Sep
13

A Yankees fan’s view of the collapse

By

(Photo Credit: The Nashua Telegraph)

Following a frustrating four-game losing streak (frustrating because they didn’t hit, the one thing they do better than anything else), the Yankees appear to have righted the ship and have won two in a row, the second against the great Felix Hernandez. Aside from various injuries, everything seems to be going pretty well in Yankeeland, but the same can’t be said for their biggest rivals.

The Red Sox, in case you haven’t heard, have lost five games in a row. While that was happening, the Rays won five in a row, so their deficit in the wildcard race dropped from eight games to three in less than a week. Suddenly the upcoming four-game series between these two clubs at Fenway Park this weekend has a whole lotta meaning, even though it was little more than an afterthought a week ago. The Sox have 16 games left, Tampa just 15. There is little in baseball more exciting than a late season comeback, as long as you aren’t the team being comeback’d on.

Boston’s problems are almost entirely pitching related. Their opponents have scored six or more runs eight times in their last ten games, and five or more runs ten times in their last 13 games. Their starting rotation at the moment is Jon Lester, John Lackey, Andrew Miller, Tim Wakefield, and Kyle Weiland, which is pretty awful outside of Lester. Legitimately Triple-A caliber. Josh Beckett will apparently be back from his ankle sprain sometime this week, so that will definitely help. Clay Buchholz may or may not return this season, but if he does, it sounds like he’ll do so as a reliever. Who really knows what’s up with Erik Bedard? Not I. As Yankees fans, you can’t not enjoy watching this unfold. Oh, and the irony. I thought the Yankees were the team with the pitching problems?

Cool Standings says the Rays have just a 13.2% chance to make the postseason, but that’s up from 0.6% just six days ago. The Red Sox went from a 99.4% chance to make to the postseason to 86.7% during that time. They’re still in good shape, but there are definite reasons for the Fenway faithful to be concerned. This is more than a slump, there are very real issues. The Yankees, meanwhile, now have an 88.0% chance to win the AL East and a 99.4% chance to make the postseason. The only thing we have worry about is health and the number two starter in the ALDS. The Yankees aren’t perfect, but they’re the best team in the AL, hands down.

As a Yankees fan, I’m obligated to loathe the Red Sox. It’s very, very easy to root for the Rays at the moment, because we all want to see a Boston collapse. And frankly, Tampa is a pretty fun team to watch. That said, if the Rays are going to pull off this comeback, the Yankees will be involved. They have seven games left with Tampa, including the final three of the season. These aren’t isolated races, the Rays’ pursuit of the Red Sox will impact the Yankees and their ability to keep Boston at bay in the East. Obviously priority number one for New York is getting into the playoffs, they can’t worry about who is trying to catch who. If they rest players down the stretch, it will be to improve their chances in October, not help the Rays.

In all likelihood, the Red Sox will hold off Tampa and make the postseason. They do have seven games left with the Orioles, after all. Tampa had a huge mountain to climb just to get where they are now, and they still have a long way to go. It’s going to be fun to watch over the next two weeks, and come on, what Yankees fan isn’t enjoying this right now?

Categories : Musings
  • http://www.youcantpredictbaseball.com bexarama

    It’s been really fun to watch but yeah, as Mike said, the Red Sox have seven left against the Orioles. If they can’t get themselves into the playoffs with that schedule, something went really really wrong for them and right for the Rays.

    I also think the Red Sox are better than the Yankees at full health. Not hugely better, but better. They’re clearly not healthy right now. Then again, neither are the Yankees.

    (I do have a crazy dream where the Yankees have already clinched the division before the last series of the year and the Red Sox and Rays are tied and Red Sox fans have to root for the Yankees, who are resting regulars… heh.)

    • CS Yankee

      I root for that scenerio to happen as well but maybe with a different outcome.

      Tampa has arms, and they all are healthy. Having the Sox go all out before postseason while we still beat the Rays with the “B” squad would be great. Boston couldn’t scream that we rolled over and we would beat up on that (even moreso) extended rotation (if they got past Texas) in the ALCS, 4-0.

    • Brian in NH

      its about time we got another Sox September Swoon. Since 2004 they’ve kinda held it together most years (except that one awesome 5 game sweep NY handed them..that was too good)

    • PaulF

      I think that at full health the Yankees have a better 25 man roster than the Sox, because they have more depth in the rotation, lineup and bullpen. However, the Red Sox have more top-end talent and so they might be better built for the playoffs if they’re healthy.

