The New York Yankees Report

Interesting notes and thoughts about the New York Yankees; plus additional musings on baseball.

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Friday, May 23, 2003
 
THE YANKEES WIN A SERIES, THE YANKEES WIN A SERIES!
The Yankees won 2 of 3 games from the Sox to snap a streak of losing 3 series in a row. The Yankees only outscored the Sox 18-15 over the course of the series, but it was good enough for two wins. The Yanks are now 29-17 and lead the Red Sox by a game in the East. The Yankees improved their record against AL East teams to 11-4. They also improved their road record to a league best 18-6.

HITTING
For the series, the Sox actually out hit the Yankees:

Red Sox
AVG OBP SLG OPS
.311 .370 .505 .875

Yankees
AVG OBP SLG OPS
.260 .325 .394 .719

In addition, the Sox had more doubles (10 v. 3), more triples (2 v. 1), drew the same number of walks (15), and had fewer strikeouts (15 v. 24). But the Yanks outperformed the Sox in the one stat that matters, runs (18 v. 15). The Sox attack was led mainly by four players:

Bill Mueller
AVG OBP SLG OPS
.545 .583 .727 1.311, including 2 doubles, 2 runs scored

Nomar Garciaparra
AVG OBP SLG OPS
.417 .357 .833 1.190, including HR, 2 doubles, 5 RBI

Johnny Damon
AVG OBP SLG OPS
.333 .333 .733 1.067, including 2 triples, 2 doubles, 3 runs scored

Todd Walker
AVG OBP SLG OPS
.417 .500 .500 1.000

However, that was pretty much it for the Sox attack:

Rest of the Sox Team
AVG OBP SLG OPS
.208 .313 .321 .633

The above 4 hitters had 21 of the 32 Red Sox hits and scored 12 of their 18 runs.

Manny Ramirez had a terrible series, going 0-for-11, 3 K, 2 BB. So, it was a pretty top heavy attack for the Sox, because 3 of their 4 top hitters for the series were 1-2-3 in the order (Damon/Walker/Garciaparra).

Jorge Posada led all Yankee hitters for the series:

AVG OBP SLG OPS
.556 .692 .889 1.581, with HR and 5 runs scored

Alfonso Soriano broke out of his slump:

AVG OBP SLG OPS
.417 .500 .667 1.167, with HR, 2 RBI, and 3 runs scored

Jason Giambi didn’t break out of his season-long slump…

AVG OBP SLG OPS
.200 .231 .500 .731

… but he did have a HR and 5 RBI. So he did have some productive outs.

Amazingly, Manny Ramirez and Bernie Williams combined for an 0-for-24, 6 K.

PITCHING
Need more evidence that baseball’s a funny game? Well, here it is. Let’s compare the Yanks and Sox starting pitching for the series, except for ERA:

Sox
IP AVG OBP SLG OPS H/9 BB/9 K/9 HR/9
17 .219 .271 .375 .646 7.41 2.65 6.35 1.06

Yanks
IP AVG OBP SLG OPS H/9 BB/9 K/9 HR/9
17 2/3 .333 .386 .520 .906 12.7 3.06 6.62 1.02

The Sox starters lead in almost every category, especially hits. However, the Yanks starters actually had a better ERA than the Sox, 4.08 v. 5.19, more than a full run better. Weird, huh? I’d say the Sox starters had some bad luck. Also, Yank starters went 2-0 in the series v. the Sox 0-2.

Okay, let’s compare the bullpens:

Sox
IP AVG OBP SLG OPS ERA H/9 BB/9 K/9 HR/9
10 .325 .404 .425 .829 6.30 11.70 5.40 10.80 .90

Yanks
IP AVG OBP SLG OPS ERA H/9 BB/9 K/9 HR/9
8 1/3 .250 .333 .464 .798 7.56 7.56 5.40 2.16 0.00

Again, the Yanks numbers are better in general except for the ERA. However, this is a little deceptive. If you take out Jose Contreras dreadful outing, the Yanks bullpen was actually quite good:

AVG OBP SLG OPS ERA
.208 .250 .375 .625 2.57

I’d say neither bullpen was wonderful, but I might give a slight edge to Yanks bullpen. But it’s nothing to brag about either way.

