Monday, April 23, 2007

Lucky Sevens...

It's early yet, so I'm not going to make a big deal about the Sweep at Fenway, however, if they take the three at the Stadium next week, The Boss (and I'm not talking Springsteen) isn't going to be happy. However, I do want to address some strange facts about this past weekend's series.

The finals of the games from Friday to Sunday - 7-6, 7-5, 7-6. One more run for the Yankees on Saturday and we're looking at the Number of the Beast. Is anyone really surprised by that?

Now onto the real trivia related to the weekend and the things that can be taken from this series.

The Yankees hitting is keeping some dismal pitching afloat. After this weekend, according to ESPN, Yankees starters are averaging fewer than 5 innings pitched per start and the bullpen has thrown the most innings of any bullpen in the majors. None of the starters is averaging even six innings per game.

The Bombers have largely been kept afloat through the efforts of the usually unreliable in the clutch Alex Rodriguez who has more home runs (12) than the rest of his team combined (11), and has more than twice the RBI's (31) of all but one of his teammates (Bobby Abreu with 16).

Red Sox pitching was mortal in the series, but still seemed to prove the old baseball adage, "great pitching beats great hitting." Also, Sox starters lasted a minimum of six innings in each start, keeping the Boston bullpen fresh. The Yankees had one starter last at least six full innings. In two of the three games Yankees starters relinquished the mound with the lead only to watch the bullpen cough up the lead. The Boston bullpen held in each instance it was asked.

Last night a rookie became just the second pitcher in the history of baseball to give up home runs on four consecutive at-bats. Curious connections - JD Drew is the only batter to be involved in the last time that four consecutive batters hit home runs (it happened a total of five times in the sport's history, but only twice was the same pitcher on the mound for all four dingers). Drew is the only batter involved in the quad-fecta more than once. Terry Francona's father was involved in the last time four were hit off of one pitcher.

What can be taken from this weekend? Not much more than a smug sense of self-satisfaction for Sox fans, with the understanding that the tables could be turned next weekend. But Yankees fans still should view this as a warning about the state of their pitching. As a Sox fan, I have seen my team try to build offensive juggernauts and ignore pitching. I can say that it can be good enough to get you to the post season...occasionally, but it won't get you much farther.

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