  • Anchen

    The only sorta issue is that the Yankees themselves have 7 games with Tampa left I believe (1 a double header). So in the process of trying to make sure we secure a playoff spot/go into the playoffs playing reasonably well we may have to play hard against them. The Yankees would help the cause of ruining boston’s season if they could sweep the Red Sox or something in their last series though.

  • Cris Pengiuci

    Definitely keeping a close eyey on this race. It’s great to be able to needle the Sux fans around my office on 2 different fronts. Yanks are 4 up and the Sux may not even make the playoffs (yes, that’s along shot, but it’s still fun to point out to them). This makes baseball more interesting at this time of the year.

  • Guns of the Navarone

    Loving every second of it. It’s a difficult task to accomplish with a roster consisting of three MVP candidates and anywhere from 3-5 aces.

    • Ro

      The Red Sox players are all gods. We feeble humans are just lucky enough to be breathing their uninhaled air.

      ..er at least that’s what this book says on my desk. The one I got in April about the Red Sox being the WS winners.

      My opinion; serves all those jackasses right for talking only about their shoe in post season spot and all their MVP candidates.

      Jackasses…

    • Tom

      A bit further down the “interesting to follow” scale…. What happens to the voters who say Bautista isn’t an MVP because he’s not helping his team to the playoffs?

      If the Red Sox come up short do the Ellsbury and Gonzalez MVP arguments also diminish or does EPSN et al just evolve the logic to well they kept them in the race?

    • TEk

      3-5 aces? The hell.

  • Rey22

    I laugh everytime I think how sick red sox fans must be feeling right now because they practically have to cheer for the Yankees for the rest of the season.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/users/486240-arad-markowitz Mantle28

    Question: if it comes down to it, do the yanks lose purpose to the rays if it means Boston not making the playoffs?

    • Hall and Nokes

      No, but do they pitch Proctor and Laffey in key spots? Perhaps.

    • MattG

      Question: it the Red Sox collapse in the forest and no one is around to hear it, do they still suck?

      • Cris Pengiuci

        Silly question. Of course they do!

    • Dan

      I would hope that they try to beat the Rays because I would much rather face a banged up Boston team than the Rays rotation. Even though Boston has had success against the Yankees this year, I would feel pretty confident that the Yankees should be able to beat Boston possibly with Beckett pitching injured, no Bucholz, possibly no Youkilis, and a very tired and overworked bullpen. I also think if the Sox get in with their current roster, they are not likely getting out of the first round.

      • JAG

        The other side of that, though, is that as hard as the Rays are having to play to make the postseason, they can’t possibly set up their rotation properly for the ALDS, nor can they rest their workhorses. Shields, Price, and Hellickson have pitched a lot of high-priority innnings in the past few weeks, and there’s no way they’re getting rest until the Rays are eliminated (either from contention or from a postseason round). Not every pitcher is like CC, you have to think that even as good as their rotation is, the constant work might wear them down if they do make the postseason.

        Honestly, I think with the questions surrounding the Yankees rotation, it would better serve the team to play the Rays in the ALCS than the Red Sox, since the Red Sox lineup is still quite good, plus Fenway Park fits them far better than Tropicana Field fits the Rays.

        Of course, there’s also the fact that the Yankees would only face either team in the ALCS anyway, so it’s probably not worth worrying about. Either team would be going in at least a little hot regardless.

        • Dan

          I agree its not worth worrying about now, but I would disagree with you on the rotation problems indicating the Rays would be a better opponent. The Rays pitchers could easily shut down the Yankee lineup, which in previous postseasons has cost the Yankees when they run into good pitching. The Yankees could win a high scoring slugfest with the Sox because I would trust the Yankee bullpen now more than the Sox with the way Albers has been struggling and Aceves has been overused. The Rays offense has also been scoring more runs of late.

          • mike

            the biggest difference is that Mo – against the Sox – is merely mortal and they are not intimidated by him, whereas against everyone else, especially in the playoffs, he is super-human.

            • Rainbow Connection

              And Diamondbacks.

            • Dan

              Good point, and with these two teams playing one another they are bound to have some close games, even if they are 10-8 type of games so Mo will need to pitch in a few games and the Sox seem to be the one team to intimidate him and get in his head.

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      Girardi won’t do that, but if everything is locked up when they play, or at least pretty close, it will look like he will. Laffey and Proctor will be pitching in key situations like Gaudin and Mitre did last year at times.

  • MattG

    Hey Bostonians, take the advice of one of your own, and keep passing the open windows.

  • Dan

    I am not counting Boston completely out of the division race until after the Yankees face them the last time unless Boston ends up down more than 5-6 games heading into that series, which is definitely possible.