The Yanks and Sox will renew their rivalry at the Stadium beginning on Monday. It’s likely that the winner will take over the early division lead.


PYTHAGORIAN RECORDS
With a win over the Sox Wednesday night, the Yankees are 29-17 and have a 1-game lead over the Sox, 28-18. However, here are Pythagorian Records for both the Yanks and Sox:

Yanks 30-16
Sox 25-21

The Yanks should have a 5-game lead over the Sox.

Now, I never know how to really interpret Pythagorian Records. Is this suggesting that the Sox have been lucky, while the Yanks have been less so?

How much effect do blowouts have on Pythagorian Records. Exactly half of the Yankees games have been decided by 4 runs or more. Their record in these games is an impressive 16-7. Meanwhile, the Sox record in blowouts is X-X. The Sox record in 1-run games is X-X. I guess at this time, I’m inclined to think the Sox have been lucky. Will their luck hold out for the rest of the season?




Thursday, May 22, 2003
 
SERIES PREVIEW: TORONTO BLUE JAYS
The Yanks head home where they open up a 7-game home stand against the Toronto Blue Jays. This is the third series this season against the Blue Jays, with the Yanks winning both, including a sweep to open up the season. The Yankees are 6-1 against the Blue Jays this year.

Oh, how things have changed since last the teams met. After their last meeting on April 17th the Yanks were 12-3, and the Blue Jays were 6-10. Since then both teams have gone 17-14. The Jays are 23-24, third in the East, trailing the Yankees by 6½ games.

The Blue Jays are in the midst of a 10-game road trip. They are 4-2 so far on the trip, dropping 2-of-3 from the White Sox, but sweeping the Royals. The Jays enter New York with 6 wins in their last 10 games.

Probable Pitching Matchups:

Game 1
Pettitte, 4-4, 4.47
Halladay, 4-2, 4.54

Game 2
Mussina, 7-2, 2.22
Escobar, 1-1, 7.08

Game 3
Wells, 6-1, 3.07
Lidle, 7-2, 4.68

Game 4
Weaver, 3-2, 5.15
Davis, 1-3, 5.50

HITTINGThe Jays win games with their bats. They currently lead the AL in hitting. They lead the league in batting average, OBP (tied with Yanks), slugging, OPS, hits, doubles, and most importantly, runs.

Runs/9 H/9 BB/9 K/9 HR/9 AVG OBP SLG OPS
5.98 10.36 3.66 7.19 1.15 .292 .360 .477 .838

So far this season against the Yankees, Carlos Delgado has lead the Jays attack:

AVG OBP SLG OPS
.348 .500 .652 1.152, including 2 HR, 7 BBs, and 5 RBI

Tom Wilson and Vernon Wells have also helped out:

Wilson
AVG OBP SLG OPS
.389 .450 .611 1.061, including 1 HR, 2 BBs, and 2 RBI

Wells
AVG OBP SLG OPS
.379 .375 .586 .961, including 6 doubles and 6 RBI

However, so far this season, Mike Mussina has tamed the Blue Jays:

W-L IP ERA AVG OBP SLG OPS
2-0 14 2.57 .204 .231 .327 .557

But the Blue Jays were able to rough up the bullpen considerably:

W-L IP ERA AVG OBP SLG OPS
0-1 19 6.16 .346 .438 .513 .950


PITCHING
Unfortunately for the Jays, their pitching has not been as good as their hitting. Coming into this series, the Jays are 12th in the league.

ERA H/9 BB/9 K/9 HR/9 AVG OBP SLG OPS
5.13 10.13 3.29 6.40 1.38 .279 .343 .466 .809

So far the Yanks have feasted on the Jays’ starting pitching:

W-L IP ERA AVG OBP SLG OPS
1-5 34 2/3 8.83 .329 .401 .630 1.031

DEFENSE
As woeful as the Jay’s pitching has been, their defense has been worse. They rank dead last in defense in the AL. They have committed a league-leading 40 errors, and are last in fielding percentage, with .977. The 40 errors have led to 29 unearned runs.

INJURIES
Eric Hinske took an MRI and revealed a deep bruise on his right hand. Might explain his slow start. SS Chris Woodward is day-to-day with a sore shoulder.

