April 6, 2006

BADLY DRAWN BOMBERS:

Yankees: Pen and defense drop the ball (ED PRICE, 4/06/06, Star-Ledger)

All the effort the Yankees put into rebuilding their bullpen, and the past two nights their losing relievers were erstwhile starters Scott Proctor and Jaret Wright.

The Yankees last night blew a four-run lead and fell, 9-4, to the Oakland Athletics at McAfee Coliseum when Wright and newcomer Kyle Farnsworth allowed five runs in the eighth inning.

Six of Oakland's runs were unearned as shortstop Derek Jeter and second baseman Robinson Cano each made a key error.


Ill-conceived teams get exposed quickly.

MEANWHILE:
Sox 1-2 punch -- Beckett aces debut in throttling Texas (Jeff Horrigan, April 6, 2006 , Boston Herald)

The Red Sox’ two-ace intentions played out exactly as planned 2 years ago when Curt Schilling was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks and immediately teamed with Pedro Martinez to lead the Red Sox to their first World Series title in 86 years.

The same high hopes were in place when the Sox landed Josh Beckett from Florida on Nov. 24, and, if their first starts of the season are any indication, the Sox may once again have a lethal, one-two punch atop their rotation that could lead them deep into October.

Two nights after Schilling mastered the Texas Rangers for seven dominant innings in an Opening Day triumph, Beckett did likewise to lead the Sox to their first series victory with a 2-1 win at Ameriquest Field. The 25-year-old right-hander surrendered one run on seven hits and a walk, while striking out five.

“It’s nice to get the first one out of the way,” Beckett said. “I’ve still got a lot to learn about this league.”

And, in an indication of a possible changing-of-the-guard at closer, Sox manager Terry Francona went with rookie Jonathan Papelbon to close things out in the ninth over Keith Foulke, who was hit hard on Opening Day after struggling throughout an injury-filled 2005.

Papelbon got the side in order on a pair of strikeouts and a popout to earn his first major-league save.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 6, 2006 8:14 AM
Comments

I'd be worried, except that the traditional start for the Yanks is somewhere in the 1-4 or 2-5 range, and they usually drop three games of their first four games series at Fenway, then come back to win two of three or three of four on their next trip to Boston during the middle of the season. It gives the New York tabloids their normal chance to go manic/depressive on the team and to sqeeuze out a few quotes or second-hand reports from the guy down in Tampa.

But last year was an exception -- the Yanks did well at Fenway in their first trip and got off to a good start the first two weeks of the season, then cratered for about six weeks in May and June, propmting Dan Shaughnessy to publish his infamous column of the 26th of June last year. If the Sox' next title is in 2090, Shaughnessy's getting the blame for this drought.

Posted by: John at April 6, 2006 9:23 AM

Go Blue Jays!

or, for that matter,

Go Devil Rays


Only a Red Sox fan could think that the first series, especially when things go well, is an indication of how the whole season will progress. John's right. Especially in light of the Damnyankees perennial ability to win those games that matter in September.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at April 6, 2006 10:02 AM

The Farns just isn't that good.

Posted by: pchuck at April 6, 2006 10:13 AM

Yes, the Yanks are throwing a lot of dubious pitchers at the bullpen and hoping a few perform ... they only need a couple performers to fill in the gap between the starters and Rivera in close games, the other guys can pitch in the blowouts ... similarly, they are throwing about 7 dubious starters at the 5 starting slots, too. It will probably work out for them ... but for $200 mn, you'd think you could do better than "probably."

Posted by: pj at April 6, 2006 10:26 AM

The most troubling thing about the first three games is that Joe Torre insists on playing Bernie. 0 for 4 last night and looked absolutely attrocious doing it. Three strikeouts and a weak groundout. They have got to get him out of the lineup and put in Andy Phillips. It's a joke.

As for the Sawx. Wow their lineup looks great. what was it last night, 2 runs? At Texas? Well, when your starting infield looks set for a collective ,700 ops, runs will be tough to come by.

I though Wright looked good. And the ball hit to center should've been caught, but then again we knew what that all we were getting from Damon was an improvement over Bernie, not a good fielding cf.

As for Beckett. He looked ok , pitching around trouble in the first 4 innings and then settling down.

I believe tho that his record last April was 4-1 or somesuch. Yes, yes it was, now that I check. With a 1.36 era, which was followed by 3-2,3.79/1-2,4.50/ 2-1,5.02/ 2-2, 4.30. When he was able to actually haul his stiff shoulder and blisters to the mound, that is.

He did bounce back in September with a 3-0 2.25

Of course, if he puts up those numbers this May-August, the Sawx will be looking up at the O's and Blue Jays in the standings. Which is as it should be.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at April 6, 2006 10:38 AM

Btw, they lost night b/c of the two errors. And in reality I think 8 of the 9 runs allowed should be seen as unearned. The ball that Jeter booted was an easy inning-ending dp ball, but they don't count the two outs, only the one, in assigning earned runs. Jeter's error was particularly egregious.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at April 6, 2006 10:42 AM

Yes, their defense is awful, maybe the worst in the majors.

Posted by: oj at April 6, 2006 10:48 AM

Argh--the one day in my life I root for the Yankees, they lose. And I was so looking forward to the M's standing alone atop the AL West, even if just for a day.

But if you want to talk bad defense, the Angels had 6 errors in 3 games. I wouldn't expect their defense to be worse than the Yankees, but so far there's no question.

Posted by: Timothy at April 6, 2006 11:26 AM

As noted above it is way too early to make judgements. Weren't the Sox running away with the AL East last year until the Yankees caught fire and beat them at the end?

Many pundits are predicting the Yankees will be unstoppable this year (one espner was saying they should set a new number of wins record this year) which doesn't make sense until the pitching/defense improve.

Posted by: AWW at April 6, 2006 12:03 PM
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