career OPS: .904
    You’re overreacting a bit here, Trisk. Abreu has just under a .020 advantage on Drew in terms of OBP and a slightly smaller SLG. I’d say that this is about as close to a wash as you will ever find in baseball…when they’re healthy, of course. (A major caveat, admittedly)
    I agree that Cano is probably on a different level from Pedroia…he’s a very good hitter and he’ll probably keep improving, although his lack of plate discipline is somewhat of an issue; there’s no fricken way he hits .342 again (He had a .363 BABIP last year…not repeatable) and if he’s around .300 with the same walk-rates…he’ll still be good, especially for a 2B, just not as good.

    desturbd1 March 30, 2007, 9:56 pm
  • Also, Schilling’s blog is giving away 2 free subscriptions to MLB.TV per day for 10-12 days beginning on the 1st. That’s pretty cool.

    desturbd1 March 30, 2007, 10:00 pm
  • Manny and Papi, offensive studs. Other then that where is this awesome offense you speak of TJ??? The Yankees are well balanced from 1-8, Doug is here for defense. But even still add Phelps and Doug M. and you get the totals of Youkilis minus the OB% and walks.
    Projections from, home of Ron Shandler recently featured on ESPN. (Just so you don’t think this is fly by night data)
    Lowell 18 HR’s/77 RBI
    Youkilis 12 HR’s/66 RBI
    Pedroia 8 HR’s /54 RBI
    Lugo 12 HR’s/62 RBI
    Crisp 17 HR/69 RBI
    Drew 22 HR/82 RBI
    Varitek 17 HR/62 RBI
    Papi 47 HR/131 RBI
    Manny 38 HR/123 RBI
    191 HR’s
    726 RBI
    A-Rod 38 HR’s/123 RBI
    Doug M. 8 HR’s/46 RBI/Phelps 10 HR’s 37 RBI
    Cano 21 HR/89 RBI
    Jeter 16 HR/82 RBI
    Matsui 22 HR/96 RBI
    Damon 18 HR/71 RBI
    Abreu 18 HR/93 RBI
    Posada 20 HR/82 RBI
    Giambi 36 HR/110 RBI
    207 HR’s/829 RBI
    Now, I know HR’s and RBI’s are not the only stat, but they are important stats when proving the abilities of an offense.

    Triskaidekaphobia March 30, 2007, 10:06 pm
  • Youk and Pedroia are under estimated in those projections and you failt to include Pena who will essentially be a 10th starter for Boston seeing in the are of 400 ABs which could translate to upwards of 25 HR on the low side.
    Youk is only gonna get better not worse as the projections u showed suggest. especially not having to bat leadoff.

    TJ Sox Fan March 30, 2007, 10:11 pm
  • Abreu’s Career:
    5276 AB’s (That’s 439 AB’s per season)
    951 Runs (79 Runs per season)
    1595 Hits (132 hits per season)
    205 HR’s (17 HR’s per season)
    883 RBI’s (73 RBI per season)
    1003 BB’s (83 BB’s per season)
    271 SB’s (22 SB’s per season)
    .302 Career BA
    .412 Career OBP
    .506 Career SLG%
    12 Seasons for Abreu
    Drew’s Career:
    3161 AB’s (That’s 316 AB’s per season)
    605 Runs (60 Runs per season)
    905 Hits (90 hits per season)
    162 HR’s (16 HR’s per season)
    509 RBI’s (51 RBI’s per season)
    529 BB’s (53 BB’s per season)
    74 SB’s (7 SB’s per season)
    .286 Career BA
    .392 Career OBP
    .511 Career SLG%
    10 Seasons for Drew
    Now please, I have given data, Abreu is the more complete player and gets the edge. I gave career totals and averages, so that the often injured Drew wasn’t slighted.

    Triskaidekaphobia March 30, 2007, 10:22 pm
  • How is WMP getting 400 AB’s? 300-325 yes, 400? Are you counting on Drew going down?

    Triskaidekaphobia March 30, 2007, 10:29 pm
  • …RBI’s and Runs scored are entirely dependent on the other guys in the lineup. …and those averages most definitely ‘slight’ Drew, given the fact that in a few of those 10 seasons he only saw 200-300 ab’s. In fact, that’s about as misleading as it gets…
    Abreu’s more durable and he can steal bases (a useless ability in that spot in the Boston lineup). He’s not miles above Drew (when healthy) in any sense of the word, unless SB’s and .020 of OBP really mean that much to you. Slightly better, maybe, but given his two straight seasons of decline who knows what’ll happen in 2007.

    desturbd1 March 30, 2007, 10:34 pm
  • Youk is going to get better and Cano worse. And this is not homer bias.
    Cano almost won the frigging batting title in his second year. But Pedroia will be better and Beckett is one of the 5 top pitchers in baseball. And this is not homer bias.
    Since 2003, last season was the only season NY had a better offense then Boston, NY did nothing to improve there offense.
    Uh, Matsui is back, over Melky.
    Abreu is here for a full season, instead of an older Bernie and an injured Sheff.
    Cano missed a big stretch on the DL.
    Damon had a lot of nagging injuries but will get more rest this year, because of Melky.
    If this team doesn’t score a lot more runs than last year’s it’s major news.

    john March 30, 2007, 10:42 pm
  • he was told by the team he will get 400 ABs he will likely play all 3 OF positions regualry and possibly DH when Youk gets a day off and Ortiz moves over to 1st if he plays each OF position and DH once a week would give him 416 ABs that doesnt include pinch hitting when he has a day off.
    Youk and Lowell will get more days off in 2007 if the team stays healthy then they did last season. Hinske will geta majority of the 3B games when lowell sits.

    TJ Sox Fan March 30, 2007, 10:44 pm
  • John, I said not to include injuries cause Boston lost Manny, Tek, Nixon, Pena, Crisp for significant time as well as the missed time by ortiz with the heart scare late in the season. I think Boston lost offense from injury easily surpasses what NY lost.

    TJ Sox Fan March 30, 2007, 10:46 pm
  • Agreed, but if anyone has an advantage as far as supporting cast throughout their careers it’s Drew! He has been on FAR better teams, with much better players.
    “and those averages most definitely ‘slight’ Drew, given the fact that in a few of those 10 seasons he only saw 200-300 ab’s.”
    First off his missed time is his own issue, AVG’s don’t lie, what would you rather use then AVG’s? 2 of Abreu’s seasons 1996 and 1997 are included in those and he had 22 and 188 AB’s respectively. Drew’s lowest total in 1998 was 36 and in 1999 he shot up to 368. 2003 and 2005 were the only seasons he had less then 300 AB’s. He has almost DOUBLE the walks of Drew, in addition to a higher OB%, SB and BA.
    I can’t do anything but give you data that proves that Abreu is a better player. I never said he was Babe Ruth being compared to Andy Stankiewicz, but Abreu is the better player and the numbers show that.

