These are my playoff predictions for this season, on today, Opening Day.
What about the Red Sox?
What about ’em?
In all seriousness, I’m really not buying the Red Sox’s rotation this year. Aside from Jon Lester, I really don’t feel that the contributions of Boston’s starting 5 will be as good as everybody predicts. Josh Beckett is past his prime year, he’s a fairly large injury risk, and if he pitches 200 innings this year, he’s not going to duplicate his statistics in 07, when he nearly lost the Cy Young award–to current Yanks pitcher CC Sabathia. With Matsuzaka, you’ve got to throw strikes to succeed in the MLB. I don’t care how well you set up your pitches, how big your arsenal is, if you can’t pitch efficient strikes and get your pitch count low, hitters will know what you do against you and your lack of command will end up exploding in your face. Tim Wakefield is Tim Wakefield. He’s just not going to put up great numbers. He’ll be average, and nothing more. As for Brad Penny, I think you understand why I’m iffy on Penny. Not only that, but their lineup is full of either overrated players, injury risk players, or players who had a fluke year in 08. For example: Kevin Youkilis.
The Giants? What?
I’m aware that the Frisco Giants have not been a contending team for a while– 181 losses in their last two years– but I like their pitching. I like it a lot. Lincecum, the NL Cy Young award winner, and Matt Cain, a very talented flamethrowing righty who’s a workhorse, Randy Johnson, the ageless wonder who can still throw good fastballs and sharp sliders where he wants them, and two guys who have really underachieved. Jonathan Sanchez is a guy with phenomenal stuff, and he’s a lefty. Barry Zito stinks, let’s face it. He’s just ridiculous. But I feel he’ll get better. He had a 4.59 ERA in the 2nd half last year. He pitches in a pitcher’s park. I think he’ll do better, but not phenomenally well in 09. They also have an improved offense, with young guys and veteran players combined. Their bullpen is at least average. I like their chances in the weak NL West.
Yes, the Braves. They have a few good hitters, a stellar, solidified rotation, and a bullpen that has the potential to be fantastic. You don’t need power to win: the Braves don’t have sluggers up and down the lineup(although it sure seemed like it on Opening Day, 3 homers, 2 long doubles),
What about the reigning champs?
The Phillies had a very flukey year in 2008. They’re not that good. Their rotation looks very meh: other than Cole Hamels, there are no solid pitchers in that starting five. They were lead to the playoffs by an overachieving closer in Brad Lidge: look at his stats from the previous year, you’ll see he’s a good pitcher, but not fantastic, as his 08 numbers suggest. One could also look at Chad Durbin: Durbin was a key to that 08 Phillies ‘pen, leading the NL in innings pitched and putting up a great ERA. But he has never had that kind of success in the major leagues. He’s not nearly that good. JC Romero is going to miss 50 games with that suspension on substance abuse. The only guy that I really like in that Phils bullpen is Ryan Madson. He’s solid. Everyone else is up or down.
And that’s it.
Stay positive, Yankee fans! Even though we’ll lose in the ALCS…
-EJ the Kid From New York
So Angels ace John Lackey is revealed to have a strain and inflammation in his right forearm. According to Lackey, the team told him to “shut it down for a week” to see if his forearm can heal and let him begin throwing again. What does this mean? It means he won’t be able to take the mound on opening day for the LA Angels of Anaheim. And I might be happy.
Now hold on a second, why would I be happy?
Well, mainly because I don’t like John Lackey. I might actually dislike him. I certainly don’t hate him, but he is definitely one of my least favorite players. Why don’t I like him? Well, he pitches for the Angels, who always kill us Yanks and always fall to the Red Sox. He’s quite ugly; ever since I watched his heavy breathing in that 07 Clemens-Lackey showdown, I have never liked seeing him. I’ll make it clear as day: Lackey is hooomely.
But would that justify me being happy about him being injured? No, of course not. I don’t want people to get hurt, That’s just low. However, the truth is, I am just a liiiiittle bit happy. I mean, just a little. I know, I know, I’m the bad guy, as Cenk Uygur would say, I am totally wrong and I denounce and reject myself. But there’s a little part of me inside that’s like, “Oooo, Lackey’s injured, ehhh?” You know what I mean? I am so awful.