  • Accent Shallow

    Karmic payback for the hilarious Gonzalez giveaway?

  • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

    That’s right, they have 7 against Baltimore including a doubleheader, so they’re a lock for at LEAST 6 of those games. And we should all know by now that Buck will get involved (Obviously because he’s the manager of the O’s). But he’ll find a way to help out the Sox just in spite of the Yankees. No doubt.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/SteeeeveO Steve O.

      At least 6? With Wakefield/Miller/Lackey/Weiland?

      Yeah right.

      • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

        Against Hunter/Reyes/Simon/Guthrie/Britton?

        Yeah. Not horribly unlikely.

        • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

          Also compare the offenses
          Boston>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Baltimore

          • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

            I mean it’s not a lock that they’ll win 6 games.

            But that series has all the makings of a shitshow.

            • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

              Fine. If you really want to be technical about it then I’ll say this: The Red Sox beating the Orioles 6 out of those 7 meetings is as close to a lock as they come.

              There.

              • nsalem

                O’s just beat the Yankees in their last two games. They will be playing hard.

                • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

                  The Orioles playing hard means nothing when you have shitty starting pitching.

                  But if you want to play that game: The Red Sox are only 3 games up on the WC, they’ll be playing harder.

                • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

                  Small sample size. Boston has handled Baltimore pretty well this year. And just because the opposing team plays hard doesn’t mean they’ll win. The Red Sox will be playing 100 times as hard as Baltimore because by the time they meet their WC lead will probably be by a smaller margin.

                  • Ro

                    The Orioles will take 5 of the remaining 7 games. Bet on it.

                    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

                      Ok because of your supporting evidence I’ll bet my life savings.

                  • Ro

                    ..from the Red Sox that is..

                  • Mike M

                    So 7 game isn’t a SSS? You’re making a really weird stand on this one. Making a claim that a major league team is remotely a lock to go 6/7 from someone is crazy, and when you take the Sox rotation into consideration it’s even more ludicrous

                    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

                      Nope I said two games were.
                      And you’re completely disregarding the two teams. Boston is much better than Baltimore by a long shot. It really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. So obviously if you don’t understand that you need to end up in a mental institution.

              • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

                I still think you’re over-exaggerating, but w/e

                • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

                  How? The Red Sox are significantly better than the O’s and the Red Sox will be playing their gritty hearts out more than ever. I hate the Red Sox, but even I can realize that.

                  • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

                    That’s not really my point though.

                    Assume the Sox have a 90% chance of winning each game(giving you the benefit of the doubt).

                    To win 6 out of 7, probabilistically, would be (.9^6)(.1)(7 choose 6), which gives you ~37% chance of that outcome. If you change it to at LEAST 6 out of 7, it increases to ~84%.

                    It’s likely, but I don’t know, I don’t think 84% is a lock. Really just semantics though.

                    IMO, a more realistic outlook has the odds around 80% for each game, which drops the overall odds to 58%.

                    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

                      You don’t need to look at the mathematical odds of winning. You’ve gotta look at the players on the field and the circumstances they’re in. The Red Sox are head, shoulders, body, and feet better than the Orioles, and that’s a fact. Plus, there isn’t that bad of a chance that their WC lead will shrink by then (not saying it’s a lock just saying it’s a possibility). With that in mind, the Red Sox will be playing with more of an urgency against the O’s. And besides, Buck Showalter is managing the O’s and you know Boston losing benefits the Yankees, so he’ll do what he can do to help the Red Sox if you will, odds are.

                    • http://notanevilempire.com/ Steve O.

                      While Lester/Wakefield/Miller/Lackey/Weiland is mildly better than the Orioles Hunter/Reyes/Simon/Guthrie/Britton, it’s essentially a wash. Due to the volatility of offenses from series to series, it’s essentially a toss up when considering that many of these pitchers are what is equivalent to batting practice.

                      Because of that, it’s not safe to assume that the Red Soc are even a remote lock to win 6/7 games with the laughing stock of a rotation out there. Each game will be competitive, and probably high scoring.

                    • gc

                      I wouldn’t call the Sox starting rotation right now head, shoulders, body and feet better than the Orioles. It still might be better, and Lester is still obviously tremendous, but the rest are marginally better right now, if that. There’s no lock about anything in this game, but what I will say is that the way the Sox are playing right now and with all the injuries they’ve got, I wouldn’t be shocked if the O’s win more games against them than you think. It makes no difference what they’ve done in the past. If that’s the rotation they’re sending out there, you can remove the word “lock” from any sort of predictions.

