No Mercy


(Ronald Martinez/Getty)

The Yankees, clinging to a slim one-game lead in the AL East, saunter into Fenway to begin a series with the reeling Red Sox.  As Mike outlined in his series preview, the Red Sox have been pretty awful this season, falling to unimaginable 15 games below .500.  While they struggled for much of the season, they have been particularly awful of late.  The Sox have lost a ton of talent since the Yankees played them last in late-July, both due to injury and the blockbuster trade (also known as a salary dump) they completed with the Dodgers.  While the Yankees are playing for a division title and a playoff spot, the Red Sox seem to have little to play for other than their pride (or what remains of it).  On paper, this is a matchup that heavily favors the Yankees, who despite their own problems should field a more talented and motivated roster than that of the Red Sox.

It also has all the makings of a trap series.  With a big three-game series with the Rays looming on the horizon, it would be easy for the Yankees to overlook the crappy Red Sox and look ahead for the matchup with their actual competition for the division title.  Meanwhile, while Boston seems and demoralized, I imagine getting the opportunity to ruin the Yankees’ season could get at least some of them fired up.

While the Red Sox roster is depleted, there is still enough talent to cause trouble for the Yankees.  They are missing David Ortiz and Will Middlebrooks, but Dustin Pedroia, Cody Ross, and Jacoby Ellsbury could provide enough punch to pile up some runs against some shaky Yankee pitching.  Plus, future Hall of Famer Pedro Ciriaco is still there, and will look to improve on his .469/.485/.625 career line against the Bombers.  Hopefully the Yankees can figure out a way to retire him.

On the pitching side, there will be some interesting matchups.  The Yankees will put perhaps their best pitcher of the season (#HIROK) up against Jon Lester in game one.  Even though Lester is hardly the dominant Lester of years past, he is still a strong competitor who put up a good performance against the Yankees the last time he faced them.  At best, this is a small advantage for the Yankees.  The Phelps-Cook matchup in game two could be a slugfest, as Cook has been mediocre while Phelps has failed to get past the 5th inning in his last two starts.  As for game three, Felix Doubront has posed some problems for the Yankees in the past, while Phil Hughes has been pretty solid of late (in part thanks to the new slider).  While the Yankees should be favored in all three games, none of these matchups strikes me as a sure thing.

Given the close nature of the Al East race and the atrociousness of the Red Sox, taking anything less than 2 out of 3 games in this series would be a major failure.  The Yankees have problems of their own, such as Mark Teixeira‘s recent injury, but they are light years ahead of where Boston is at this point, both in terms of on-field talent and off-field intangibles.  While the Red Sox should be jazzed up for the opportunity to stick it to their longtime rivals, the Bombers should be motivated to add insult to Boston’s injury.  The Yanks will have the opportunity to get themselves a little breathing room in the division as Baltimore and Tampa will be squaring off while the Yankees are playing the Red Sox.  A sweep will put the Yankees in strong position to hold on to their division lead, and go into the playoffs with some positive momentum.

Categories : Musings


  1. Ro says:

    As I just stated in the series preview thread, why Phelps over Nova? Serious question.

    • Andruw's Smile says:

      Nova probably isn’t stretched out. It’s not a ridiculous question really.

      • Ro says:

        That’s all well and good, but wouldn’t it make a little more sense to get Nova some work, especially against a Boston team that’s in shambles. Phelps would still pitch tomorrow evening probably after Nova throws something like 75-80 pitches, which is 4 or 5 innings. The other way around logic; Phelps first and Nova maybe out of the pen doesn’t make much sense to me. Nova is a much more established starter at this point in his career, at least in comparison to Phelps and god for bid Kuroda or Hughes goes down, wouldn’t getting Nova back on the mound tomorrow night to start getting a little work in be a better idea?

    • jesse says:

      Because Nova will probably take over Freddy’s spot and when Andy comes back he’ll take over Phelps’ spot.

  2. Andruw's Smile says:

    Kill them all.

  3. MannyGeee says:

    Paging Dr Freud: I swear I had to read that paragraph 4 times where you called the Red Sox ‘crappy’… I kept seeing it say ‘scrappy’.

    If you believe in kizmit, this is a bad thing.

  4. Monty Capuletti says:

    Sweep the leg, Johnny!

    • Frank Messer says:

      Would you stop beign ridiculous! No one is doing any sweeping in this series. Despite everything, their offense is as good as ours right now, especially in Fenway. Anyone trust Phelps and Hughes with their lives in that rat trap?

