August 21, 2006
BETTER IN BOSTON:
Yanks finish Boston beatdown, sweep five-game series (AP, 8/21/06)
The New York Yankees completed an unimaginable five-game sweep at Fenway Park, beating Boston 2-1 behind six shutout innings by Cory Lidle and extending their AL East lead to a season-high 6Â½ games over the Red Sox.
After bashing Boston in outscoring them 47-25 over three days and two early morning, the Yankees relied on their pitching to win the sleepy series finale.
Manager Joe Torre shouted in the Yankees' dugout and exchanged hearty handshakes with his coaches after the hard-to-believe sweep.
The Red Sox hadn't been swept in a five-game series since the Cleveland Indians did it in 1954. The Yankees swept Boston in five games in New York in 1951 and at Fenway in '43.
It was 28 years ago that the Yankees came to Fenway in September with a four-game deficit and left tied for the division lead -- a series remembered in baseball as the "Boston Massacre." New York, which had trailed by as many as 14 games, won the AL East in a one-game playoff settled when Bucky Dent's popup settled into the net above the Green Monster.
That's the beauty of being a Sox fan. Any team could have lost three or four well played games and no one would ever remember the series. But there's an epic beauty to a loss of this thoroughness, such that twenty years from now they'll still talk about it. Given that neither of these teams are good enough to win it all, such a memorable weekend was well worthwhile.
Posted by Orrin Judd at August 21, 2006 5:25 PM
You're really reaching this time.
I'd say he's just Panglossing over the situation.
ESPN was calling this the "Boston Massacre." Predictable but still funny.
Who else gets titles for their disasters?
Your Cubness is showing.
It's not a title for Boston's disaster, but for New York's triumph.
This hurt but then again anyone paying attention knew the Sox had too many holes to go all the way. Ditto for the Yanks but come playoff time they only have to put together 11 good games to win it all. And the ChiSox and Detroit have shown that they can be beat lately.
It just hasn't beena good year for anything the New York Times touches,has it?
Ed, Hence the condolences from a lifelong Cubs fan. Used to root for the Yankees as a kid to vex the Sox fans. Worked every year except '59. Hate the Yanks now, but can apreciate Red Sox Behavioral Disorder.
At least for a few months we won't have to listen to the "Red Sawx Nation" calling other teams "overrated" when they lose a few games. But the Damnyankees need to remember that, unlike the rest of the teams, they won't be facing any Eastern Division pitching in the playoffs (or the Mariners, either).
To the contrary, the Yankees weaknesses were on ample display.
Of course I meant the White Sox, not the Sawx.
What a weekend. Everything I've said all year about the Sawx was shown to be true in epic proportion.
And even the Sawx fans at Sons of Sam Horn, as well as the dude who wrote that book that OJ loves, are starting to get it:
Sawx nation has been taken in by a con man named Theo. A rebuilding year? A youth movement? C'mon.
The cream of the Sawx youth movement is now playing in Cleveland, Florida, San Diego etc.
They traded their top prospects last winter for a bag of beans in Home-Run Josh and Coco Chanel. Now all they've got left is a so-called relief ace who couldn't get a left-handed hitter out to save his life (Hansen), a middle-reliever who looks completely worthless (MDC) and a top reliever who may or may not be a quality starter (Pamplemousse) -- based on his record when he goes more than one inning, I'd say he has closer all over his future.
As for the Yanks, I think they're lineup can beat up on almost anything they'd face in the playoffs.
They've played very well against the White Sox and Tigers this season. Starting pitching is still a question mark, given RJ's lack of consistency and the fact that Moose and Wang have begun to look tired of late, but I think the Yanks could outslug both the Tigers and White Sox in the playoffs.
The former have a weak lineup that I don't think can expose the Yanks pitching, while the latter have starting pitching with even worse question marks than the Yanks.
The only team I truly fear is the Angels, because we just cannot beat them. Luckily they seems to have faded somewhat and the A's have built a lead.
Papelbon moves into the rotation with Hansen closing and Delcarmen setting him up. Wily Mo, Pena, Pedroia, Lowrie & Ellsbury are all regulars by the end of next year. Beckett and Lester join Papelbon.
It's a team built for the long term, not for 06. They got unlucky because they played over their heads and the Yankees got hurt, so it seemed to fans like a contending year.
The problem with the long term outlook is that in 3 years if it all comes together (and that's a big if) Manny and Ortiz may not be the 40+ home run/140+ RBI guys they are now. Plus this might be Schilling's last effective year given his age and history of injuries. A lot of people may look back and wish that they had gone for a championship while the Sox still had three superstars that could have carried them all the way. And as for Beckett I'm not sure why you have any confidence in him. He had one great October in 2003 and outside of that he hasn't done much.
Yes, Schilling and Manny will be gone. Manny to the Angels or Mets this offseason--he's too high maintenance.
But there are at most two guys on this Yankee squad who'll be contributing in '08.
First, as Seth Mnookin recently pointed out, would a team building for the future have traded away Marte and put the aging Lowell at 3rd; traded Hanley Ramirez and put another veteran, the awful AGon, at ss; and trade away their 2nd best pitching prospect, behind Pamplemousse,in Anibal Sanchez?
Face it, they traded their youth and replaced it with the old and decrepit, and now Theo et al are trying to cover for their horrible mistakes by claiming their building with youth.
There's nothing left in the system however.
Ellsbury, please, he'd be fourth on the cf depth chart in the Yankee org.
Hansen? When exactly is he going develop a pitch to get lefties out? His splits are absolutely dreadful.
Even Pamplemousse, Schilling's supposed replacement as ace, can't pitch more than one inning without getting lit up these days.