                    • jay

                      A lot of this ^. A required class in simple statistics would take the RAB comment section to higher level

                    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

                      Nah, they’ll win 6 of 7, no doubt. I hate Boston more than anyone on here and even I can realize that. Just watch the games.

                    • JimIsBored (Jim S)

                      Whatever. Whoever said you were taking a weird stand on this was full of right.

    • nsalem

      not true

  • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

    Things I won’t do: Count my chickens before they hatch.

    Carry on.

    • MattG

      But do you count goats in Red Sox uniforms?

  • CBean

    my boss is a Red Sox fan (but otherwise a decent human being) and it’s been a lot of fun to gloat with him. Yesterday he was ready to give up on baseball and just concentrate on football.

    • Alibaba

      Pre-2004 attitude returning for now, I guess.

  • nsalem

    Not rooting for any outcome but at this point (especially without a healthy Beckett) there may be much more to fear from The Rays. Many were happy to see the Sox not make the playoffs in 2006 and 2010, but thta didn’t do us any good either.

  • Kiko Jones

    The 2011 Red Sox are the greatest team since the 1927 Yankees.

    /ESPN’d
    /MLBN’d

    • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

      Babe Ruth was over-rated, the 1927 Yankees were only good because all the calls went their way and they bought their team.

      • pat

        /East Coast bias’d

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse
      • jon

        they can still win 100 games

        all they need to do is win every single game from this point on

      • CS Yankee

        Every day should feel like Christmas for Curt Young, the new Red Sox pitching coach.

        My favorite line in that whole article. Bet he is feeling more like April’s Fool Day than Christmas.

        • Guns of the Navarone

          The former A’s pitching coach didn’t have anything close to the horses he has now, and Oakland’s staff posted a 3.56 ERA last season, the best in the American League and fourth-best in the majors. Imagine what he can do with a Grade A collection of arms.

          That’s my favorite part too. Hilarious.

          Never mind that Oakland is an extreme pitcher’s park… oh and Oakland’s pitching >> Boston’s pitching.

      • theyankeewarrior

        I’ve been saving that link all year long.

      • Bartolo’s Colon

        that is awesome, it must great for red sox fans to know that “one run is all it might take to win a game on some days with the starting staff” with such fabled names as lackey and dice-k.

        pretty certain that was collectively written by all of the red sox parents, that article is a must read.

    • Guns of the Navarone

      Just in case anyone doubted Yankee hate/Red Sox nut-hugging at ESPN, I present this article:

      http://sports.espn.go.com/espn.....ortCat=mlb

      Keep in mind, this should be about the Red Sox winning a championship. Fine. It’s a great moment for their organization. Instead, it’s meant as a kick in the balls to the Yankees and their organization. That’s all they could think to write about after the 2007 championship.

      Warning: Read at your own risk. Side effects include nausea, upset stomach, diarrhea, suicidal thoughts, and a possible case of voluntary manslaughter.

      • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

        Yay Pepto Bismol!

      • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

        Thanks for the warning (No sarcasm). I nearly puked after I read the title.

      • Kiko Jones

        2 WS championships in 90 years and this is how the Sux folks react. One can only imagine if they’d won 10, let alone 27. Ugh.

        • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

          No! They won two in four years which means they’re the greatest team evahhhh! Go Sawx! Fuck the Skanks!

          /Boston fan with no life’d

          (Believe it or not, but a Red Sox fan actually told me that awhile back.)

      • http://fendersonandhampton.com Cuso

        Gene Wojechsoijrfgodhjvnlerbntkjbx

        You can’t trust a guy that can’t spell his own last name.

      • http://www.youcantpredictbaseball.com bexarama

        Seriously one of the worst articles I’ve ever read. Gene Wojciechowski is a major embarrassment when it comes to writing about baseball.

        Try and find his article about rooting for Philadelphia in the 2009 World Series, too (written before the Yankees clinched the AL, too, and it’s all about Yankee hate). It’s pretty priceless.

        • Guns of the Navarone

          http://sports.espn.go.com/espn.....ortCat=mlb

          Yet another reason why the 2009 championship was so sweet. Yankee-hate was at an ALL-TIME high. They missed the playoffs the previous season, spent $658934 trillion dollars on free agents, and A-Rod had become the only player to ever take steroids, ever.

          The wolves were circling, and then… CHAMPIONSHIP! Against the defending champs no less. Eat a dick Gene Woj.

          • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

            Do you have an article that he wrote after the Yankees won it?