      • jjyank says:

        Um. I think you’re being ridiculous. Sweeping isn’t a a certainty, but it’s a possibility. Pretending that something that could possibly happen isn’t possible is far more ridiculous.

      • Jim Is Bored says:

        “Despite everything, their offense is as good as ours right now.”

        No, no, and more no. This is anecdotally and statistically false.

        Last 10 games: Yankees: 49, Boston: 23.
        Season: Yankees: 679, Boston: 668, a minimal difference but Boston had Gonzo, Ortiz and Middlebrooks.

        Do you want me to go deeper and compare down to the individual player?

        A sweep is not the most likely outcome. But it’s not because Boston’s offense is as good as ours right now.

        • Frank Messer says:

          Thank you, counselor. Ridiculous

        • MannyGeee says:

          Thier offense is a joke without their 4 best hitters (gone via trade or injury) and their replacements are not even “replacement level”

          but nah, troll away dude

          • Frank Messer says:

            You guys are scaring me. I luv me some Yankees and I hope they grind the Red Sox corpses into pulp this week. But my opinion is that the Sawx will score a bunch. I hope we do too, but Phelps and Hughes in Fenway? C’mon guys

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              I will say that I don’t think I’ve ever seen an argument break out around less here, and that someone with the screen name of Frank F’ing Messer couldn’t possibly ever be trolling.

              Jim did give you some pretty convincing numbers as to offense, though, which you completely dismissed. Hard to argue with those.

              I said my thoughts somewhere else in here, but my thoughts here are halfway. I believe that, while logic and reason do dictate an easy series for the Yanks, no matter what the names on the backs of the uniforms are, I refuse to predict anything when these two teams get together.

              I think moving on is smart here.

              • Rocky Road Redemption says:

                Well, he called somebody ridiculous, and I think I responded in a pretty balanced way, actually, considering his original, rather rude post.

                I didn’t insult him personally or even ridicule him-I addressed his point and called it ridiculous in a LESS obnoxious way than he did in the original post.

  5. Darren says:

    I’d like to see the Yankees’ offense have a typical Fenway game and rack up the runs. It would be nice if the pitching could be dominant against a last place team, even in Fenway. But really, with this Yankee team, would a Boston sweep surprise you? One of the more bi-polar Yankee teams of the last bunch of years.

  6. Nathan says:

    Put em in a body bag!!!

  7. Rocky Road Redemption says:

    Bring the brooms, boys. Whether or not we sweep you swagger in there like you own the place. Like you DESERVE that sweep.

    We meet at High Noon, motherfuckers.

  8. Marcy says:

    Anyone listening to Rick Peterson on MLB network?

  9. Jose M. Vazquez says:

    I hope we win at least two of three. A sweep would be better but difficult. Pedro Ciriaco reminds me of Howard Kendrick of the Angels whom our pitchers could not get out for two or three years. I hope that they find Ciriaco’s weaknesses and exploit them.

  10. Robinson Tilapia says:

    With the division this close in September, anything less than two out of three of ANY series would not be a very good thing, whether it’s the Tampa Bay Rays or the nuns of Our Lady of Dustin Pedroia’s Ass Pimple.

    No mercy indeed.

  11. Serious question: Are the Red Sox mathematically out of the playoffs? and if not would a sweep do it? If so I’m rooting for a sweep for no other reason. If not, 2 out of 3 is perfectly acceptable.

  12. JonS says:

    Girardi is going to try to lose this game tonight. Nothing he do will make sense. The Yankees will win this series in spite of Girardi.

  13. Yankee47 says:

    Joes lineup SS jeter RF swisher 3B a rod 2B Cano C Martin CF grandy LF jones 1B Pearce DH Nunez

  14. JohnC says:

    Nova is pitching a simiulated game at Fenway today. Michael Kay tweeted that he hit Dickerson in the foot with a pitch. SOunds like he
    s rusty

  15. Better off Eddard says:

    Of course no mercy. Why would we ever show mercy to the Sox, especially when we’re fighting for our playoff lives? We need to sweep. The era of Tito Francona and David Ortiz is over. This Sox team is a last place club who packed it in weeks ago so there’s no reason whatsoever to lose a game in Boston.

  16. Big Members Only (formerly RI$P FTW) says:

    You’re insinuating that they are planning on having mercy?

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.