    Triskaidekaphobia March 30, 2007, 10:51 pm
  • Another set of predictions by the Hardball Times staff:
    1st place (east): NYY, 9; Bos, 6.
    2nd place: NYY, 4; Boston, 8; Toronto, 3.
    3rd place: NYY, 2; Boston, 1; Toronto, 11.
    WC Spot: NYY, 3; Boston, 7; Toronto/Chicago, 1; Minny, 3.
    Alex Gordon got 9 RoY votes, Matsuzaka got 6.
    Santana took 12 CYs, Halladay got 2 and Matsuzaka got 1.
    A-Rod got 5 MVP votes; Mauer, Cano, and Ortiz got 1 each, Sizemore and Vlad got 2 a piece, and Hafner got 3.
    I like these guys better then most media outlets. Also interesting: Cleveland collected 11/15 1st place votes, and finished below 2nd only once; Oakland only got 1 first place vote with LAA getting the rest.

    desturbd1 March 30, 2007, 10:52 pm
  • Yeah and Torre is telling Melky the same thing, barring injury there isn’t a snow balls chance in hell WMP gets 400 AB’s.
    The Yankees lost Matsui, Sheffield, Posada, Cano…all before the summer even started. Manny went down when you guys dropped out, Papi’s heart scare was after you dropped out as well. So that leaves Coco, Tek and Nixon. Hmmmm Coco, Tek and Nixon as compared to Matsui, Sheff, Posada and Cano…I wonder who had to endure more of a blow to their offense?

    Triskaidekaphobia March 30, 2007, 10:57 pm
  • u know what ur right the yankees are gods gift to baseball and no one will ever compare to them.
    I know fans are loyal to there team but you are just an idiot.

    TJ Sox Fan March 30, 2007, 11:00 pm
  • TJ – you said the Yanks have not upgraded their offense. They have. It will be major news if the 2007 Yankee offense is not much better than the 2006 Yankee offense.
    Red Sox injuries and / or health are irrelevant to Yankee offensive stats.
    Injuries can happen to anyone anytime, and the Yanks are getting older. But we read that at least some Sox players don’t believe Manny was injured, so that can also happen again anytime. And Drew has a history of injuries, of course.

    john March 30, 2007, 11:01 pm
  • I know missed time is his own issue; I just don’t think H/season or HR/season etc. are particularly telling statistics. And my entire argument hinges on 100% health…I agree that in terms of real value over the course of their careers Abreu has been the better offensive player; my only issue was that I thought you were…basically doing what you just said you weren’t, comparing Babe to whoever that other guy is. Just thought it was an overstatement, is all. And I do think NY has the better offense, probably by about .5 runs per game.
    And the injury comparisons are perfectly valid if we’re comparing total offensive output over the course of the season. In other words…if someone wants to point at the fact that NY outscored Boston by 115 runs last year (or whatever it was…) and note that this was accomplished despite injuries to Cano, Matsui, etc…then it’s perfectly valid to point out Boston’s own injury issues. They were still playing the games after they had fallen out of contention and still trying to add to their runs total…

    desturbd1 March 30, 2007, 11:04 pm
  • Ugh…that was poorly written.

    desturbd1 March 30, 2007, 11:06 pm
  • I AM AN IDIOT???
    When you know you are wrong, name call. That’s brilliant!

    Triskaidekaphobia March 30, 2007, 11:06 pm
  • Also I’m nitpicking a little here, but Posada played more games last year then he had since 2002…

    desturbd1 March 30, 2007, 11:09 pm
  • Meaning what D1?

    Triskaidekaphobia March 30, 2007, 11:10 pm
  • Heh, well you noted his injury on the list of Yankees who went down last year, when 143 games out of a catcher is actually really good. I didn’t have much of a point other then that he was actually healthy; I was mostly just surprised to see that he played that many games. I mean he caught more games last season then Mauer, Pudge, and McCann.

    desturbd1 March 30, 2007, 11:35 pm
  • I’m late to the party, but a few notes.
    I’ve seen the “on paper” argument several times in response to “expert” predictions. What else do they have to go on? No real games have been played. Going with the “paper” information and what they’ve seen in ST is the best they’ve got.
    Johan Santana wins the AL Cy until he goes to the NL or retires. And I love Josh Beckett. Assuming health for Halladay, it will be 1. Santana, 2. Halladay, and 3. (Lackey/Bonderman/Bedard).
    The Yankees have a scary offense, scary to other teams. They’ll score the most runs in the ML, possibly 50 or more ahead of their nearest competitor. They have a pitching staff that could also be described as scary. That being said, there’s no way you can bet against Mo, unless he comes up injured. I think Farnsworth will be solid. I think predicting Proctor one way or the other could be absolutely ridiculous, though I’ll say he does one of two things: 1. Pitches well until June/July goes down with season-ending surgery. 2. Pitches at a mediocre level but stays healthy most of the season. Pettitte will be fine, Wang will regress but not as much as we SFs hope. Mussina will be fine. Igawa, Pavano, and their merry band of men (Karstens, et al) will be shaky.
    Abreu vs. Drew. Abreu wins in .OBP and SBs. Wash in HR potential (Drew could probably be higher on the HR side, but I’m not ready to bet on that.) Defense: Clearly Drew. He’s been below average with Rate2 for a grand total of 49 games in his career, and has a career Rate2 of 104, with Abreu’s at 99. Abreu basically sets the average according to PMR. Drew is…ahead of him. Of course, this all depends on what weight you put on RF defense. Certainly Drew’s will be more important to the Sox than Abreu’s to the Yankees.
    The very first comment from yankeemonkey had to do with the pick of Joe Nathan as All-AL RP. Nathan has no recent injury issues (Mo/Papelbon) and has a better track record than B.J. Ryan. I’m not sure where you can find fault with this. Only K-Rod (violent delivery makes him an injury WAITING to happen) could really make an argument here.