PROJECTED LINEUP
Likely lineup

Stewart LF
Walker 2B
Catalanotto RF
Wells CF
Delgado 1B
Myers C (Wilson v. LHP)
Phelps DH
Hinske 3B (Sometimes sits for Bordick, but not if Woodward is out)
Hudson 2B
Bordick SS



Wednesday, May 21, 2003
 
THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM?
When should a manager pull his starting pitcher? Why do managers seem to pull an effective starter only to see the bullpen blow it; or a manager tries to stretch that starter one extra inning only to blow up. It’s the classic second-guesser’s debate. And it’s an issue that seems no manager can be correct.

But really, can you somehow predict when a starter will lose his effectiveness? It doesn’t seem like a frequent topic of discussion, and yet it’s quite important.

I was thinking about this recently and had a completely unoriginal way to look at it. Many experts have spoken about the difficulty for a pitcher facing a hitter for the third time (and after) in a game. So, I thought it would be interesting to compare how the Yankee starters do the first two times through the order compared to the third and after.

Here are the combined starters’ totals (through the first 44 games this season):

First Two Times Through the Order
IP ERA AVG OBP SLG OPS H/9 BB/9 K/9 HR/9
194 3.43 .250 .292 .363 .655 8.58 1.81 8.54 .74

Third Time Through the Order and After
IP ERA AVG OBP SLG OPS H/9 BB/9 K/9 HR/9
104 3.38 .269 .311 .384 .695 9.69 2.16 5.19 .61

Basically, the Yankee starters are just as effective late in the game as they are early on. They give up an extra hit per nine, but actually give up fewer earned runs. The only noticeable decline is in strikeouts, which makes some sense.

Here are the numbers for each starter (first two times/third time and after):

Clemens
IP ERA AVG OBP SLG OPS H/9 BB/9 K/9 HR/9
40 3.15 .208 .281 .319 .601 6.75 2.93 10.58 .66
18 2/3 2.41 .273 .325 .429 .754 10.12 2.89 6.27 .96

Pettitte
IP ERA AVG OBP SLG OPS H/9 BB/9 K/9 HR/9
37 1/3 3.86 .287 .331 .387 .718 10.37 2.17 7.47 0.72
17 5.82 .278 .333 .389 .722 10.59 3.71 5.29 1.06

Mussina
IP ERA AVG OBP SLG OPS H/9 BB/9 K/9 HR/9
42 1/3 2.76 .223 .250 .350 .600 7.44 1.28 11.48 1.06
22 2/3 1.19 .190 .229 .253 .482 5.96 1.59 6.75 0.00

Wells
IP ERA AVG OBP SLG OPS H/9 BB/9 K/9 HR/9
40 3.38 .266 .278 .405 .683 9.45 0.00 5.18 1.13
27 1/3 2.63 .245 .270 .368 .638 8.56 0.99 4.61 0.66

Weaver
IP ERA AVG OBP SLG OPS H/9 BB/9 K/9 HR/9
34 1/3 4.19 .265 .322 .348 .670 9.18 2.88 7.60 0.00
18 1/3 5.89 .361 .404 .482 .886 14.73 2.45 2.95 0.49

So, how do we interpret these numbers? Can we learn anything from these numbers? No, not really, at least not yet. The reality is this sample size is just too small to make any claims. But for now I’m looking for trends which I can follow during the season.

The first trend, Clemens, Wells, and Mussina improve in the later innings, while Pettitte and Weaver decline. Sounds like the old adage “when facing a good pitcher, you have to get him early” could be true. Just look at Mussina’s numbers. They’re unreal third time through. Only his strikeouts are less.

So, why would some pitchers improve later in a game, while others decline. One obvious is a pitcher tires. Makes sense. But the two 40-year old starters on the team improve, while the two youngest decline.

