Being a Yankee fan, or even for those Red Sox fans on this MLBlogosphere, these next four days should present nothing else but Red Sox-Yankees analysis on any Yankee fan’s or Red Sox fan’s blog. That’s so simple. The best rivalry in baseball is nothing short of what it is put up to be. It is the single best part of the MLB. It is my favorite part of the year when the Yankees and Red Sox face off and everyone else’s involved in this rivalry. And basically, it is the only thing that should be talked about by any Red Sox or Yankee fan during the 18 games they play each other every year. It is just STELLAR.
So, everyone knows that the Yankees have been unsuccessful against the Red Sox thus far this season. They have been unable to win at home or on the road; extremely disappointing to Yankee fans. Now, with first place in our posession (meaning the Yankees), the Bronx Bombers have a certain upside to things now, now that they have succeeded past the Sox without actually beating them. But these next few games they play against the Red Sox will be played with a bigger sense of importance. The Yankees can really pull away from the Red Sox, and push their already solid 2.5 game lead to maybe a 5 game lead or a 6 game lead at best. A sweep would be phenominal seeing that we haven’t beaten them once this season. Four straight wins would be STELLAR.
The Yankees and Red Sox play a total of ten games to finish off the season series. Three of those are in Boston and the rest of them are in New York. This is a huge advantage for the Yankees and they need to take advantage of it. I can’t think of any better way to say it than that. If you can’t win at home, you don’t have as good a chance to win on the road.
Victor Martinez… just aquired in a blockbuster deal from the Cleveland Indians. A catcher/first baseman that has helped the Red Sox immensely in their current infield situation. They have Mike Lowell who hasn’t been to the top of his health. Since this has been the case, he has not started at third in the recent past and has forced Kevin Youkilis to shift over to third, the position he came to the Red Sox to play. Victor Martinez has fit into the first base position and has let Jason Varitek remain behind the plate. Late in the games, Mike Lowell has appeared to pinch hit giving the Red Sox much needed depth. Martinez will get his first dose of the Yankees-Red Sox action and will be a huge part in it. Martinez is the offensive bat that has fit into an already loaded lineup for the Red Sox that has its fair share of power and just general good hitting. It will be interesting to watch how he performs.
Now, going sort of off topic. How about that Kung Fu Panda?
No not that one… this one.
Pablo Sandoval has been a huge part of bringing the San Francisco Giants back into the playoff race. They are currently first in the wild card race in the NL, only a half game ahead of their closest competitors in the NL West, the Colorado Rockies. The Giants aren’t going to get to the top of the division, with the Dodgers easily pulling away from day one, but with Sandoval leading the way offensively, the Giants could be the underdog that gets into the playoffs. They have the pitching; Lincecum and Cain. They have the defense; Rowand and Molina among them. They have the offense; Sandoval and Sanchez. What else is their that they need. Obviously they don’t have an overly great team, but they have what it takes to perform to a high standard and they could surely make it to the playoffs. Now, how far will they go in the playoffs? I’m not so sure. They do have to face off against the best of the best in the NL; the Dodgers, the Phils, most likely, and possibly the Cards, the Cubbies, or even the Brew Crew. All tough teams, but they should have enough to get into the playoffs in the first place. Sandoval leads the way offensively and all I can say to the Giants is this:
THE KUNG FU PANDA WILL LEAD YOU TO WHERE YOU NEED TO BE.
Hmmmmm… what to do on an off day? That’s the question for me today. There aren’t many over the course of the year, but there are a few here and there. And today’s one of them. So what should I do? The Yanks aren’t playing. In fact, there are only two games scheduled for today. The Angels and Giants face off in Frisco, and the Tribe and Brew Crew face off in “bugville.” That’s Cleveland for any of you unfamiliar with the Yankees’ and Joba Chamberlain’s situation in Cleveland last year. So that’s it. No more baseball other than that until tomorrow. So the question still remains, what should I do? I know.
I’m going to analyze how bad the Nationals are. Why not. It shouldn’t be that hard. So I’m going to start with this. Their pitching.
It’s horrific. Their best starting pitcher is probably Shairon Martis, who at 5-1 has a 5.06 ERA. It’s terrible. And that’s just the start of things. He has the most wins on the team. Ron Villone has a .96 ERA and has appeared in 22 games. That is the best reliever they’ve got. He has at least been somewhat good. The next lowest ERA on the team for someone that has pitched in at least 10 games is 3.51 from John Lannan who is their number one starter. The guy with the highest ERA is Logan Kensing who has an ERA at 13.40. Everything is going wrong for the Nats on the pitching side. They have very little upside and way too much downside.
