Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Fringe benefits for the Sox, not the Yankees

About the only thing J.J. Abrams isn't doing these days is making a movie or TV show about the Yankees. Thanks to this site for the photo.

The Red Sox are 5-for-5 (Hey! That’s almost Carl Crawford-esque!) against the Yankees this year after last night’s 7-3 win in The House That Nobody Can Afford To Visit. By any measurement, the Sox’ dominance of the Yankees thus far is not a mirage: The Sox have outscored the Yankees 38-23 and have trailed the Yankees for a grand total of one-half inning in the last three games.

Peter Abraham, who authors a must-read blog about the Yankees at The Journal News’ website, wrote early this morning that the Yankees might actually have overachieved in recording a 13-13 mark thus far. He theorizes that nearly half the Yankees’ current 25-man roster—11 players, to be exact—could be defined as borderline big leaguers.

Here’s what should scare the Yankees: You could make a case that a pretty good percentage of the Sox are place-holders, too.

Hunter Jones has been in the bigs for less than three weeks. Javier Lopez only pitches when the Sox are desperate, and his last action was in right field. He was replaced on the mound that night in Tampa by Jonathan Van Every, who has 25 big league at-bats at age 29. Backup catcher George Kottaras is 3-for-21 this season and is a .238 hitter with almost twice as many strikeouts as walks in 808 at-bats at Triple-A. Nick Green entered this season with 121 big league at-bats since 2006 and spent last year with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate. Jeff Bailey has hit .273 with 68 homers and 229 RBI since 2005…at Pawtucket.

That’s six players—basically one-quarter of the roster. If you’re feeling particularly critical this morning, you could throw into the “not quite ready for prime time” discussion the likes of Julio Lugo (in the process of losing his starting job for the second time in 12 months), Jason Varitek (who is hitting .219 with 138 strikeouts in 498 at-bats since the start of last season) and Brad Penny (battled shoulder woes all of last season and has allowed 43 baserunners while recording a 7.61 ERA in 23 1/3 innings this year).

In addition, not all of the Sox’ core players are clicking. David Ortiz is starting to get annoyed at all the questions about his home run drought that extends back to Sept. 22. And the Sox’ bullpen is overworked, just like in New York.

That’s a lot of question marks and a lot of areas that could be shored up, yet the Sox are already 3 ½ games ahead of the Yankees. What happens if they fix some of those flaws?

“They outplayed us,” the always-candid Johnny Damon told reporters last night. “They outpitched us. At this point in the season, they are a better team than us.”

He’ll probably be able to say that in August, too.

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1 comment:

  1. It's confirmed, you're a Sox fan. Only Red Sox fans talk about the Yankees more than Yankees fans. :)