Another possibility is the starter’s ability to throw many different pitchers for strikes, i.e. has a larger repertoire of pitches. The reason it’s harder to get a batter out for the third time is that he’s seen your stuff and you’ve fallen into a pattern by that point in the game. For example, if a pitcher has a small repertoire, he might have only one pitch he feels confident he can throw for a strike. Therefore, if he falls behind a hitter knows what to expect. Obviously, the larger repertoire a pitcher has, the better he can mix up his pitches and keep hitters guessing. The pattern above would seem to indicate that. Clemens and Mussina have four and five pitches that they can throw effectively. Meanwhile, Pettitte and Weaver are basically two-pitch pitchers.

Another explanation is just experience. Older pitchers know how to pitch. They mix their pitches, keep hitters guessing. Also, they can fall back on their experience to make in-game adjustments. If one pitch isn’t working they know how to compensate. All three of the Yankee pitchers above who improve have 19, 16, and 12 years of Major League experience. The two who decline have 8 and 4.

Like I said, it’s not enough information to really know if there’s something here. Someday, I’d love to be able to isolate which pitchers stay effective throughout the game versus those who don’t. For now, I’ll just keep track of this and look for patterns to see if I can learn anything. I’ll update the info on this site from time to time.

Of course, in the meantime, I’ll second-guess the manager along with everyone else, because that’s what makes baseball so much fun.

NO WALKS ALLOWED
Amazingly, David Wells has walked only 3 batters in 67 1/3 innings pitched. More amazingly, he’s hit more batters than walked, 4.




Tuesday, May 20, 2003
 
HOW THE WEST WAS LOST
Before the beginning of the season, I looked at the Yankee schedule and identified April 22nd to May 18th as a critical stretch. During this period, the Yankees would play 24 games against AL West opponents. Hands down, the AL West was the toughest division in baseball last year (keep in mind, the Rangers had a winning record against non-AL West teams last year) and was predicted by many to have three legitimate teams contending for the World Series.

Let’s look at the Yankees performance during this stretch.

At a Glance
The Yankees entered this stretch against AL West opponents with a record of 16-3. Hitting, pitching, defense… everything was clicking for the Yankees. During this grueling 24 game stretch the Yankees went 11-13. In other words, they survived.

Here’s the breakdown of the records

v. Angels 3-3
v. A’s 2-4
v. Rangers 2-4
v. Mariners 4-2

Home 4-8
Away 7-5

Let’s compare Yankee hitting before playing the AL West and versus the AL West.

Yankee Hitting Pre-AL West

Runs/G H/G BB/G K/G HR/G AVG OBP SLG OPS
7.05 10.79 4.74 6.00 1.95 .302 .381 .546 .927

Yankee Hitting v. AL West

Runs/G H/G BB/G K/G HR/G AVG OBP SLG OPS
4.88 8.79 4.25 6.71 1.13 .254 .342 .399 .741

As you can everything is down – runs, hits, walks, homeruns. What’s very noticeable is the slugging. Slugging percentage is down 147 points. In the 19 games preceding play against the AL West, the Yankees hit 45 doubles, 5 triples, and 37 homeruns. In the 24 games against the AL West the Yankees hit only 35 doubles, 2 triples, and 27 homeruns.

Now let’s compare the pitching over the same period.
Pre-AL West Opponents Hitting v. Yankees

Runs/G H/G BB/G K/G HR/G AVG OBP SLG OPS
3.26 9.21 2.47 8.21 .32 .262 .318 .365 .682

AL West Opponents Hitting v. Yankees

Runs/G H/G BB/G K/G HR/G AVG OBP SLG OPS
4.92 9.25 2.46 6.67 .92 .266 .317 .400 .717

Runs and HRs are up, strikeout are down, but otherwise everything else is pretty consistent. The fall off here is not as dramatic as with the hitting. I believe the data suggests that most of the Yankees’ recent troubles stem from hitting, not pitching.

Let’s go a little deeper into the numbers and try to find what exactly went wrong and when. Because the pitching really hasn’t fallen off, I’ll mostly look at the Yankee hitting.

FIRST 9 GAMES
On the morning of April 22nd, the Yankees were basking in the glory of their 4-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins. Their record stood at 16-3 and they had a comfortable 3 game lead over the Red Sox in the AL East.