    QuoSF March 31, 2007, 12:49 am
  • I think its hilarious how all the SF’s are ecstatic about the BOSTON GLOBE & Peter Gammons picking the Sox to win the WS!!!
    I dont blame them, they know better than to shit where they eat.
    Have fun guys, it’s all downhill from here.

    wemisspaulie March 31, 2007, 12:51 am
  • I have a hard time buying that this is the best Yankees team in ten years. They’re still the best offense in baseball, but I doubt they’ll score more than they did last last. Jeter hit 30 points above his career average, can he do that again? Will Posada (35) and Giambi (36) continue to perform at this level? Cano’s production will definitely drop some, no way he hits .340 again. His 18 walks last season reflect a lack of patience that sooner or later pitchers will learn to exploit. Abreu was great at the end of last year, but this is the same guy that the Phillies were giving away. There’s got to be a reason. I’d take a healthy Sheffield over him anytime. Damon has been gimpy for a couple years, it’s a matter of time before he either gets injured or there’s a precipitous drop in production. Matsui is coming off a pretty brutal injury, getting back to .300 and 25 HR may be asking a bit much. The average age of the Yanks starting 9 is 32, which isn’t the typical age where players improve.
    Personally, I think the Yanks offense hinges on Arod. If he gets back to 2005, they can keep up their level of production.
    Question about BABIP, which I’m having a hard time getting my head around this. If the league BABIP is around .290, and someone hits significantly higher than this, or a pitcher holds people to a level significantly lower than this, they are “supposed to” regress to the mean. But isn’t it possible (or likely) that a hitter hits the ball particularly hard, or has a great line drive swing, that they’ll have a higher BABIP. Likewise, if a pitcher has a .250 BABIP, aren’t they likely inducing weak swings or pop-ups? Why he regression to the mean? Am I missing something?

    Tyrel SF March 31, 2007, 1:41 am
  • Poorly written, sorry.

    Tyrel SF March 31, 2007, 1:43 am
  • CAN’T WAIT ‘TILL MONDAY!!! No more guessing for this fan. May the baseball Gods let the cards fall where they may. We both love great teams, and they the fun is about to start. PLAY BALL!!

    bloodyank78 March 31, 2007, 2:17 am
  • “the fun” sorry, to much Johnny Walker tonite.

    bloodyank78 March 31, 2007, 2:19 am
  • That wasn’t poorly written, I understood it fine.
    You’re right, we should expect regression from Jeter and Cano, because you should always expect regression from a player who hit .340 (unless that player is Ted Williams). Heck, I’m predicting Mauer hits .310 15 HR 70 RBI 10 SB for fantasy purposes. I’d expect Cano to regress too, but he’ll still be the second-best offensive 2B-man in the game.
    However, these inevitable regressions will be more than made up for by full seasons of Matsui and Abreu, and an expected uptick in production from A-Rod. It should be expected that this club score more runs than last year just based on that, but predicting status quo isn’t crazy either. Predicting that Boston’s offense is going to be better, though, is crazy talk.
    The point still stands. Is Boston a better team now than in 2004? I’m thinking no. Are the Yankees better than they were in 2004? Undoubtedly yes. Perspective, people. Yankees still have the best shot at the division. Doesn’t mean Boston’s out of it already, that’s why they play the games (though I’m beginning to wonder why the Devil Rays and the Nationals even bother any more).

    Andrew March 31, 2007, 2:24 am
  • Maybe 2004 isn’t a good example. I can’t even begin to imagine, looking at the numbers, how the Yankees even managed 90 wins, much less 101. Jesus, that was the worst team they’d had since probably 1992. I don’t feel bad anymore about the 2004 collapse. It was way, way, way overdue. What a painful team.

    Andrew March 31, 2007, 2:43 am
  • Tyrel, I think you want to look at trends where that is concerned. Manny’s lifetime BABIP is .343, so expecting him to regress to the mean is probably not realistic. Pujols is .320. Anyone expecting him to slow down/regress?
    This is where expecations on Cano CAN be hazy, simply because there’s not 13 years of data to go back on as there is with Manny or even 6 years, like Pujols. You would think a scary hitter like Sheffield would be up with these guys too, right? Pounds the ball mercilessly all over the field. Yet he comes up average most of his big league seasons. To me that says that guys like Pujols and Manny are the exceptions, and they are truly exceptional hitters with a class of their own.
    Can Cano put up a BA with a BABIP like that again? Sure. Is it smart to bet on him to do so? Absolutely not. 5 more years of the same kind of data could have us seeing this differently, but expecting a second year player for whom we have limited data to post another .363 is ludicrous. I do think he could be above-average with this across his career, but the kind of production he showed in 2005 plus (possibly) growing patience is as much as YFs should expect. (Which unfortunately for us SFs, is still pretty good)
    Plug Cano in at, because most projection systems do have him BABIP in the mid-.300s. Some of these have computer calculations built in, and most simply take into account the data available (one season of .310 and another of .363) which would explain the number they come up with. Cano often makes contact, and often makes hard contact, so expecting him to fall completely to Earth (Read: regression to the mean) might be too much to hope for.
    As fellow SFs, who do you think of most in terms of weak swings? Perhaps Pedro circa late 90s early 00s? And yet he was generally around the norm or had a BABIP which should’ve made it tougher on him. (He was well below in 2000). As far as trends go with pitchers, simply look at their own data. Kenny Rogers (good luck for his recovery) has mostly been around the norm in his career, but posted a .265 BABIP last season. Is it more reasonable to expect that one outlier to repeat, or that he will come back to where he’s been most of his career? I’m sure you can find Manny or Pujols-type exceptions for a pitcher or two, but most hover in the .280-.300 range, which is for the most part close enough. Best exception I could find was Mariano Rivera, with several seasons well below .290. One of the best at inducing weak contact, so certainly when he was younger was a safer bet than most to be below the mean.
    Wow. Let me know if that made any sense.

    QuoSF March 31, 2007, 2:47 am
  • “Predicting that Boston’s offense is going to be better, though, is crazy talk.”
    Drew > Trot
    Lugo > Gonzo
    Coco healthy
    Tek healthy
    Manny healthy
    Maybe Papi doesn’y hit 54 HRs again this year, but Boston’s offense will definitely be better than it was last year. If you’re saying that predicting Boston’s offense won’t surpass NY’s, I agree, though I think it’ll be closer than you think. We’re gonna score a shitload of runs this year.
    I still have my question about BABIP. Why are players supposed to regress to the league average? Aren’t some pitchers better at inducing contact outs? Aren’t some hitters better at finding holes?

    Tyrel SF March 31, 2007, 2:51 am
  • Sorry Quo, I posted before I read your response, thanks.

