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Series Preview - New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox

Die, fiend, die!
Die, fiend, die!

I say Series Preview, you say Series Tomato. You aren't making any sense.

Series Notes

  • It is not entirely clear to me how the Yankees have cobbled together their pitching staff this season. A dash of money, some names, and a whole lot of magic beans are all no doubt part of the secret formula. It's worked though. The Yankees are third in ERA among American League teams. Yes, C.C. Sabathia has been C.C. Sabath-tastic (your welcome!), but beyond that?  A.J. Burnett's performance this season has made Yankee fans fondly recall the bubonic plague.
  • Too soon?
  • After Burnett, the franchise that trades on big names has traded for none, or none who have been successful post invention of fire. Bartolo Colon was a Cy Young winner once upon a time, but then the meteor hit taking the dinosaurs and Colon's two seemer with it. Then space goblins injected a combination of maple syrup, ground horse testes, and red bull into his shoulder (I assume that was the concoction) and now the meteor never happened.
  • Freddy Garcia could, back in the 90s, throw in the 90s. Now we're in the pre-teens which is about where Garcia's off speed pitches sit. Garcia is the hard throwing version of Jaime Moyer who can, with his best fastball, cause bruising. So, you know, watch out for that. After the reclamation projects, the Yankees have non-prospect turned Rookie of the Year candidate Ivan Nova and his 5.54 K/9. To paraphrase a famous comedian, who are these people and why aren't they pitching for the Pirates?
  • Required information: The Red Sox are 10-2 against the Yankees and have out-scored them 75-46 head to head. The ten wins are the most versus any team this season for Boston and the .833 winning percentage is tied for the second highest versus any team. The only team the Sox have beat up on more (percentage wise) is the Houston Astros (3-0).
  • Joe Girardi has riled up certain portions of the fanbase with his bunting proclivities. The Yankees have attempted to sacrifice bunt 44 times this season. That seems like a lot for a team that currently leads baseball in runs scored. I'm saying the Yankee hitters probably don't need the help. Still, 44 is far fewer than the 67 AL leading attempts by both the Royals and White Sox. For the record, the Red Sox have attempted the sac-bunt 23 times, the least of any team in baseball. Also for the record, I feel that 23 attempts is 23 too many. Matty hate bunty.
  • The two teams have been remarkably similar on offense this season. The Red Sox have hit .279/.349/.458 as a team. The Yankees have hit .269/.348/.455. The difference between the two is .010/.001/.003 which, remarkably, is exactly what Russell Martin hit last year with the Dodgers.
  • Boston leads the Yankees by a game and a half in the standings and by significantly more than that in our hearts.

Individual game notes after the jump!

Next Game

New York Yankees
@ Boston Red Sox

Tuesday, Aug 30, 2011, 7:10 PM EDT
Fenway Park

CC Sabathia vs John Lackey

Clearly cloudy. Winds blowing happiness out to right field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game time temperature 425 degrees for 40 minutes.

Complete Coverage >

- I've spent the last five minutes trying to carve up John Lackey's stats in some way so as to indicate that maybe, somehow, in some way, he can still be a top of the rotation guy. If he can then it's not in his stats. His K rate has improved over the year but only from ridiculously awful to mediocre. His walk rate is nothing special and he's still giving up hits right, left and center. The hits allowed could curtail itself a bit, but at least with my eyes Lackey isn't getting pushed around by the baseball gods. This is not what we in the biz call good.

- Sabathia is having his best season yet with New York, but his year would look even better if he hadn't repeatedly gotten his butt kicked by the Red Sox. The Sox have scored 20 runs in the 25 innings Sabathia has pitched against them this season, for a wonderfully unsightly ERA of 7.20, the worst he's performed against any team this season.

- For his career, Sabathia has a 4.19 ERA against Boston. Not great, but he's done worse against the following teams: the Marlins, Rockies, Cubs, A's, Tigers, and Angels. The moral of the story is I wouldn't put much stock in the 25 innings Sabathia has thrown versus Boston this season.

- As has been relentlessly reported the possibility exists that this could be Sabathia's last season in New York. He has an opt-out clause in his contract which he will absolutely 100% exercise at seasons end. That doesn't mean he will leave the Yankees. It does mean the Yankees are going to have to give him Scrooge McDuck money to stay. So that should be fun. Because what the Yankees desperately need is another old player on a long term huuuuge money deal.


Next Game

New York Yankees
@ Boston Red Sox

Wednesday, Aug 31, 2011, 7:10 PM EDT
Fenway Park

Phil Hughes vs Josh Beckett

Clear as heck. Not windy in between gusts. Game time temperature 75 fun lov'n degrees.

Complete Coverage >

- There was a time when the Yankees refused to trade Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain for Johan Santana. That deal sounds pretty funny from all angles now, huh?

- Is Josh Beckett this good? No, he isn't. Could he kick my ass for saying that? Yes he could. Will he? Not likely as I run fast and pee frequently when frightened.

- Fan Graphs says Josh Beckett's walk rate by leverage is as follows:

Low: 2.1 BB/9
Medium: 2.9 BB/9
High: zilch

Josh Beckett has not, apparently, walked anyone all year in a high leverage situation. That's one way to keep the ol' ERA down around the ankles, huh?

Next Game

New York Yankees
@ Boston Red Sox

Thursday, Sep 1, 2011, 7:10 PM EDT
Fenway Park

A.J. Burnett vs Jon Lester

As clear as my cat licking her anus on my wife's side of the bed. Winds to right field.
Game time temperature of Ain't Telling.

Complete Coverage >


- The Red Sox get the pleasure of facing every Yankee fan's binky, A.J. Burnett. Burnett is the possessor of three things: 1) a hair cut that makes him look like Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 2) a spot in the Yankees rotation, and 3) a 5.31 ERA. The thing is Burnett's xFIP is only 4.02. That really isn't bad at all. Is Burnett just unlucky*? Maybe. He's striking out fewer batters and walking more but not outside the realm of his career numbers. The thing that he's doing is giving up homers. He's given up 1.40 homers per nine innings. My first thought was it must be the homer haven of New Yankee Stadium, but in fact Burnett has given up more homers (1.54 HR/9) on the road than at home (1.30 HR/9). David Ortiz can't wait for this game.

*I once played a doubles tennis match with my brother against a British couple. They were much, much, much better than us and beat us like we were amateurs (we were amateurs). But what made the match unbearable was after every point they won, which was every single point, they would call out "Unlucky!" After every over hand smash: "Unlucky!" After every passing shot: "Unlucky!" After EVERY. SINGLE. POINT. "Unlucky!" I so badly wanted to punch them. The point: every time I hear the word 'unlucky' I think of this. And I want to punch someone.

- Jon Lester looks right smart in fatigues.

- The previous was nothing more than an attempt to use "right smart" in a sentence. Success!

- Burnett is like Jenga. Pull out one block and the whole thing falls apart.