The only person who I’ll openly and honestly be pretty joyful if he were injured is Josh Beckett. Speaking of the Red Sox hurler(who is very overrated), he will get the Opening Day start for the Red Sox, which will just make him a little bit more overrated. You know that there are gonna be biased Sox fans out there saying “Well look at that! He’s going to start Opening Day for the Red Sox, and they have Matsuzaka and Lester! Beckett is so awesome, almost as much as Pedroia, who is the best hitter ever and is so awesome and makes me **** in my pants!” etc. etc.
Let’s have a little fun now here and do some comparison.
Lester vs. Beckett
Lester: 144 ERA+, 210 innings, 1.274 WHIP
Beckett: 115 ERA+, 174 innings, 1.187 WHIP
Now I know Beckett was more efficient with the K/BB ratio, but Lester was more effective, period. And I’m aware that it was an injury season for Beckett, but Lester was still and maybe is still the better pitcher.
Matsuzaka was slightly worse than Beckett was last year, actually, even though Dice-K was apparently super effective and came in 4th place for the Cy Young. They’re all very close, though.
And now, let’s have even MORE fun, and compare the Yankees rotation with the Red Sox rotation.
Yankees vs. Red Sox: Who Has The Better Rotation?
Due to popular request, I’m going to compare the New York Yankees’ starting rotation with the one of the Boston Red Sox. Let’s have some fun, I guess.
Sabathia vs. Beckett
I would think this part is blatantly obvious, but let’s compare numbers regardless.
Sabathia – 162
Beckett – 115
Sabathia – 1.115
Beckett – 1.187
Sabathia – 253
Beckett – 174
I mean come on now. It’s not even remotely close, other than the WHIP. Sabathia has been the better pitcher since 06, and it has been by a significant amount. Then you factor in that CC is a lefty and Beckett a right-hander… well, not close. Just not close.
Advantage: CC Sabathia
Wang vs. Lester
This is a very interesting comparison because Wang was the better pitcher every year except 08, and in 08 he was injured and missed the entire 2nd half.
Lester – 144
Wang – 109
Lester – 1.274
Wang – 1.316
Lester – 210
Wang – 95
It may even be more lopsided than Beckett vs. Sabathia. However, since Wang was significantly better in 06 and 07, the first two years of Jon Lester’s career, I think that the outcome iiiis…
Major controversy, no? Give your thoughts on it!
Burnett vs. Matsuzaka
This is another pretty close and tough one.
Ai ai ai…
See, it seems pretty lopsided until you look at the innings pitched. And then, you take into account that Burnett led the league in strikeouts in 2008, and then it’s closer. Matsuzaka still had the advantage in 08, but it’s closer. And then you look at the numbers of the previous year, 07, Dice-K’s first year: Burnett has the slight advantage. However, then there’s the fact that AJ Burnett is a large injury risk. With this in mind, the call for me is:
Especially since Matsuzaka is in his 3rd year in 2009, and this could be big for him. Hey, I might be wrong. I sure hope I am.
Pettitte vs. Wakefield
Another tough, controversial one.
Wakefield – 112
Pettitte – 98
Wakefield – 1.182
Pettitte – 1.412
Pettitte – 204
Wakefield – 181
Wakefield was significantly better, with the most notable statistic being WHIP. Howeeeever, this WAS Pettitte’s worst year, clearly. Since 2008 was the only year in which Wakefield, as a full-time starting pitcher, was more effective than Andy Pettitte…
It’s extremely controversial, I know, but I’d rather have Andy than Tim.
Chamberlain vs. Penny
Now this one isn’t close.
Chamberlain – 171
Penny – 68
Chamberlain – 1.256
Penny – 1.627
Chamberlain – 100
Penny – 94
I mean come on, it’s not even close. Chamberlain >>>> Penny. Even though Penny was an all-star in 2007 and 2006, I really doubt he’s going to go back to that form, especially in the AL East, especially since he’s still struggling with injury a bit.
So in total, the score is 2-1-1 in the Yankees’ favor. There you go, go ahead and debate now if you want.
Stay positive, Yankee fans.
