Tagged: Matsuzaka

EJ’s 2009 Playoff Predictions

09playoffpredictions.PNGThese are my playoff predictions for this season, on today, Opening Day.

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Questions:

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.

The Braves?

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

Lackey’s Stiff Forearm: Is EJ Happy?

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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.

 

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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.

ERA+:

Sabathia – 162

Beckett – 115

WHIP

Sabathia – 1.115

Beckett – 1.187

Innings

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.

ERA+

Lester – 144

Wang – 109

WHIP

Lester – 1.274

Wang – 1.316

Innings

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…

Advantage: tie

Major controversy, no? Give your thoughts on it!

Burnett vs. Matsuzaka

This is another pretty close and tough one.

ERA+

Matsuzaka: 159

Burnett: 105

Ai ai ai…

WHIP

Matsuzaka: 1.324

Burnett: 1.342

Innings pitched

Burnett: 221

Matsuzaka: 167

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:

Advantage: Matsuzaka

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.

ERA+

Wakefield – 112

Pettitte – 98

WHIP

Wakefield – 1.182

Pettitte – 1.412

Innings

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…

Advantage: Pettitte

It’s extremely controversial, I know, but I’d rather have Andy than Tim.

Chamberlain vs. Penny

Now this one isn’t close.

ERA+

Chamberlain – 171

Penny – 68

WHIP

Chamberlain – 1.256

Penny – 1.627

Innings

Chamberlain – 100

Penny – 94

Devastatingly significant.

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.

Advantage: Chamberlain

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