June 28, 2006


Pretty much a textbook illustration of how improved the Red Sox are in 2006--a dominating pitching performance from their number three starter, Josh Beckett (10-3; 5-0 at Fenway), with a couple meaningless homeruns mixed in; a homer from the red-hot Alex Gonzalez (who may have passed Hanley Ramirez in ops tonight); and they tie the AL mark for most consecutive errorless games (one behind the major league record).

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 28, 2006 9:36 PM

Beckett was solid -- 7 2/3, 2 runs, 7 Ks, 1 BB against one of the better offenses -- as he'll continue to be. He's learned from his earlier struggles and his ERA is going to decline steadily the rest of the way.

Yankees fans should be grateful they have ARod. Without him, they would have been ten games back last year and would be out of the playoffs already this year.

Posted by: pj at June 28, 2006 10:37 PM

I have to admit to feeling a little bad for Pedro.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 28, 2006 10:58 PM

What struggles? He had consecutive bad starts against the Yankees and Blue Jays, two of the best offensive clubs in baseball.

Posted by: oj at June 28, 2006 11:33 PM

A-Rod is probably the AL player you'd most want up to bat in innings 1-5. It's those noticable failures in innings 6 and beyond that led to the catcalls, and why today's homer against the Braves was such a change of pace (though if you can't do something against a pitcher with a 2-9 record on June 28, you really should start thinking about donating part of your salary to charity).

On the other hand, yesterday was the first anniversary of Dan Shaughnessy's "Stick a fork in the Yanks, they're finished" column, so hubris probably shouldn't be so quickly shown by Sox fans right now.

Posted by: John at June 29, 2006 12:30 AM

oj - Beginning April 27 at Cleveland, over the next 9 starts he pitched 47 innings and gave up 35 runs, 32 earned, for an ERA of 6.13. Take out the weak hitting teams (e.g. 7 innings 1 run to Baltimore May 15, and 6 innings no runs to Tampa Bay May 25) and in the other 7 starts he had an ERA of 8.2. I will guarantee Beckett felt like he was struggling for most of this period.

John - I believe ARod currently leads the AL in game-winning RBI. Yankees fans are just prejudiced. Jeter can do no wrong, and ARod can't meet their demands, no matter how much ARod outperforms Jeter.

The Yankees are a tough, tough team, but with all the injuries, are they really good enough and deep enough to hang with the Red Sox, Tigers, and White Sox (even the Twins?) for a full season? You have to respect the Yankees, but they're likely to fall a bit short.

Posted by: pj at June 29, 2006 8:46 AM

pj --

The GWRBI stat is misleading in that it doesn't tell you what inning that RBI occurred in. One of the N.Y. columnists a couple of weeks ago did an early inning/late inning comparison of A-Rod vs. other Yankee hitters, and the results were not pretty (I can't find the link right now, but here's a link to a boston.com story from last year on the MVP vote that basically says the same thing in comparing Rodriguez and Ortiz).

The Cano injury really hurts -- you just can't lose that many bats out of your lineup at one time -- while the team's obsession with signing up someone else's pitchers instead of developing their own may finally catch up with them. But they should be able to grab at least one pitcher off one of the non-contenders within the next 4-6 weeks who will be reinvigorated to be back in a pennant race, as Small was last year, before reality sets back in the following season.

Posted by: John at June 29, 2006 9:31 AM

John - The "clutch" statistics have a common failing, that they're small sample sizes and don't necessarily mean that much. But when you start cherry-picking the statistics to find ones to make your case, ignoring all contrary statistics, and drilling down to clutch situations within a few specific innings in order to condemn a player, you're prejudiced. The fact remains ARod has better batting statistics with runners in scoring position than he does overall, and he's done more to help the Yankees win games than any other player. Runs in the 6th inning count as much as runs in the 9th.

If you've got Mariano Rivera in the bullpen, what's so bad about taking the lead in the 6th?

Posted by: pj at June 29, 2006 9:47 AM

14 of the runs were in the two starts. Other than them he's lost one game. When you're one of the best starters in the game that does seem like struggling. It isn't.

Posted by: oj at June 29, 2006 10:05 AM

I hate sports talk, but would love to be able to justify (to myself) purchasing the "Complete Calvin and Hobbes."

Keep that ad up there, so I can keep working on it.

Posted by: erp at June 29, 2006 10:13 AM

Yes, he is one of the best starters in the game. But he's better now, and will be better the rest of this year if he stays healthy, than he was during that 9 game stretch.

Posted by: pj at June 29, 2006 12:04 PM


Posted by: oj at June 29, 2006 12:09 PM

pj --

With the Yanks' old middle relief corps, the runs in the sixth were as important as the runs in the 9th. With the middle relief corps they've had since A-Rod arrived, they're finding themselves far more in need of runs in the seventh inning and beyond in order to win.

A-Rod would have looked a lot better to Yanks fans if he had come to the team around 1998 or so, and would have been under less pressure, because back then they didn't have to worry about late-game hits as much -- most games were pretty much put away by the seventh inning, so fans and sportwriters didn't have to care as much about how well Jeter, Bernie, Paul or Jorge hit in their final at bat or two.

Posted by: John at June 29, 2006 12:11 PM

We'll trade you Mike Lowell for him.

Posted by: oj at June 29, 2006 12:17 PM