-EJ the Kid From New York
Joba vs. Beckett: The Boskees Rivalry Continues
Yes, the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is alive and well! The two top teams in the AL East(no offense, Tampa Bay) will face off again this season, as the two hated rivals go at it. This is a big, nay, HUGE series considering the condition the AL East is in right now. And what a way to start off the series as well; the young flamethrowers from both teams go at it today. Joba Chamberlain from our proud Yankees goes for us(I predicted he’d dominate today), and Josh Beckett, who I think is overrated, pitches for Boston. Both pitchers have absolute filthy stuff. Joba with his great fastball, solid slider and big curve, and Josh Beckett with his flaming 4-seamer, his great curveball, and his hard sinker. Oh yes, this is potentially one of those games you just want to record and watch over and over again.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to record it with all the things we record on this HUGE flat-screen HD Sharp Aquos TV(which I really do have), but if I can, I will. It’s going to be a fun game. Big hits, great pitches, fantastic defensive plays. Nailbiting at-bats, homers, doubles, strikeouts, homerun catches, and all sorts of out-of-the-ordinary plays. One thing we’ll be looking for, of course, are the brawls. People will get plunked. Brushback pitches are encouraged. Hard slides and dirty plays are encouraged. Fighting is all part of the fun of a big Red Sox-Yankees game. This is going to be exciting.
The AL East is tight. The Wild Card? Tight. Be sure to push and shove and claw and pull your way to a win. What’s this about the integrity of baseball? Screw the integrity of baseball. What about the integrity of an awesome rivalry? It’s all in good fun, anyway.
What about Kevin “Mommy, he poked me!” Youkilis? What about Jason “Set up inside… very inside” Varitek? Let’s hit those guys! Why don’t we show Pedroia who’s boss with a good hard slide? Why don’t we line one up the middle and test Papelbon’s reflexes? That’s what we’re here for! That’s why we watch this game. That’s why this series is so hyped. The hostility, the passion, the excitement, and, who are we kidding– the BRAWLS!
Alright, so in today’s edition of The Squad, we’ll do the 2nd edition of who’s next, I’ll give my Bold Statement of the Day, and that’ll be it. It’s a quick blog post today. So, let’s start with the second edition of everybody’s favorite Minor League section, whoooo’s NEXT!
So it’s time for everybody’s favorite Minor League Section, Who’s Next? In this section, we look at three Yankees prospects who are having big success in the minors that could possibly be up at the end of the season. So here we go! Number 1!
Otherwise known as James Brent Cox or J. Brent Cox, Cox has been a big prospect for the Yanks for a couple of years. A closer in college, Cox is a solid relief pitcher who is up there with the replacement for Mo Rivera when he finally decides to call it a career. Cox replaced Huston Street as the closer for the University of Texas, and Cox is similar to Street. He throws from that same 3/4 angle as Street, and he sports a very good low-90s moving fastball, with sinking action. His best pitch, however, is his hard slider. He doesn’t strike out many, but he’s pitched well enough to be called up. His 3.23 ERA in 39 innings in Tampa, Trenton, but mostly Scranton/Wilkes-Barre(Wassup Tara?), is solid. The 24-year-old has a place in the Yankees bullpen.
With Hideki Matsui possibly out for the season, the Yankees could trade for Jason Bay or Xavier Nady. Or, they can do what they’ve always done and keep going from within. Matt Carson is probably the next guy up after Gardner. He’s hitting .305 with 5 homers and 7 steals in AAA ball right now. He doesn’t really do anything specifically well; he’s a guy who is an-all-around decent player. He’s got pretty good speed, average power, and pretty good average. He could have a role in the majors if Gardner’s struggles continue any longer.
Phil Coke is one of those odd names that nobody really knows, but is having a great year. Coke throws in the low-90s and has great command, but his secondary pitches are so-so at best. He is, however, dominating AA ball. He has a 2.60 ERA in 114.1 innings, with only 38 walks. He isn’t a dominating-type pitcher at all, but his control and his sinker have gotten the starter here, and if he improves his secondary pitches, he’ll be a successful major league lefty. Since the Yankees are apparently looking for a lefty, Coke may be called up in September or around there to serve as a LOOGY, or maybe a spot starter.
Alright, kiddies! It’s time for everybody’s favorite section, the Bold Statement of the Day! If you’re new to the blog, in this section I say something that’s arguable and stands out. So now it’s time for the Bold Statement of the Day!
Here it is:
Derek Jeter will have a very big impact on this series; offensively and defensively.
That would definitely be something. Jeter hasn’t done much this season, but Red Sox fans hate him, and he does come up clutch often, so, let’s hope we see that.
BREAKING NEWS: Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte of the Pirates have been traded. There’s speculation that they have been traded to the Yankees for Ross Ohlendorf(alright…), Phil Coke(okay, okay), George Kontos(alright, fine…) and Jose Tabata(oh snap). If this is true, well, none of those guys really stand out other than Tabata, and Tabata has struggled in his first season, so… okay, I can deal with it. It’s still only a report, it’s not official yet.
Stay positive, Yankees fans!
-EJ/Kid From New York