The offense has some upside to it. A ton more than the pitching does. To start, you’ve got Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn. Two top offensive guys in the league. But after them, you’ve got some other guys who are either young with some potentioal or other guys who just haven’t hit it huge in the bigs. Some of those players are Elijah Dukes, a potentially very good player. He hasn’t hit it big yet but I think he will sometime soon. Also, Nick Johnson, Christian Guzman, and Austin Kearns are some guys that are good players, but they aren’t good enough to take the Nats to bigger places. Obviously this is true or else it would have happened the last couple years.
The defense is alright. They don’t have any gold glove contenders. They don’t have anyone that makes great defensive highlights day in and day out. They just don’t have any spark on defense and that is why they aren’t noticed defensively. They don’t have guys that dive out for catches in the outfield and they don’t have guys that make “Top 10” worthy double plays. They aren’t terrible, but they aren’t great either.
So overall, the Nats suck. The Yanks should have their way with them and should come out with a swwep. Now, I’m not the kind of guy to underestimate a team. The Nats are a really bad team. But they still can’t be underestimated. Their offense does have some spark so if our pitching is not top notch, they could build a lead up. So I am expecting at least two out of three games won for the Yanks but the sweep would be perfect as well. We need this sweep to keep going and keep pace with the Red Sox who are in first.
CC is going tomorrow against Shairon Martis. It should be a pretty good matchup as our ace goes agaisnt their ace (as far as I see it). So hopefully we can take advantage of the not so good pitching. Offense- you need to score runs.
Let’s go Yanks.
Sorry Josh. You had the stuff man, but my boy Curtis Granderson didn’t feel like going hitless for the night.
Josh Beckett was smoking hot last night. He had it all going on. He had a fastball that was clocking in at… well, I don’t know how fast it was but it was dominant. His curveball was filthy and his offense was giving him run support. All looked to be going well for him. So after about five innings, I start to notice that Mr. Beckett has a no-no going so far. He hasn’t given up a single hit to any of the Tiger batters. It’s about time Beckett has had an extremely dominant start.
Now, I’m not saying he hasn’t been good for the Sox this season, because he has, but his stuff that he used to have- his almost unhittable fastball, a nasty breaking ball, and just overall smarts for the game- hasn’t necessarily been there all year. He’s had some very good starts so far this season and has been a big part of the Red Sox success. But last night, he was pitching probably the best I’ve seen him pitch all season.
So back to last night’s game. He was STELLAR through six innings of work giving up only two walks. He struck out a handful of guys and were just making guys look foolish at the plate. Staring at curveballs that just plopped right into the strikezone. He was just nasty.
So along rolls the game and we get into the seventh inning. Beckett continues to pitch well and, my boy, Curtis Granderson steps up to the plate. Here is the current status of the inning.
Runner on first.
Josh Beckett threw a fastball with some tailing action that comes back in on Granderson and Granderson lined it into right field. The first hit of the game. Now, Granderson’s last at-bat ended in a strikeout as Beckett through a nasty pitch that just tailed back onto the plate, similar to the pitch that Granderson hit for the game’s first hit. Maybe that hit was payback for the strikeout???
Beckett still had a great game despite not throwing the no-no. I mean, c’mon. A no-no is extremley hard to throw. So many pitchers have had great games after their possible no-no, or even perfect game, was ruined. Earlier this week, Joba Chamberlain was pitching agaisnt the Indians. He was absolutely STELLAR as well. His fastball was dominant and his curve was also dominant. He had a perfect game going through four but gave up a homer to Victor Martinez. It happens. And last season, the Red Sox’s own Curt Schilling was one out away from a no-no when he gave up a single to Shannon Stewart. It ruined his game but he still had an excellent performance. It happens. It’s hard to throw a no-no or a perfect game. You still had a good outing though, didn’t you? Think about that.
Beckett ended the game having pitched 7.2 innings, striking out nine, and only allowing two hits and two walks. His performance helped the Red Sox defeat the Tigers 10-5. And isn’t that what every player’s job is? To help their team win. I’m pretty sure it is.
Now, my boy Curtis Granderson ended the game with some big stats. He went 2-4 with a base clearing triple. He was great.
The effort from Josh Beckett was fantastic. I always like to see guys in the MLB who work hard, and every day until they retire. They are the true baseball players. Beckett is one of the best in the business. He’s always working hard. And despite that Red Sox uniform he wheres, I still appreciate his hard work and his great play. It is what makes the MLB great. It’s what makes baseball great.