The Yankees continued their dominance by taking 2-of-3 from the Angels in Anaheim, 2-of-3 from the Rangers in Texas, and 2-of-3 from the Mariners at home. The Yankees were led by Soriano, Posada, and Mondesi:

Soriano
AVG OBP SLG OPS
.410 .489 .692 1.181, including 3 HRs, 2 doubles, 6 RBI

Posada
AVG OBP SLG OPS
.355 .444 .645 1.090, including 3 HRs, 8 RBI

Mondesi
AVG OBP SLG OPS
.333 .421 .606 1.027, including 3 HRs, 9 RBI

MEET THE A’s
The early part of the Yankee season turned on May 3rd at home against the Oakland A’s. After beating the A’s 5-3 in the first game, the Yankees dropped the next two, losing their first series this season. It was the first time all season that the Yankee offense was shut down

AVG OBP SLG OPS
.165 .283 .258 .541, 8 runs scored for the series with 2 HRs

But the Yankees seemed to have recovered their hitting stroke in the next series, taking 2-of-3 from the Mariners in Seattle:

AVG OBP SLG OPS
.410 .489 .692 1.181, including 3 HRs, 6 RBI

The Yankees stood at 9-6 and had a great opportunity to end up over .500 against the AL West.

This is when everything went wrong, hitting more than pitching. The Yanks finished this stretch 2-7, losing 3 straight series for the first time since 1999, culminating in a humiliating sweep by the Rangers at home.

Here’s a record of the Yankee hitting decline:

Runs/G H/G BB/G K/G HR/G AVG OBP SLG OPS
1.93 3.87 1.87 4.27 .60 .214 .291 .354 .646

Now, you might expect these numbers when facing the A’s, who have the 2nd best pitching staff in the league. But how do you explain this horrendous decline versus the Angels and Rangers, who were 6th and 14th in pitching respectively? Obviously, the A’s pitching really effected the Yankee hitting, even after they left town.

So, who’s struggling right now for the Yankees? Just about everyone. Here’s the difference in OPS of the last 3 series (A’s, Angels, and Rangers) as compared to the Pre-AL West OPS (minimum 15 ABs):

OPS DECLINE
Soriano, -.513
Mondesi, -.447
Zeile, -.349
Williams, -.329
Johnson, -.227
Matsui, -.224
Posada, -.150
Giambi, -.109
Ventura, .017

Only Ventura hasn’t declined. Also, these numbers are a little deceiving. Soriano hasn’t necessarily declined more (or hurt the team more) than Giambi. His decline is partly exaggerated by his excellent start.


Now let’s look at the difference between the Pre-AL West OPS and AL West OPS for each Yankee:

Flaherty, -.386
Trammell, -.371
Williams, -.366
Wilson, -.303
Soriano, -.269
Mondesi, -.263
Matsui, -.181
Zeile, -.174
Posada, -.123
Ventura, -.122
Giambi, -.017
Johnson, .012
Almonte, .047

As you can see, only Johnson and Almonte didn’t decline. Again, Giambi’s number is deceiving, his slump just continued through this bad stretch. But as you can see 3 of the top 4 are role players. So, one explanation of the decline versus the AL West is that the role players stopped hitting.

THE GOOD NEWS
Part of the good news is the Yankees don’t see an AL West opponent again until the end of July, and they only have 12 more games against them. So in essence, the Yanks just finished the brutal part of their scheduled and survived. The plan was to split with the AL West, Boston, and Toronto, and then beat up on everyone else. So far, the plan is going fine. They’re 11-13 v. AL West, 1-0 v. Red Sox, 6-1 v. Blue Jays, and 10-2 v. everybody else. So, despite the terrible slide recently the Yanks are still in very good position. In fact, despite this horrible slide, the Yanks are still in first place.

What’s unfortunate about this stretch is the opportunity lost. The Yanks started out 6-3 the AL West and finishing up 11-13. The Yanks were rolling along and building a cushion. Now, things have changed. They’re still fine, but there’s no room for error against the lesser teams.

YANKEES HANDLE A-ROD, FOR THE MOST PART
In five of six games this year, Yankee pitching has completely shut down Alex Rodriguez:

AVG OBP SLG OPS
.071 .133 .107 .240

However, in the other game (Game 3 in Texas) A-Rod was well… A-Rod, going 5-for-5, with 6 RBI.