    Tyrel SF March 31, 2007, 2:52 am
  • The other thing, Tyrel, is the fundamental principle of pitching, at least as of late. The only thing a pitcher can really control is HRs, BBs, and Ks. Which is why pitchers who excel at all three (here’s the concern about Wang) are the ones who are generally the most successful.
    BABIP is controlled mostly by lady luck/god/other deity of choice, defense, and I suppose the hitter to some degree. I certainly see your weak contact argument, but in my limited research, I only found Rivera who fit that particular schema.

    QuoSF March 31, 2007, 2:52 am
  • Okay, I just read it, it makes good sense. Theoretically, I would think pitchers who are effective without striking out many guys would have a solid BABIP. Pedro’s BABIP may have been average at his peak, but he struck out so many guys that his actual average against was pretty darned good. I would think someone like Maddux would have a good career BABIP, because he’s not known as a big K guy.
    Schilling last year had a .328 BABIP, and he’s made a point of “pitching to contact” this pre-season, meaning he wants to get better at inducing outs on hit balls. Looking at his career stats(excepting 2005), .328 is very much an outlier. Now, it’s possible this is age related, but I’m expecting some significant improvement on Curt’s BABIP, provided he’s healthy.

    Tyrel SF March 31, 2007, 3:09 am
  • Maddux has never really been a horrific K guy, several of his good seasons saw him strike out 150+. Some of his good seasons had to have something to do with low BABIP, some not. Agreed that his finesse is what gets him through, and you’d think the BABIP data would show that to some appreciable degree. Maybe he’s just proof that no metric, advanced or not, is any kind of magic bullet.
    The thing with Curt, is that .328 isn’t that much higher than some of his previous seasons. He posted a .317 in his best season in Arizona. Sure it’s an outlier, but I think the .314/.318 projected by ZIPS/Chone is fairly reasonable. There may be more examples of pitchers like Curt being higher than the mean than those below it.
    Just for kicks, I pulled up Clemens. His career is .294, and most of his seasons in the bigs have been within .010 to .015 of that, aside from 2005, the season in which he enjoyed that 1.87 ERA. (.254 BABIP)

    Anonymous March 31, 2007, 3:24 am
  • Dang typekey. That was me.

    QuoSF March 31, 2007, 3:25 am
  • is pretty cool, i’ve never been there before.
    just for fun, here’s a Drew/Abreu comparison, from fangraphs –

    Tyrel SF March 31, 2007, 3:48 am
  • What is the significance of Wang’s BABIP being .291 last year? Since its exactly at the league average, does it mean that he didn’t benefit greatly from luck?

    Nick-YF March 31, 2007, 8:38 am
  • Tyrel you forgot to mention Pena is healthy.
    As for everything else. Im not trying to suggest that NY does have a great offense and Im not saying Cano, Jeter or Abreau wont be just as good. But right now Boston has just as much chance of leading the league in Runs and HR as NY does. Everyone bags on Tek saying he’s done but Posada is a year older and in 2005 when they both last played a full season they were near identicle players offensively no reason to not think that wont be the case in 2007.

    TJ Sox Fan March 31, 2007, 9:14 am
  • i enjoy reading all of the comparison commentary guys, but it does make me wish for the actual games…my humble observations:
    ..both teams will have good offenses…i’m convinced that the both the sox and the yanks have improved their offense through acquisitions and returns from injury…however, all the speculation assumes that no significant injuries will happen this year…as we’ve seen, injuries can change everything…
    ..both teams have players that will do better or worse than last year [maybe] simply because the law of averages says so: jeter and cano will not hit as well, arod will get closer to his career averages, beckett will pitch better, pap may not, ortiz may hit fewer homers, varitek may bounce back while posada may tail off a bit…all possibilities…expect aberrations too: phillip hughes might win 10 games after the all-star break, while curt schilling might win 10 games all season…one adage about baseball that holds true every year: “expect the unexpected”…i love this game…

    dc March 31, 2007, 9:19 am
  • Is Boston a better team now than in 2004? I’m thinking no.
    Pos – Name — 2004 — 2007
    C – Varitek 2004 > 2007
    1B – Millar = Youkilis
    2B – Bellhorn < Pedroia SS - Reese < Lugo (this is weird because the Sox split time between Nomar, Reese and OC. Reese had the most ABs). 3B - Mueller < Lowell (slight) LF - Ramirez = Ramirez CF - Damon > Crisp
    RF – Kapler < Drew DH - Ortiz < Ortiz Offensively, the 2007 Sox look to be worse at catcher because of Varitek's decline and center field because Damon was at his peak. Millar 2004 had better power than Youkilis but not as good an OBP. Even a little more power turns Youk better than Millar. Manny is Manny. Pedroia will be on base a heckuva lot more than Bellhorn, Lugo is at least Orlando Cabrera's equal offensively and certainly better than Reese or an injured Garciaparra. Lowell is putting up similar numbers to what Mueller did in 2004 but with far more doubles. Drew is miles better in right than the Nixon-Kapler platoon/injury situation. Ortiz 2007 is one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball, as opposed to Ortiz 2004, when he was merely dangerous. Schilling > Schilling
    Martinez < Beckett Arroyo < Matsuzaka Wakefield = Wakefield Lowe < Tavarez/Lester Schillng's declined some, Beckett is on the rise while Martinez was on the decline, Matsuzaka is better than any of the 2004 club's bottom three starters, Wakefield is the picture of consistency, and Lowe was awful in 2004 -- so bad that it'd be difficult for Tavarez to be that bad in the short time until Lester's return. In 2004 the bullpen was Keith Foulke set up by Mike Timlin, Alan Embree, Curt Leskanic, Scott Williamson, Ramiro Mendoza and Mike Myers as the LOOGY. Is that demonstrably better than Jonathan Papelbon set up by Timlin, Brendan Donnelly, Hideki Okajima, J.C. Romero, Kyle Snyder and Javier Lopez as the LOOGY? Keep in mind that Foulke, Williamson and Leskanic were the only members of the pen with ERAs below 4 that year. So, in short, yes, this team -- on paper, duh -- is better than 2004.

    Paul SF March 31, 2007, 9:40 am
  • Again with the Beckett. Pedro had declined, but that meant he had a 3.90 ERA, a 125 ERA+ in 217 innings, and to expect Beckett to match that in 2007 is a tad optimistic. Advantage goes to Pedro.

    Nick-YF March 31, 2007, 9:54 am
  • Also, expecting the Sox’s middle relief to match that of Embree, Timlin and Williamson is more than optimistic. And Foulke was fantastic that year. I don’t doubt that Papelbon can match or better what Foulke did, but every other member of the bullpen did better than what you really can expect from the bullpen this year.
    Also on the offense, Manny != Manny, just by the fact that this year’s Manny is much more injury-prone, and won’t play as many games. And we’re talking about Ortiz 2007, not Ortiz 2006. Ortiz 2004 was very dangerous, hitting to a tune of .301 and 41 homeruns. You can’t just predict someone to hit 50 homeruns every year, even Ortiz.