            • http://www.youcantpredictbaseball.com bexarama

              http://sports.espn.go.com/espn.....ortCat=mlb

              This is actually a pretty nice article. His other 2009 World Series articles, not so much:
              http://sports.espn.go.com/espn.....ortCat=mlb (A-Rod sux!)

              http://sports.espn.go.com/espn.....ortCat=mlb (Use Gaudin, Girardi!)

              http://sports.espn.go.com/espn.....ortCat=mlb (Booo, why are the Yankees winning!)

              http://sports.espn.go.com/espn.....ortCat=mlb (Some nonsense about Burnett and short rest.)

              • Guns of the Navarone

                Awful articles. Eight at-bats until a full blown panic article… Yankees are ruining a potential good World Series because they’re too good…

                There’s absolutely nothing positive to say about the Yankees were it not for the nostalgic narrative created by a then very ill George Steinbrenner. Anything considered a “compliment” to the team is backhanded and doesn’t come close to the over-the-top praise and adulation expressed towards the Red Sox in the article I linked to above. Nor do any of these articles attempt to insult the Red Sox organization.

              • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

                Thanks for sharing.
                My God is this guy a joke.

                /saying the least

            • Corporate Scum

              WOW. Everyone owes Gene an apology for suggesting bias. Here’s the headlines and leads for the next several articles he wrote:

              2009 World Series: George Steinbrenner not present, but definitel…
              Gene Wojciechowski

              Yankees owner George Steinbrenner wasn’t on hand to celebrate his team’s 27th world championship, but he sure wasn’t forgotten.

              November 04, 2009

              2009 World Series: A.J. Burnett falls woefully short on short re…
              Gene Wojciechowski

              Yankees manager Joe Girardi needs to rethink his pitching plan after watching A.J. Burnett fall woefully short on three days’ rest in Game 5.

              November 02, 2009

              2009 World Series: A good Series spoiled — MLB Playoffs
              Gene Wojciechowski

              An actual Fall Classic had been predicted, but the Yankees are turning it into a ho-hum romp toward a 27th world championship.

              November 01, 2009

              2009 World Series: New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi pushing …
              Gene Wojciechowski

              Yankees manager Joe Girardi is asking for trouble if he opts to go with a three-man rotation for the rest of this World Series.

              October 31, 2009

              2009 World Series: Alex Rodriguez whiffing in first Series oppor…
              Gene Wojciechowski

              Alex Rodriguez was great in the first two playoff rounds, but his 0-for-8, 6-K start to the World Series is threatening to hurt the Yankees’ championship hopes.

              October 29, 2009

              2009 World Series: Roger Clemens gone and forgotten at Yankee Sta…
              Gene Wojciechowski

              The new Yankee Stadium honors PED users A-Rod and Andy Pettitte along with the past stars, except for one — Roger Clemens.

              October 28, 2009

              • Guns of the Navarone

                Not sure which point you’re trying to prove here…

          • http://www.youcantpredictbaseball.com bexarama

            Reason No. 5 — Girlfriend Sightings
            Citizens Bank Park is a Kate Hudson-free venue.

            Oh noooo not an attractive female, everyone knows men hate seeing those, nooooo not that

            • Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Fan

              Such things have no place in sporting events. Period. Ever.

  • Yankeegirl49

    I would imagine that this was one of the more enjoyable posts to write.

  • Dan

    Just curious, but wouldn’t the optimal situation be for the Yankees to try and force a tie for the wild card between the Rays and the Sox forcing them into a one-game playoff? This would most likely force them to use up their ace in the one game playoff and should further hurt their chances of advancing past the divisional round.

    • CS Yankee

      This.

      • Dan

        It might be hard to plan for this, but if the Rays are a game or two behind the Sox going into the last series, why not give Betances and Brackman chances to start? Play them with a mostly AAA lineup. Then if the Rays tie the Sox try to win each game if the Sox look like they are going to win. The problem is the Sox and Yankee games will most likely be at the same times in the final series so it would involve changing strategies depending on the scoreboard, which can be tough.

    • Cris Pengiuci

      That would seem to be the ideal outcome.

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      Hahaha. That’s a brilliant idea.
      I can see it now….Beckett/Lester vs Shields/Price in a one game playoff. The game is a repeat of that Sunday Night Game awhile back between the two in which it was scoreless through 16 I believe.

  • Ro

    The one thing that no one mentioned on here (or at least I did not read it) is Buck Showalter. He stated on several occasions that he felt the Rays are the wild card team. It is someone interesting that now the Orioles play heavily into their fate. You better be damn sure that Showalter’s post season and WS is next week with Sox. He’ll manage those games for his life. Yeah Showalter hates the Yankee’s, but the good news is; he hates the Sox even more. He did not say that, but I’ve seen enough from him to know that. He freaking despises Epstein and his braindead way of constructing a team.

