Monday, April 27, 2009

Don't be shocked by a Yankees hangover tonight

It’s not just the law of averages that suggests the Red Sox—winners of 10 in a row—have a pretty good chance to lose to the Indians tonight. In 2007, I wrote a piece about how the Sox were prone to struggling immediately after taxing series against the Yankees. That season, the Sox were 0-3 after hosting the Yankees on a Sunday night and 1-5 overall in their first game following a Yankees series.

This weekend’s series was reminiscent of those draining ’07 sets against the Yankees—particularly the final series of the season between the teams in mid-September. Jonathan Papelbon was saddled with the blown save in the opener, the Sox unloaded on the Yankees’ bullpen to win the middle game 10-1 and Derek Jeter hit a two-run, go-ahead homer off Curt Schilling—who was pitching in the eighth inning for the last time in his career—in the finale.

The time of games that weekend went 4:43, 3:37, 3:10—or 13 hours and 10 minutes of baseball goodness. This weekend’s games went 4:21, 4:21, 3:09, or 11 hours and 51 minutes of fun.

That said: Last season, the Sox were not nearly as vulnerable after facing the Yankees. They went 4-1 in the first game following a Yankees series (the regular season ended with a series against the Yankees…at Fenway Park, not Yankee Stadium, which closed its doors for the last time a week earlier when the Yankees hosted the Orioles. Because THAT made sense)

Of course, the Yankees were on the fringe of the wild card and AL East race most of the season, and the Sox-Yankees games were downright swift by their standards. Five games took less than three hours, only four took longer than 3:30 and only one reached the four-hour mark. Having exceeded that mark twice in the last three days, don’t be surprised if the Sox are feeling the effects tonight.

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