    Andrew March 31, 2007, 10:13 am
  • Except, Andrew, that nearly everyone HAS predicted Ortiz to hit more than 41 home runs, and most have gone to 45 or 50.
    As for Beckett, most are predicting him to drop his ERA to around 4. I did underestimate Pedro without looking at his stats more closely. If Beckett performs like I think he will, there should be an equal sign. So the top 2 cumulatively are not as good, but the depth is much much better.

    Paul SF March 31, 2007, 10:16 am
  • Nick, according to BABIP, Wang was neither lucky nor unlucky last season. Which is why “falling off a cliff” is probably not in his future.

    QuoSF March 31, 2007, 10:21 am
  • Nice outing from Tavarez yesterday, and four homers off Hamels looks good. The Globe said Manny’s was an opposite field shot. I wonder how his off-season training/hitting regiment will effect him. Bradford had an article about how Manny starting hitting in December in order to avoid the slow starts he’s been having. Be nice if this HR is a sign he’s getting dialed in.

    Tyrel SF March 31, 2007, 12:28 pm
  • cano hitting as well as he did last year has as much probability as well, let’s say pap pitching as well, and drew staying off the disabled list…should be fun

    dc March 31, 2007, 2:46 pm
  • Paul, it’s time for an intervention.
    We’re sending you to rehab for that Kool-Aid addiction.
    See you in 30 days…

    Anonymous March 31, 2007, 9:29 pm
  • Damn typekey. That was me, Andrews.

    Anonymous March 31, 2007, 9:30 pm
  • For what it’s worth–not much, admittedly–Rotoworld predicted a 4 ERA in an article yesterday, citing an improved curve and a changeup that has been consistantly between 84-85 mph. In a blog entry yesterday, Gammons listed Beckett alongside Bedard, Harden, and King Felix as guys who scouts say have looked unbelievable this spring. BIS called for a 3.68 ERA, PECOTA said 4.47.
    ESPN’s projections have Ortiz hitting 50 dingers. Unlikely…but still cool. James’ handbook called for 47, PECOTA said 41.

    desturbd1 March 31, 2007, 9:51 pm
  • Spring Training stats and observations always have to be taken with a heaping pile of salt. However, in regards to Beckett, they might mean a little more. Just for yucks I went and looked up his spring ERAs to see how they compared to his regular season ERAs, and there’s something of a pattern:
    2002 Spring: 3.32 ERA
    2002 Season: 4.10 ERA
    2003 Spring: 2.14 ERA
    2003 Season: 3.04 ERA
    2004 Spring: 5.34 ERA
    2004 Season: 3.79 ERA
    2005 Spring: 0.98 ERA (NOT a typo!)
    2005 Season: 3.38 ERA
    2006 Spring: 5.14 ERA
    2006 Season: 5.01 ERA
    2007 Spring: 3.04 ERA
    2007 Season: ???
    With the exception of his rookie year in ’02, when he was strong in the spring, he went on to have pretty decent seasons. Likewise, when he was bad in the spring, he went onto have bad/sub-par years. So perhaps a little optimism about him in ’07 isn’t terribly unfounded…

    mouse - SF March 31, 2007, 10:41 pm
  • I wonder how much of a correlation there is in general.

    Nick-YF April 1, 2007, 12:01 am
  • Good question.

    mouse - SF April 1, 2007, 12:13 am
  • Thanks for that completely unjustified, unsubstantiated non sequitur of an accusation, Andrews. Way to help me not to ever take your arguments seriously.
    Next time, why not just say what you disagree with instead of throwing out the tired old “Kool-Aid” line YFs have grown so reliant on?

    Paul SF April 1, 2007, 12:40 am
  • For the record, the Herald released its picks today:
    Steve Buckley is the only writer to pick a Sox WS win. Gerry Callahan is the only other writer to pick a Sox WS appearance. Obviously, they both pick an AL East win as well.
    John Tomase, Michael Silverman and Jeff Horrigan all pick the Sox to win the division but nothing else.
    Karen Guregian picks the Yanks to finish first and the WC to be between the Sox and Indians. Tony Massarotti picks the Yanks with the Sox as the WC and losing in the ALCS — to the Angels.
    The Tigers and Mets each get two picks for WS champ, while the Angels, Sox and Twins receive one vote each.

    Paul SF April 1, 2007, 2:48 am
  • Paul, it’s funny, isn’t it? Unless we assume that every last thing will go wrong just like in 2006, we’re nothing but stupid homers.
    I’m sure every last position player (and the best bench guy) will get hurt, Coco & Tek will hit the same way as they did when they were injured, 4 starters will go down, Jason Johnson, Lenny DiNardo, David Pauley, and Kevin Jarvis will be logging tons of starts, Matsuzaka will be the next Irabu, Papelbon won’t last a month, and Beckett will give up 36 dingers again even if he’s throwing an improved changeup and his (nasty) curveball more often.
    The only two players on the Sox who have a chance of regressing are Papi (unlikely) and Papelbon (likely, since he won’t have a sub-1 ERA again, but chances are he’ll still be pretty good.)

    Steve April 1, 2007, 2:55 am
  • “…tired old “Kool-Aid” line…”
    i know you’ll say i must be easily entertained paul, or that being a yankee fan i’ve developed a good sense of humor, but that kool-aid joke cracks me up every time…
    steve, some of the over-the-top stuff makes you guys “sound” like homers…this yf doesn’t think so…i think you should get a pass for being excited about your [improved] team’s chances, same as you might give me a pass for being excited about pettite, cano, melky, jeter, and the anticipation of hughes arrival…oh wait, no, that’s right, you guys clobbered yf’s for that exact excitement that you want a pass on…hmmm…in the interest of fair play, i’ll let it go…the sox had a tough year last year, one that would make anyone cynical, so the improvements, the likelihood that they won’t have the same rash of injuries, pap returning to the bullpen, the anticipation of what dice-k will do, are all reasons for RSN to be feeling good…enjoy…i won’t s— on it…

    dc April 1, 2007, 8:43 am
  • See, dc, that’s the exact thing I pointed out. Look at the 2006 Sox, and there’s only two players (Papi and Paps) would could possibly be worse than they were last year. That’s it. Everything else went wrong, all injuries and guys playing hurt.
    Even though the Yankees lost Matsui and Sheff, they got a great replacement in Abreu, and got career years from Jeter and Cano, as well as solid performances from everybody else. The “everyone else” part is what the Sox didn’t have, fluke injuries decimated the entire squad. It’s logical to assume that Ortiz won’t hit 54 dingers again and Paps won’t have a sub-1 ERA again, and in the same note, it’s logical to assume that Jeter and Cano aren’t hitting .340 again. As well, it’s an extremely safe bet to say that Beckett will improve (big down year,) and Wang won’t win 19 again (big up year.) This isn’t “homeristic” thinking, it’s going on basic logic on the law of averages.