    There are some very optimistic people on this thread, going on the stats understandably, that the Red Sox still make it. I’m convinced they are dead in the water and they’ve already lost their spot. Its just a feeling based on the intangibles at play. Anyone really think that Beckett will be at full strenght his first start back? No chance, just like Bartolo when he pulled a groin muscle a few months back. Beckett will nurse that ankle in his next start and I guess making him unproductive. Basically, Beckett is lucky to get one quality start in before the season is over. The rest of the rotation speaks for itself. I wouldn’t hold out breath on Buchholz. Once he picks up torque with his pitches, his back will act up again. He is done for the season and nothing changes that.

    The Red Sox bullpen is ridiculously lousy, save for Papellbon.

    • Phife Dawg

      Aceves and Bard (though not lately) have been very good.

      It’s nice to see Hey Hey It’s Matt Albers revert back to his Baltimore self.

    • Alibaba

      Then, won’t it be better to face RS in the playoffs, if they make that far?

    • Guest

      Its not unreasonable to think the Rays could tie/overtake Boston by Monday.

      But then after that, they’ve got seven games against the O’s.

      So, to recap, Tampa would have to gain 4 more games on Boston in their next 6 games after already gaining 5.5 in their last fsix just to take a one game lead that — due to upcoming opponents — would still be precarious with 10 more to go.

      Its not impossible, but it is far, far, far from likely.

      I think I’d rather face Boston in the ALCS (if we make it that far) anyway. Against Boston, it would be masher lineup v. masher line up. The teams will likely walk and bludgeon each other to death. In that kind of series, no matter what happens, the Yanks would have a puncher’s chance of coming out on top. Plus an ALCS win over the Sox would go along way towards dulling the pain of ’04.

      If they face Tampa, and Shields, Price, and Hellickson are hot (which is a DISTINCT possibility) then you can pretty much call it a day.

      • Ted Nelson

        I think you’re overstating how good the Rays’ rotation is. They play in possibly the most pitcher friendly park in baseball. Price and Shields are very good… but so are Beckett and Lester. Hellickson is very talented, but his FIP this season is 4.3. Yankees got two runs in 7 IP in their first game against him this season at the Trop… then ripped him a new one in his second start at YS.

        It’s definitely possible that Shields, Price, and Hellickson (and/or #4) could shut down the Yankees in a best of 7. The same is true for Beckett, Lester, Bedard, Wakefield/Aceves… difference being that the Red Sox offense is better and should score more runs against the Yankees’ pitching.

    • Ted Nelson

      Buck is going to “manage better” against the Red Sox than he did last night about the Rays and for the next two games against them? If he can manage his team to wins against the Red Sox, why not the Rays? Why not anyone else? Baltimore is a lousy team. Sure they could beat up on the Red Sox… but I don’t think Buck has an on/off switch he can flip and make the Orioles beat the teams he doesn’t like.

      • Ted Nelson

        And I certainly don’t think he’s conceding games to the Rays just because he thinks they’re a wild card team…

  • Charles

    Tbh I’d actually hope Boston hangs on, without Bucholz/Beckett they are a very weak team. We saw how bad their bullpen was after Bard/Papelbon and their offense is about the same as ours. But Tampa on the other hand with their rotation is scary in a short series.

    • Dan

      Agreed, while CC might be able to match Price and get the Yankee two wins, I would have no confidence in the Yankees ability to get wins in games started against Shields or Hellickson regardless of who the Yankees start against them.

      • Ted Nelson

        It’s not as simple as matching starters up against one another… The Rays pitchers have to face the Yankees’ offense, while the Yankees have to face the Rays’ offense. Yankees’ BP is also stronger.

        • Dan

          I agree its not as simple as matching up starters. However, I meant more that I could see the Rays offense scoring off of some of the Yankee starters not named CC more than the Yankees would get off of Shields or Hellickson. I agree the Yankee bullpen is better, but if the Yankees starters put them in a hole it might not matter. Also, Price and Shields are both pretty good about going pretty deep into games.

          • Ted Nelson

            I think you can say the same for Boston, though. It’s hard to compare their offenses since Boston plays in a band-box and Tampa in an offensive desert (same for their pitching)… but I find it hard to argue Tampa is more capable of scoring runs than Boston. Beckett absolutely might be healthy come playoff time and as good as either Shields or Price. Lester is also capable of a similar performance to those two.

            Yankees scored 4 ERs in 4.1 IP in Hellickson’s only start in YS this season (2 ERs in 7 IP at the Trop, which is one of the worst hitters parks in the game)… not much of a sample and he’s certainly capable of a great game, but I’m not any more worried about Hellickson than a Wakefield/Aceves let alone a healthy Bedard… or the Verlander/Fister/Scherzer/Porcello group of Detroit.