KEEPIN’ IT IN THE PARK
Las Vegas has a line for everything. I wonder what the over-under was for homeruns hit during the Yankees/Rangers weekend series. Both teams are 1-2 in the AL in homeruns hit with six of the top ten-homerun hitters residing in either New York or Texas. In addition, coming into the series both teams were combining for 3.4 homeruns/game (Yanks with 1.65 p/game and the Rangers with 1.74 p/game). Amazingly, during the series both teams combined for only 2 homeruns. In their previous series in Arlington, the teams combined to hit 6 homeruns. Wish I had put a c-note down on that under, would have paid off nicely.

JETER HOMESTAND
Jeter hit safely in 5-of-the-6 games during his first homestand this season (and has now hit safely in 6 of 7 games this season). Jeter went:

AVG OBP SLG OPS
.308 .333 .385 .718, including 2 doubles, 2 RBI.






Monday, May 19, 2003
 
SERIES RECAP: TEXAS RANGERS
The Texas Rangers swept the Yankees this weekend, improving to 4-2 against the Pinstripes this season. It was the first time this season that the Yankees have been swept; and they have now dropped their previous three series and four of the last five.

The large bulk of the blame for the weekend sweep has to go to the Yankee offense. While the pitching and defense wasn’t stellar, it was decent. What wasn’t decent was Yankee hitting versus the worst pitching staff in the league (or at least was until this series):

AVG OBP SLG OPS
.202 .287 .275. .562

That’s right, a .275 slugging percentage!

Just look at the individual OPS for the series:

Ventura 1.128
Mondesi .748
Soriano .600
Williams .593
Giambi .557
Matsui .500
Flaherty .400
Jeter .368
Trammell .333
Posada .250
Zeile .111

Coming into the series, Ranger pitching was allowing a league-worst 6.6 runs per game. But for the series, the Yankees could only manage 2.7 per game. Frankly, the Yankees made the worst staff in the league look like Cy Young contenders. Pick any statistic and it looks bad for the Yankees, but one that really stands out is walks. I told you in the preview that in the last series the Rangers handed out 24 walks, while the Yankees permitted just 4. This time around, both teams drew 12 walks. So, the Rangers drew 300% more walks, while the Yankees drew 50% fewer.

The only Yankee hitter worth mentioning was Robin Ventura:

AVG OBP SLG OPS
.417 .462 .667 1.128, including 1 HR, 2 RBI

That was the only Yankee homer hit in the series and the 2 RBI tied Ventura for the team lead for the series (with Mondesi).
The Yankees pitching wasn’t great, but they did keep the team in each game. The staff ERA for the series was 4.70. The pitching also didn’t get much help from the defense. In the last two games of the series, the Yankees committed 4 errors, leading to 4 unearned runs, more than the Yankee’s total for those two games.

One of the only positives this weekend was that Yankee pitching gave up only one homerun to the league leaders in that category.

As a team, the Rangers only hit:

AVG OBP SLG OPS
.250 .270 .389 .659

led by Rafael Palmeiro:

AVG OBP SLG OPS
.500 .615 .600 1.215

Hank Blalock had only 2 hits in the series, but both were base-clearing doubles, good for 6 RBI. That’s some timely hitting.

But ultimately, it’s hard to fault the pitching when the offense was so awful.

In essence, a horrible weekend and it’s clearly the lowest point of the season so far.

The Yankees have one more series with the Rangers in early August. This also ends a grueling stretch in which the Yanks played 24 games versus AL West opponents. They play only 12 more games versus the AL West the rest of the way.

SERIES PREVIEW: BOSTON RED SOX
The Yankees now turn their attention to the AL East, starting with a short three-game road trip to Boston.

This is the first meeting between the Yankees and the Red Sox this season. And both come in 27-16, tied for the division lead. The Yanks arrive in Boston obviously scuffling, 8-12 in their last 20 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox are 12-8 over the same span. The Red Sox lost two of three from the Angels this weekend, but before that swept the Rangers, who just swept the Yankees in turn.

The Red Sox record against teams that the Yanks have played is 19-13.