    Steve April 1, 2007, 2:18 pm
  • I agree Steve, but at the same time theres just as much chance Ortiz and Papelbon meet or exceed last season. And Cano, Jeter and Wang could all easily repeat there performances.
    My view for the past few days on here has been that both teams have promising offenses and neither has a clear cut edge over the other.
    Boston could easily lead the league in runs, hr, avg, ob and slugging but so could New York.
    What got me all worked up the other night was some Yankee fans on here going on about how New York has this unstoppable offense while Boston’s is middle-of-the-pack at best.
    If both teams avoid major injuries all season they should be battling for 1-2 finishes in everything that counts from runs to homeruns to the American League East.

    TJ Sox Fan April 1, 2007, 2:29 pm
  • Steve, the Yanks basically spent two months last year with Bernie Williams and Aaron Guiel patrolling right field. You don’t think that a full season of Abreu represents an upgrade over a two months of him and two months of those guys? And I love Melky, but Hideki is a better player. He is also an upgrade.

    Nick-YF April 1, 2007, 2:30 pm
  • Williams didn’t play badly, and I remember Guiel having a few hero-like moments before his release.
    Melky is not a bad replacement either, and unlike our bench guy (Wily Mo,) he didn’t go down. Abreu is by far a better replacement player than the one the Sox acquired in Hinske, and even then, Boston got him too late to really matter.
    Matsui would’ve helped the team, but his injury did not decimate the Yanks. Coco’s injury meant a ton of playing time for Willie freaking Harris (you can’t deny he’s below replacement-level) right from the get go, then Wells got beaned on his bad knee, then Trot went down, then Clement, then Wily Mo, then ‘Tek, then Wake, then Schill, Gonzo, Papi, Papelbon, Manny…all the time while Lowell and Youks are playing hurt themselves because there was nobody else to spell them…need I go on? I think the only guys who went through the season without a hiccup were Tavarez and Seanez, spare me a second while I contain my excitement.
    The Sox were playing a Triple A roster for majority of the second half. The Yanks, even when Guiel was out there, weren’t.

    Steve April 1, 2007, 3:15 pm
  • In the Manny and Ortiz bit, you forgot that Schilling did as well as could be expected, better even, after his disastrous 2005 season. Can’t forget that, and if Schilling goes down this year (a 40 year-old pitcher in decline breaking down, certainly not unheard-of) with really only Kyle Snyder to replace him, the Sox’s rotation looks a hell of a lot worse.

    Andrew April 1, 2007, 5:18 pm
  • …you forgot that Mussina did as well as could be expected, better even, after his average/injury-riddled 2004-2005. Can’t forget that, and if Mussina goes down this year (a 38 year-old pitcher in decline breaking down, certainly not unheard-of) with really only Philip Hughes to replace him, the Yanks’ rotation looks a hell of a lot worse.
    Goes both ways…now I’m not saying Hughes = Kyle Snyder. But if he has to replace Mussina, he can’t replace Igawa or Pavano, which could be very bad indeed. And sorry, but I’d put Karstens/Rasner on about the same level as Snyder and Tavarez, and below Lester (if he manages to get healthy / develop better control).

    desturbd1 April 1, 2007, 5:31 pm
  • We have Jon Lester and Devern Hansack who can step into the rotation, another year of experience under his belt for Kyle Snyder will go a long way in his ability to pitch effectively for Boston.
    Were in better position to handle injuries in the rotation this year then last.

    TJ Sox Fan April 1, 2007, 5:42 pm
  • You seriously think a 4 ERA is “as well as could be expected” of Schilling? That’s weak. Sure, he was better than 2005 (when he rushed himself back,) but it’s not his max ceiling. He’s still throwing the same, stuff-wise, as he was a couple years ago.
    And for every injury concern you bring up, there’s more on the Yankees. Pettitte is a bigger injury risk than anyone. Ditto Glass Carl. Wang’s already hurt, and he was supposed to be the durable ace. Mussina’s just as old as Schill and you can’t say he’s more reliable. And are Karstens and Rasner, NY’s “depth”, better than Gabbard, Lester, and Snyder? Not a chance even when both are healthy, and Karstens isn’t.
    Hughes may be a great prospect, but he’s only 20 and hasn’t shown he’s ready for the majors yet. It may take another full year. Even the best young pitchers on paper don’t often adjust until they’re at least 23-24, sometimes older.

    Steve April 1, 2007, 5:46 pm
  • will you guys stop?…now you all sound like homers…mussina, jeter, and cano didn’t necessarily over-achieve last year d-1, no more than shilling, ortiz, or pap [odds are though that they’ll all come back to earth a bit]…steve, williams and guiel were not = abreau, period…both teams had injuries, both teams had under/over-achievers, and the yankees adjusted better [that’s the way it goes]…oh well, this year might be different…a lot of it’s due to pure luck…this could be the sox year again…or not

    dc April 1, 2007, 11:40 pm
  • I’ll stop once I stop hearing crap that makes no sense.
    Bernie/Guiel were not Abreu, I NEVER SAID THEY WERE. I said they weren’t that bad, platooning those two isn’t even comparable to the crapfest that was Willie Harris who was starting games from the second week of April on.
    I also didn’t know that one team suffering a whole hell of a lot more injuries than another is “not adjusting as well.” That’s a complete and utter joke. If the Sox had landed Abreu, they still would’ve been playing with a Triple A roster, minus right field. I’m sure that would’ve turned the team into a 105-win juggernaut though, right? The entire roster being on the DL doesn’t matter, it’s the fact they didn’t “adjust”. OK then, I’ll jot that one down in the notebook.
    And Paps, Jeter, Cano didn’t necessarily overachieve? You can’t be serious. The fact that you say “they’ll all come down to earth a bit” is PROOF that they overachieved!