WilyMo? Great plate discipline. See if gets a pitch in the zone again this season. And his defense, ouch.
Pedroia? The Sawx have such faith in his quality that they tried to pick up Julio Lugo, also the wrong side of 30, and convert him into a 2nd baseman.
Lefty Lester? Looks a fifth starter at best. And that's if he develops command of his pitches, which it's hard to see him doing at this level, especially given his less than stellar track record in the minors. If it's going to happen, he'll need to spend the better part of next season in AAA learning to throw strikes.
Beckett? Dear lord, you still think he's an AL pitcher?
Here's a couple of comments today and yesterday from some astute Sawx fans at the Sons of Sam Horn thread on Theo's "long-term plan", in response to a poster listing some of the same "prospects" you noted as the Sawx future:
(1)"Thanks, amfox, that is very helpful! And sadly, it just confirms my belief that we have a decent system right now but not a great one, and that championship or even playoff caliber team is not likely to be built around our homegrown talent anytime in the next four or five years without considerable help from trades and the FA market."
(2)"Exactly GCPT, what AmFox should now do is make a similar table of likely minor league contributors for the Yankees, Blue Jays, White Sox, Tigers, Twins, and Angels. Those touting the wonders of Theo Epstein's farm system would see that we are behind every single one of those teams in that department and falling further behind because of the black holes at AAA and AA as a result of the busts named Beckett and Crisp.
"And that's one major thing that stands out about that chart to me. Yeah, we've got some players having decent seasons in low-A ball (Bowden, Bucholtz); but every team has those kinds of players every year. There's nothing out of the ordinary at all about any of them. I remember being all excited about Rick Riccobono in low-A!
"The other thing that stands out is how many of those people are relief pitchers. This is a team that supposedly puts a lot of stock in Baseball Prospectus; well wasn't it BP that coined the term TINSTAARPP (There is no such thing as a relief pitching prospect!)? So, how much stock should we put in this supposedly wonderful group of young pitchers, when none of them have enough stuff or stamina to survive as starters in AA, let alone the major leagues?"
The Sawx youth plan is a mirage.
Meanwhile the Yanks already have 2 homegrown everday players in Melky (just 22 last week)and Cano (23) who are well under 25 yrs of age. There's no one in the Sawx system who will ever be 1/2 the players those 2 are already. Remember, Melky at 22 is a year younger than Ellsbury, and after a poor June has put up better numbers in July and August as a major leaguer than Ellsbury has in AA ball!
They also have in Wang a pitcher coming into his prime, who, unlike, Pamplemousse, has shown he succeed at the major league level as a starter.
Eric Duncan still looks like a major league player by 2008. They've got 2 top of the rotation guys in AA in Hughes and Clippard, you'll see them in 08, and another in Christian Garcia who's probably a year behind.
And, in the words of the White Sox scouts with whom Hawk Harrelson consulted before the Sox/Yankees series a few weeks ago, the Yankees system is "stacked" with position players. Most notably Tabata, but also the likes of Battle, Austin Jackson, and Marcos Vechionacci who are all kids, 19 and under, and who'll probably being seeing major league time by the time they're Melky's age, ie 21-22.
It's a pinstriped future my friend.
On the plus side, tickets will be easier to get at Fenway.
The hardest thing in baseball is a #1 starter and getting Beckett is certainly worth a pitching prospect and a completely interchangeable DR ss (note that his offense is Gonzo's after his hot start and he can't carry Gonzo's glove). Papelbon, Lester, and Hansen were the three best arms in the system and they held onto them.
Coco's injury has hurt him, but he'll be fine next year. I'd have kept Marte though and just let Ellsbury hit .180 this year. Worked for the White Sox with Anderson
The problem is that Beckett isn't even close to a number 1 starter now. At this rate he's lucky to find work as 5th starter. Theo rolled the dice and lost.
Offensively, Hanley's already better than AGon. AGon's lifetime ops is under 700. Hanley's hot start was entirely offset by a dreadful June. But that's to be expected for a 22 yr old rookie. Since then he's rebounded with an .832 ops in July. I suspect he'll put up a solid .800 ops for some years and have a very steady career.
Meanwhile, it's defensively that it's a wash, with AGon putting up a typically subpar 96 RATE and Hanley a similar 95. But AGon's a vet and has only a 94 career RATE, while Hanley's a rookie and might well improve. After all Jeter was fielding below 90 Rate during the championship seasons, but has now become an avg, and last year even well above avg, fielder. 108 RATE last year, 100 this season.
In addition, of course, Hanley's salary is 327,000 vs. AGon's 2.7 mil. And the former is almost 7 years younger than the latter.
Bottom line -- you've got an inferior, older, ss who's terrible offensively and below avg in the field with no upside and a pitcher getting paid top of the rotation money who can't even put up bottom of the rotation numbers, especially when it counts.
Beckett will be fine, if they'd let Mirabelli catch him he'd be fine now.
All they wanted was a placeholder at ss until their own guys are ready.
The BoSox gambled this year on a bunch of unreliable/aging but talented pitchers to tide them over 'till the kids were ready (without tying up the whole payroll for the next 5 years), and came up snake eyes.
Schilling's fine, and Beckett has been tolerably ok; but Foulke, Wells, Clement (!), Wakefield...
They got this far with smoke and mirrors and a too-good-to-believe start from Papelbon. If they can somehow sneak into the playoffs they could do some real damage, but it's too much to expect.
Except that it was ridiculously good seasons from Lowell, Agon and Lorretta that kept them on top for so long.
The one big mistake you can lay at Theo's door is that, given the chance to finally bring in a decent catcher to straighten out the pitching staff, he added Javy Lopez's bat instead.