Monday, June 25, 2007

Demoralization

This time one year ago the Red Sox and Yankees were fighting it out for first place in the AL East. After a rough start, the Bronx Bombers fought their way back with the best line-up that George Steinbrenner's money could buy.

New York surged, and at the right time, peaked to take the AL East (although they peaked to early to win it all).

This year, for a brief period after Roger Clemens made this season's major league debut in pinstripes, the Yankees surged closing to within seven-and-a-half games of the Sox. They played their best baseball of the season, and even began to worry members of Red Sox Nation.

And then something happened, something inevitable.

The Yankees stalled.

A popular choice to win the AL East crown during Spring Training, New York has dropped five of their last six games to the surging Colorado Rockies (38-37) and the previously slumping Giants (32-42), to drop back to half a game under .500 (36-37), into third in the AL East, and 11.5 games behind the Red Sox. It is a season that has gone horribly wrong for the Yankees, and it's not likely to get any better.

The Yankees have a line-up that can tear the cover off the ball,

They have a pitching staff that can make opponents look every bit as good as that.

Red Sox fans know, from decades of experience, that this is not a winning formula. In 1997 the Sox scored 851 runs, 5.25 per game, and finished the season 78-84, 20 games behind the first place Orioles and barely two games ahead of cellar-dwelling Toronto.

The Yankees made their run, and now the team, once again, looks like it is done. What will this do for the morale of that line-up?

Their pitching is what it is, and looks it - old and ineffective. They are the Dirty Dozen, the twelve starters that have combined for 25 of the team's 36 wins, and 26 of the team's 37 losses. Of the 646.2 innings thrown by Yankee pitchers, 236.1 have been by the bullpen (not including the relief stints by starters Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Kei Igawa, and Matt DeSalvo). The only Yankee starters with more than one decision and winning records - Chien-Ming Wang (7-4), Tylar Clippard (3-1), and the man Clemens (1-2) replaced in the rotation, Kei Igawa (2-1).

The Red Sox, on the other hand, have winning records from four of five of their starters, and 39 wins combined from the rotation. Josh Beckett (11-1), Daisuke Matsuzaka (9-5), and Tim Wakefield (7-8), account for more wins (26), than all twelve of the Yankees starters combined.

Maybe Clemens gets better as the season wears on, but I wouldn't count on it. An ERA of around 5.00 is about what I expected of a 44-year old pitcher that had an overall ERA of about 4.00 during his last stint with the Yankees.

The Yankees don't get any younger in that rotation until the return of Phil Hughes in August, the same pitcher that GM Brian Cashman didn't want to bring to the majors in the first place. If the Yankees aren't even in contention for a wild card berth come August, Yankees fans shouldn't expect to see Hughes until next year. In the meantime, they should forget about their memories of 1978, because history isn't about to repeat itself.

4 comments:

Dave said...

Ha ha ha ha...just what I needed to start the day with a smile on my face.

I watched them blow that 13-inning game. They looked completely demoralized. It was great.

soxfaninny said...

well said

sugarshane024 said...

It's amazing how Red Sox Nation has been so up and down this season already. We were way up following our 14.5 game lead. We were way down when we were still up 7.5 (as evident by the Angst Advisory reaching "High"). And now we are back up with our 11.5 game lead. I'm exhausted trying to keep up.

Anyways, the point is, is that I agree w/ you. I think that finally the Sox are in the clear and the Yankees are done. I won't officially relax and think postseason until the lead hits 15 games.

Kevin Smith said...

It's not just that they lost. They lost to the bottom of the barrel when they had a chance to get some confidence back. Instead, Mussina appears to be on a pace to lose more than ten games, and win less than that, and the Yankees blew (I can't even call it decent) an adequate start by Wang.