    Steve April 1, 2007, 11:52 pm
  • …if a .340+ and .360+ BA isn’t with enormous BABIP isn’t overachieving-at least statistically, they’re both great players-then I don’t know what is. I wasn’t trying to slight them any, you just don’t typically see a guy hit for that kind of average two years in a row. As for Mussina, I’m just sick of the “Schilling’s old and could get hurt and then your rotation would suck” argument, which is the only reason I brought him up to begin with; it goes both ways, and I can rationally draw the same conclusion about Moose’s 2006 that a YF might make about Schilling’s. If nothing else, it illustrates the same old mantra: Whichever rotation stays healthiest, etc. etc.
    Papelbon won’t repeat a sub-1 ERA, that’s for shit-sure (it did take one hell of a catch by Adam Stern to keep it that low, after all) but I actually expect Schilling to be better this year then he was in 2006. Mussina, either the same or slightly worse then last season; after two years with ERA’s around 4.5, you have to admit that the sudden return to 3.6 was a bit of a surprise.

    desturbd1 April 1, 2007, 11:56 pm
  • d-1, i agree with you to some extent, and my comments on this subject have been consistent…i’ve said that the law of probabilities will kick in for some guys and those who over/under-achieved on their career numbers are likely to return to the norm…i just don’t understand the insistence that it can’t/won’t happen again…jeter is a career 317 hitter, so why is it so hard to imagine him hitting 340 [again]…i’ll concede that’s it’s unlikely, but not impossible…we don’t know what to expect from cano since he doesn’t have a lengthy track record, but the buzz from the so-called experts suggests that he’s got a lot of hits in him…it’s a bit much to expect a sub-0 era from papelbon, but i wouldn’t be surprised to see him be just as dominant despite the era…
    “…As for Mussina, I’m just sick of the “Schilling’s old and could get hurt and then your rotation would suck” argument…”
    can’t say as i blame you d-1…you haven’t heard that quote from me…i have conceded elsewhere on this site that the sox have the better rotation…of course injuries can change that [the yanks could get worse]
    here’s the quote that tires me out d-1:
    “…The entire roster being on the DL…”
    i don’t remember a time when the entire roster was on the DL steve…the biggest part of the parade [of stars] to the DL came after the yankee shellacking late in the season once the sox were for all practical purposes out of it [see manny, ortiz, papel]…don’t complain about the ineffectivenes of the young pitching, theo consciously made the decision to go in that direction…his lack of action at the trade deadline when the sox still had a chance was bizzare at best…instead he choose not to “make the adjustments” and just let the season tank…you actually made my point for me…the yanks made the adjustments with adequate replacements…the sox did not…
    and steve, i’m glad i could help contribute to your notebook…feel free to [correctly] quote me any time…

    dc April 2, 2007, 9:40 am
  • dc:
    I am not going to hyperbolize, nor am I interested in making excuses for last year’s poor results, but the Sox suffered some pretty severe injuries. Clement for most of the year, Wakefield for a good portion, and then Lester after his callup (these three pitchers would have contributed about 50% of the year’s total starts, by the way), Crisp, Varitek, Manny, Papi (heart problems, remember?), Wily Mo, Trot, eventually Papelbon (though as you say after the season was long-gone). It’s ludicrous to expect even the best teams to gut through that kind of trouble.
    I don’t want this to become a “but the Yankees did gut through it!” back and forth, since that is irrelevant to whether or not the Red Sox suffered some pretty horrible injuries last year.
    For me, it’s about cutting a team some slack. If one isn’t able to look at what happened to the Sox last year and say “hey, injuries happen, and they can really wreck seasons” and move on, then one’s priorities are pretty screwy. It’s a “win at all costs” attitude that isn’t realistic. Last year the Sox, with a mostly healthy rotation and lineup for even 90% of the season, would have been a lot closer to the top, but them’s the breaks – eventually when a team isn’t deep enough it catches up with them. The Sox weren’t deep enough to withstand the disruption the injuries caused, and that happens. I have said it before: you can’t contingency plan for worst-case scenarios. You make it sound like a couple of clever roster moves by Theo would have solved the problem and the Sox would have been right on the Yanks’ heels, but that’s incredibly presumptuous and also naive – it doesn’t accommodate longer-term planning for the team or even a realistic assessment of where the Sox were in late August, which was in the realm of “incredibly flawed”. It seems to me that Theo understood the Sox’ chances quite well, and wasn’t interested in a Pyrrhic victory, which is what would have happened in the best of scenarios.

    SF April 2, 2007, 9:58 am
  • It seems to me, Steve, your changing the parameters of the argument. 2006 is done. The Yanks were better. We can agree on that. Whether it was because of extremely bad luck on the part of the Sox and really good luck on the part of the Yanks, well that’s the argument people seem to want to have. The point is going forward, right? The Sox have obviously improved themselves through signings and getting healthier, but so have the Yanks. Which you seem not to want to acknowledge or want to dismiss. This is because the Yanks, if all goes as plans, will have a full season of both Matsui and Abreu in the outfield, instead of Bernie-Guiel and Melky. The Guiel-Bernie combination, despite your claims, was below league average in the corner outfield position, which actually means they contributed more to losing than winning. But even if they were solid contributors such as Melky was, they still represent downgrades from Hideki and Abreu, who are two of the better players at their position. It follows that their offense will be even better this year even with the expected regressions of Cano and Jeter (I notice you don’t mention A-Rod’s subpar A-Rod year. Might he progress to his average?). And on the pitching side of things if all goes okay, we won’t have to watch Sidney Ponson and Al Leiter starting 2nd half games. There’s now better depth in the rotation. My point, my only point (regardless of the Sox, a team that apparently didn’t sacrifice enough sheep at the shrine of Pallas Athena last year ) is that the Yanks have actually improved, making the Sox’s attempt to catch up to them even harder. It seems to me, Steve, that you think the Yanks will regress and move a little backwards and the Sox will race forward. I could be misinterpreting what you’re saying. I can see the Sox racing forward and even catching the Yanks but that would not because the Yanks fell backward. It would because the Sox made huge improvements all around.

    Nick-YF April 2, 2007, 10:05 am
  • “Clement for most of the year,”
    SF, now that is high comedy coming from you. Otherwise, yeah, I see your point of view. The Sox had it rough last year. If they had been at 90%, I think they would have been one of the better teams last season. One thing I believe but will never be able to prove is that they wouldn’t have been as good as the Yanks anyway.
    Clement. Ha!