The scheduled pitching match ups for the series:

Game 1 Record
Wells 5-1
Fossum 4-1

Game 2 Record
Weaver 3-2
Martinez 4-2

Game 3 Record
Clemens 5-2
Wakefield 4-1

Originally, RHP John Burkett was in line to start instead of LHP Casey Fossum. But manager Grady Little took advantage of an off day to shuffle the schedule. So far it’s worked, Burkett beat the Angels yesterday 5-3.

HITTING
Since 32 of the 42 games that the Red Sox have played have been against Yankee opponents, I think it’s fair to compare stats. Here are the offensive stats for both teams:

SOX
Runs/9 K/9 BB/9 HR/9 AVG OBP SLG OPS
6.12 5.71 3.64 1.14 .289 .355 .471 .826

YANKS
Runs/9 K/9 BB/9 HR/9 AVG OBP SLG OPS
5.98 6.57 4.57 1.57 .275 .362 .468 .830

Overall, pretty evenly matched. Sox strikeout a little less, but the Yanks walk a little more. Slugging average is very close despite the Yankees hitting 18 more homeruns. That’s because the Sox have hit 31 more doubles and 5 more triples.

Suprisingly, the Sox are 3rd in steals with 29 (29 for 39, 74%); while, the Yanks are 6th with 25 (25 for 32, 78%).

PITCHING
Here’s how the pitching matches up:

SOX
ERA H/9 BB/9 K/9 HR/9 AVG OBP SLG OPS
5.26 9.67 3.23 6.88 0.97 .273 .339 .423 .762

YANKS
ERA H/9 BB/9 K/9 HR/9 AVG OBP SLG OPS
4.20 9.25 2.47 7.37 0.65 .264 .314 .382 .697


By every measure the Yankee staff is better than the Red Sox. That explains why the Yanks are 3rd in pitching and the Sox are 10th. Okay, let’s get to what every wants to know, which bullpen is worse:

SOX
ERA H/9 BB/9 K/9 HR/9
5.31 10.88 3.18 6.37 1.13

YANKS
ERA H/9 BB/9 K/9 HR/9
4.88 10.22 4.03 7.13 0.47

Except for the strikeouts and walks, the Yank bullpen is better. But frankly, I wouldn’t be doin’ any braggin’ about these numbers. The only thing you can say for the Yanks bullpen is that they’re keeping the ball in the park.

DEFENSE
Defensively, the Yanks and Sox are 6th and 8th in the AL respectively. There’s no real difference in the fielding percentage (Yanks .982 v. Sox .981), while the Sox are slightly better in Range Factor (36.57 v. 36.02). The Sox have committed 30 errors, which led to 20 unearned runs; while the Yanks have 16 unearned runs from 27 errors. However, Erik Almonte committed 9 of the Yankee errors (33%) for 4 unearned runs, and he’s now in AAA Columbus.

INJURIES
The Sox have been healthy most of the year. Right now, Chad Fox is the only regular on the DL. However, Trot Nixon left the game today with tightness in both hamstrings. He might sit out tomorrow night as a precaution. Also, there was some concern about Pedro’s groin, but he pitched brilliantly Thursday night (I was at the game) and I don’t anticipate this to be much of a factor.

Meanwhile, the Yanks will be without Nick Johnson for the series with a stress fracture in his right hand.

PROJECTED LINEUP
The Red Sox employ several different lineups, almost considering more who their own starting pitcher is as a deciding factor as the opposing pitcher. This is a rough guess of what you could see:

Damon CF (might be Mueller 3B against Wells)
Walker 2B
Nomar SS
Ramirez LF
Ortiz 1B (look for Millar in this spot against Wells, position will depend if Nixon plays)
Mueller/Hillenbrand 3B (Hillenbrand will also start at 1B)
Nixon/Millar RF (if he sits look for Millar in RF; Millar would likely hit 5th)
Giambi DH (will definitely play if Nixon is out)
Mirabelli C (likely to get 2 of the 3 starts, Fossum and Wakefield)

Frankly, Yankees/Red Sox is always exciting and with the division lead on the line it will be an exciting week. Being a Yankee fan living in Boston this can either be a great week or a horrible week. Regardless, the Yankee hat comes out this week and I expect some comments and looks. It doesn’t get any better than that.

PREVIEW: Analysis of the Yankees performance versus the AL West.