            • Dan

              Outside of that one 4ER start against the Yankees, he has given up 4 ER just twice all year and one of those was his 3rd start in his career. He has done pretty well regardless of the park he has pitched in (at Boston the park you call a bandbox he only gave up 2 ER). If the matchup in a game was him versus Hughes, Colon, Garcia, or Nova, I would not feel that confident about the Yankees chances. I would feel more confident against Wakefield, Miller, or Lackey who have been much shakier regardless of the opponent. I did not bring up the Tigers, but out of the group that you mentioned the only one that really worries me is Verlander. Porcello can be good, but the few starts of his that I have watched, he has seemed pretty hittable and struggles with putting away hitters.

              • Ted Nelson

                “He has done pretty well regardless of the park he has pitched in”

                His ERA on the road is like 3.75, and his FIP is like 5.

                ERA is influenced by factors like ballpark, defense, luck…

                “If the matchup in a game was him versus Hughes, Colon, Garcia, or Nova, I would not feel that confident about the Yankees chances.”

                Your “feelings” don’t really concern me. The facts do. The Yankees have faced him twice and lost 3-2 and won 9-3 in those two games. If you’d rather face him than Bedard… that’s your business.

                ” I did not bring up the Tigers, ”

                They brought themselves up… If the season ended today the Red Sox would have to get through the Tigers and the Yankees through the Rangers.

                “the only one that really worries me is Verlander. Porcello can be good, but the few starts of his that I have watched, he has seemed pretty hittable and struggles with putting away hitters.”

                Again… not at all interested in your amateur scouting opinion. Fister has been a BEAST since joining the Tigers. BEAST. Not to say it will continue, but if he doesn’t “worry you” I don’t know what to say to you. Hellickson’s FIP of 4.3 is “scary” but not Fister’s Detroit FIP in the low 2s?

                • Dan

                  I used Porcello specifically because he would most likely be who the Yankees would face in Game 3 (based on how well Fister has been pitching, though the Tigers are a hard team to figure how they would set up their rotation), just like Hellickson should be the #3 and Bedard would be the #3. Also, in each of these instances the game would be at the opponents park, so it shouldn’t really matter how Hellickson pitched on the road because in all likelihood the game will be at Tampa where as you said he has pitched better.

    • James

      I agree.

      If the Rays actually do pull this off, does any of us *really* want any part of them at that point? They’d be ridiculously hot and have a pretty good rotation. I’d much rather face a vulnerable Red Sox team that limped into the playoffs. Plus the games are usually epic (even if it does turn my stomach for a week).

      Be careful what you wish for.

      • Dan

        Yeah part of me just wants the Sox to lose so I am not in danger of losing my better record bets with my friends that are Red Sox fans. Also, after 2004 I have come to realize that it doesn’t really matter which team is better when they play one another because just about anything can happen all it takes is one little slump or hot streak.

    • Ted Nelson

      You’re assuming that Beckett doesn’t come back and pitch well… which as a Yankee fan considering a Red Sox pitcher with an ankle injury might not be an assumption you want to take for granted. (Same for Bedard and to a lesser extent Buchholz.) If Beckett is healthy the Red Sox rotation basically matches up with the Rays’, the pens are similar (I’d say Red Sox are better), and the Red Sox offense is infinitely better than the Rays.

      • Dan

        My father-in-law is a die hard Sox fan and he believes the Sox will miss the playoffs because even if Lester and Beckett are healthy they would pretty much have to win every game to cover up for the problems with the back-end of the rotation and as we saw with their last starts when Beckett and Lester struggle the Sox are prone to long losing streaks. While the Rays have a rotation that keeps them in games and their offense is starting to get hot.

        • Ted Nelson

          The Rays play in the worst offensive park in baseball (if not THE worst, then close). They stay in home games because it’s really hard to score runs in that park. Hellickson isn’t that good… home/road splits are crazy. FIP of 5 on the road and ERA close to 4.

          If you really want to argue that the Rays are way better than a Sox team with Beckett healthy… be my guest. I don’t see how you intend to prove it.

