Sunday, March 02, 2008

Yankees vs Red Sox 2008

Over the past few years, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox have been the center of the baseball universe. The Yankees were making the playoffs every year, and the Red Sox were still looking up. 2004 things changed when the Sox made history by coming back from 0-3 in the American League Championship Series to top the Yankees an advance to the World Series and sweeping St Louis for their first title since 1918. Since then the so called curse has been thrown out the window and a true rivalry formed. Last season the Red Sox pulled ahead of the injured Yankees and held onto the lead for the entire season. The Yankees on the other hand had problems getting to the playoffs.
Pitching staff injuries were the main concerns and the Yankees suffered through another losing April and at one time, tied for last in their division. The Yankees after the All-Star break became white hot and shoved their way through the standings and came within 1.5 games of the Red Sox. They did not take the lead, but instead, took home the wild card and proving to their critics that you can not count them out.
In the playoffs, the Yankees made yet another quiet first round exit losing to Cleveland in four, as for Boston, they topped the Colorado Rockies in a four-game sweep to take home their second title in four years.

What will 2008 bring us? Will Boston win the East again? Will New York once again prove they are a playoff team? How will the young players perform?
Here are my thoughts on the matter and predictions for the upcoming season.

Red Sox pitching:
Josh Beckett - ace of the staff, 20 game winner, "robbed" of the Cy Young
Dice-K - Japanese import, solid #2 pitcher
Tim Wakefield - Knuckler, will turn 44 this year
Jon Lester - Rookie pitcher, cancer survivor
Clay Bucholtz(?) - Undetermined, threw a no-hitter
Curt Schilling - Out for the season

Yankees pitching:
Andy Pettitte - Veteran of the staff, more post-season experience than all Boston pitchers combined
Chein-Ming Wang - Sinker expert, successive 19-win seasons
Joba Chamberlain - 100MPH, biting curve
Phil Hughes - Impressive pre-hammy debut
Ian Kennedy - #1 draft pick, 2007 MiLB Pitcher of the Year

Red Sox pen:
Hideki Okajima - Unorthodox motions, superb set-up man
Jonathon Papelbon - A young Mariano, feeds his dog baseballs
Mike Timlin - Seeing less outings, certified DOOP pitcher (designated one-out pitcher)
Julian Tavarez - Long reliever, allows too many on base

Yankees pen:
Kyle Farnsworth - Farns-worthless, one good day = two bad days
Mariano Rivera - Still impressive, shows signs of age
Mike Mussina - Starter turned bullpen coach/reliever
LaTroy Hawkins - Move to AL will impact negatively

Red Sox infield:
1B - Kevin Youkilis - Average hitter, above average fielder
2B - Dustin Pedroia - 2007 Rookie of the Year, still braking in his cleats
3B - Mike Lowell - Career year led to 2007 WS MVP, will not reproduce the same numbers again
SS - Julio Lugo - Forgets to bring his bats to games, defense is poor
DH - David Ortiz - Still a power threat, still won't win an MVP

Yankees Infield:
1B - Jason Giambi - Today's Dave Kingman, weak hitter, but if he makes contact, bye bye
2B - Robinson Cano - above average hitter for 2B, fielding needs improvement
3B - Alex Rodriguez - 2007 MVP, another 40HR, 120RBI campaign in '08
SS - Derek Jeter - Has a chance to pass Pete Rose in career hits, overrated defense
DH - Hideki Matsui - Move to DH will improve offensive production

Red Sox Outfield:
LF - Manny Ramirez - Will improve offensive numbers, won't improve fielding numbers
CF - Coco Crisp - Still waiting for break out year, improved defense in Fenway
RF - J.D. Drew - 2007 numbers below career average, will see slight improvement
OF - Jacoby Ellsbury - Promising future, gave me a free taco

Yankees Outfield:
RF - Johnny Damon - Maintains a weak arm, defense declining
CF - Melky Cabrera - Young hitter has room for improvement
LF - Bobby Abreu - Great fielder, just don't hit the ball near the wall, will have improved offensive numbers
OF - Shelly Duncan - Impressive MLB debut, unimpressive finish

Red Sox Bench:
Alex Cora - Below average hitter, could replace Lugo
Sean Casey - Should have stayed with the Reds, lack of playing time will impact numbers

Yankees Bench:
Wilson Betemit - Multiple positions will give him plenty of playing time and allow starters to rest more often
Jose Molina - Will not come close to matching Posada's career averages

Red Sox Manager:
Terry Francona - Ended 86-year drought, ended Yankees 9-year AL East run

Yankees Manager
Joe Girardi - 2006 NL Manager of the Year, big shoes to fill after Torre's departure

Red Sox will win the East by three games, Yankees will once again make it to the playoffs winning the Wild Card.


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