    Nick-YF April 2, 2007, 10:14 am
  • It is certainly true that the Sox (based on the end-of-the-year standings) have many games to make up on the Yankees, but I find that measurement to be simplistic. It’s kind of like the end of a basketball game that has been somewhat tight for three quarters, maybe even into the 3rd or 4th minute of the fourth quarter, and then the better team begins to pull away, and in the last couple of minutes an 8 or 9 point win turns into a 16 point victory.
    In other words, I think the Sox were clearly the lesser team last year. But I am not sure the final standings are an accurate indication of how many games they have to “make up” to equal the Yankees.

    SF April 2, 2007, 10:16 am
  • Hey, for all of my ire towards Clement, I would have much rather seen 200 innings out of him as the Sox’ fifth starter (which is what he would have been if Lester and Wake were healthy) than what the Sox put out there in reality.

    SF April 2, 2007, 10:17 am
  • i think i’ve had too much caffeine this morning sf…i think we have a similar discussion going on 2 different threads…my fault…
    as for cutting the sox some slack…you got it…i won’t necessarily back off theo’s lack of perspective when it comes to value, but i will concede the sox had more than their share of bad luck last year [forgetting for a moment that moving papelbon to the bullpen was the result of an injury to foulke, or is that mere genius?] …bad luck wasn’t the whole issue, but i’ll let it go…here’s some slack…

    dc April 2, 2007, 10:22 am
  • well, SF, you’re not going to want to hear this but I’ll throw it out. Accroding to Pythagorean records, the Sox were actually further back from the Yanks than their record indicated.Ergo, the gap was even greater than we realize.
    I’m sure you’ll like that argument.

    Nick-YF April 2, 2007, 10:24 am
  • I understand that Nick.
    The funny thing is that we are always talking about Pythagorean records and how teams either did better than them or worse than them, but never how they accomplished exactly what their pythagorean numbers projected!

    SF April 2, 2007, 10:39 am
  • But would not the Pythag record be equally skewed by those wretched final two months? I think so. Having Jason Johnson and Kevin Jarvis rounding out your rotation for 10 starts is going to affect your runs allowed. Starting a lineup with no Ortiz or Ramirez for even just a week (which they did do), Javy Lopez as catcher, Mark Loretta at first base, Kevin Youkilis in left field and Alex Gonzalez and Alex Cora as your middle infielders is going to bring way down your runs scored. Pythag is completely uninformative in this scenario.
    Looking at 2006 is only instructive insofar as getting a grip on how much ground one team or the other has to make up. YFs (not dc) seem to be dismissing the injuries and terrible luck to argue the Sox have too much ground to make up in one year when in fact that’s not the case. Steve is right that there are several players on the team who can’t do any worse (Varitek, Beckett, Crisp) and are likely to do better. He does forget that Lowell, Manny and Schilling, to varying degress of probability, all could decline significantly.

    Paul SF April 2, 2007, 10:51 am
  • Paul, even when the Sox were leading the division before the All-Star break last year, they had a worse Pythagorean record. This is why Jay Jaffe’s adjusted standings had the Yanks in first the whole year. It is his claim that the Pythagorean record is a bteer indicator of future results. The Yanks caught up to their record, and the Sox regressed, and certainly the injuries didn’t help.
    I am not dismissing the idea that the Sox can catch up this year. However, I am a believer in the idea that there is a lot of ground to catch up and that is factoring in what happened to both teams in 2006. I mean seriosuly. The drop from Matsui to Melky is substantial. The drop from a full-season of Abreu to a combo of him and two months of Guiel and Bernie and Bubba is significant (I won’t even include Terrence Long). I don’t think Sox fans here are acknowledging that.

    Nick-YF April 2, 2007, 10:58 am
  • bteer=better
    I think it should be clear by now that I can’t type.

    Nick-YF April 2, 2007, 10:59 am
  • The drop from Matsui to Melky is substantial. The drop from a full-season of Abreu to a combo of him and two months of Guiel and Bernie and Bubba is significant (I won’t even include Terrence Long). I don’t think Sox fans here are acknowledging that.
    Nick: I picked the Yankees to win the division. Is that not tacit acknowledgment that the Sox have a lot of ground to make up? What do you want from (some of) us?!

    SF April 2, 2007, 11:00 am
  • SF, my comments are not directed your way. I should probably have written “I don’t think certain Sox fans…” My bad.

    Nick-YF April 2, 2007, 11:07 am
  • By the way, I need to put set thsi straight. Teams do perform exactly at the level of their Pythagorean record.

    Nick-YF April 2, 2007, 11:17 am
  • I don’t think there’s any doubt the Sox were playing over their heads during the first half, particularly by beating up the NL. I don’t see how Pythag is particularly instructive for predicting the 2007 season except as a tool when looking at what various projection systems see a team doing with its runs scored and allowed.
    As to whether there’s a lot of ground to make up, it’s not just Sox fans or even talking heads saying the Sox at the very least have made up however much ground there was (if you think the division will be within two games, you also think the Sox have made up that ground). It’s the projection systems that see 100+ swings (10+ wins) in the Sox’ run differential.

    Paul SF April 2, 2007, 11:17 am
  • What do you expect, Nick? You take an intractable stance with regards to Josh Beckett’s inabilities and then you get all haughty when some Sox fans don’t see eye-to-eye with you on the quality of the Yankees?

    SF April 2, 2007, 11:17 am
  • Certain projection systems, Paul.
    We’re only two hours away from this argument ending. Thank god!
    But yes, Paul, I think the SOx did a very good job this off-season in making up that ground. I’m on record basically saying that the Matsuzaka signing is great and the most important one of the off-season. I predicted him as the Cy Young. I think the JD Drew signing is good. At the same time, I think the Yanks were a significantly better team last season even without the injuries on either side. I will not be able to prove that statement, however.

    Nick-YF April 2, 2007, 11:21 am
  • I’m stuck in that intractable stance with regards to Beckett, aren’t I? It will define me I guess. The crappy thing is that I now know he’s going to be a Cy Young candidate.

    Nick-YF April 2, 2007, 11:23 am
  • the yanks and sox will have a closer battle than last year by virtue of the fact that the sox made the most improvements to their team…so as not to po my yf friends, the yanks also made improvements, but the sox get the edge in that department…while both teams had significant injuries [geez i forgot about javy lopez…no wonder sf’s were so depressed], i think the sox had the worst of it, especially late, killing any chance of catching up…i still think the yanks did a better job of plugging their vacancies caused by injuries, and that in the end was the big difference maker…
    since it’s so infrequent that i say something real profound, let me repeat this gem:…forget the opening day rosters…the team that can best adjust to adversity, especially injury, lack of performance [i.e. jeter hitting 150], and distractions [see arod], will win…

    dc April 2, 2007, 11:39 am

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