          • Dan

            Have you watched any of the Sox games over the past week or two? Wakefield, Weiland, Miller, and Lackey have all struggled to get through 3 or 4 innings. Its hard to give Boston much of a chance when they have to burn out their bullpen with every start. I agree if Beckett is healthy Boston doesn’t lose the lead, but that is a big if. Beckett will start this weekend, so we will see how that goes. If he pitches well and can maintain it and keep his ankle healthy the rest of the way the Sox will probably win the wild card and maybe they have a chance to catch the Yankees, but if he is not healthy and struggles to get through 5 or 6 innings against the Rays I do not see the Sox making the postseason

            • Ted Nelson

              Why do we have to decide today what’s going to happen over the next several weeks? My point is not that the Red Sox will do this or that… simply that I do not see the need to decide today that the Rays are better than the Red Sox based on a streak and faulty assumptions about how good their pitching is that ignore their home park.

              The argument that Price and Shields are hard to beat doesn’t really work for me because… Beckett and Lester are hard to beat. I’m not going to decide now that Beckett won’t be healthy several weeks from now seeing as he’s already ready to throw.

              The argument that the Rays offense is “hot” and the Red Sox isn’t doesn’t work for me because… you’re hot/cold until you’re not. Red Sox started the season miserably, too. Then suddenly they were the hottest team out there.

              • Dan

                We do not need to decide anything today, but people were saying who they would rather face in the post-season and based on each teams current situation and the way the lineup and rotations/bullpens are currently constructed I would rather face Boston than Tampa. Boston has major problems that are not going to be resolved over the next few weeks or during the post-season. Youkillis has two major injuries that are going to significantly impair his ability. Beckett may come back and pitch very well, but I would prefer to see him pitch with a sprained ankle than Shields. You have also made a big assumption that Bedard will come back and pitch just as well as before he went on the DL when it is much more likely that he will take some time to get back to where he was and by then it might be too late.

          • Dan

            Also, the point of view I was giving was from a Sox fan. One thing you are also not factoring in is that the Sox offense is weaker at the moment with Youkillis injured and Pedroia in a huge slump. And while he could snap out of the slump anyday now, the longer he stays in his slump the more likely it is the Sox continue to lose and allow the Rays to gain ground.

            • Ted Nelson

              Either it’s a sound analysis or it’s not… no offense, but your father-in-law being paranoid his team is falling apart and will miss the playoffs hurts your argument to me more than it helps it.

              I’ve also been talking more about who would be better for the Yankees to face in the playoffs than who will make the playoffs.

  • Grit for Brains
  • mt

    Now that Red Sux have put themselves in this position, I want Red Sux to miss playoffs badly. I want them to lose because if they win they will be hailed as “achieving something”. And God forbid if they win World Series after this “almost collapse” it will become part of the mythology. (In a short series they will be OK as long as Beckett comes back strong – will not see Weilands and Wakefields. Lackey is Lackey and if we are assuming an automatic loss when he pitches just remeber he has alraedy beaten us twice this year. If they beat Yanks in playoffs after almost collapsing, it will be hailed as such a “griity and gutty” performance.)

    I am rooting hard for Tampa Bay (as long as Yanks still win division). It will be tough.

    Keys are whether we can dominate Mariners/Jays/Twins so we can maybe go 2-5 against Tampa Bay helping Rays but then still win 2/3 from Boston.

    I think Tampa can still sneak in as long as Rays take 3/4 from Boston and Showalters get at least 2 or 3 games against Sox.

  • scott

    Pawtucket did better than Scranton but the Yankees have better young pitching at AAA. There is still Mitchell, Noesi, Phelps and Warren. And there are others, possibly to come, including Banuelos and Betances. I don’t think the Red Sox have that sort of upper-level pitching to lean on.

  • Bronx Byte

    The Boston Socks are not a likeable team. Even if they manage to make the playoffs, their weak pitching and lack of depth won’t allow them to go far. A very overrated and underperforming team.
    Time is running out quickly on them.

    • Rainbow Connection

      Are you like 12 years old?

  • Rainbow Connection

    I can see this blowing up in the Yankees face(s?).
    The Yankees are taking is easy for September and gliding into the playoffs (and allegedly ‘resting’ people), but the Sox could end up hot as hell come playoff time since they might have to up their game in order to do so.

    • Guns of the Navarone

      All of these scenarios are fun to think about, but in reality, the Yankees can’t worry about who wins what or what team gets hot. They just need to get into the playoffs and get healthy. Nothing else should concern this team.

    • Jorge

      ….since September momentum has proven to be such a predictor of what happens in the playoffs and all.

  • Pat D

    I know we liked to make fun of Bobby Jenks’ failures this year, but they just revealed that he has a pulmonary embolism, so…gotta feel for that.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Anybody taking “Wake” for 200 tonight? 8th time’s a charm?

  • dkidd

    no way the sox lose tonight

    jay’s line-up includes chris woodward

  • Bronx Byte