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Baseball Told the Right WayIn-depth Baseball analysis on various topics regarding the sport we all love!
Stay calm people, its only April.
I just finished listening (donations to Curt's MLB Extra Innings fund are now being accepted) to another AMAZING matchup between the Red Sox and Yankees. Pedro Martinez was at his best, working out of a couple small jams, and slightly outdueling Javier Vazquez. Look at their lines from today,
The Red Sox bullpen extended its scoreless streak to 24 2/3 innings. You really have to love that improvement over last year. Speaking of the bullpen, its really great that Tito is gaining confidence in his best relievers. Francona left Foulke in for two innings in a tie game on Saturday, and left Scott Williamson, who was throwing real well, in for a two inning save on Sunday. Those two guys are going to make a huge difference for the Sox, especially if Francona continues his trend of 'non-traditional' bullpen useage (where are you now Shaugnessy?).
Things are looking good for Red Sox fans. The Sox just put 4.5 games between them and the Yankees and are sitting atop the AL East. The Sox improve to 12-6, after starting an infield of David McCarty, Cesar Crespo, Pokey Reese, and Mark Bellhorn today. Nomar, Trot, and BH Kim are steadily making progress back from the DL and should all be back sometime in May. They'll be back in time for a month of playing Toronto, Tampa Bay, and the powerhouse AL Central teams, while the Yankees have a month of playing Oakland, Seattle, and Anaheim, including two west coast swings. If the Yankees don’t come out of their collective slump soon they could be in an even bigger hole come June.
The Yankees (with a few exceptions) are collectively playing like the '03 Tigers. Maybe we can temper those 105 win projections a little, but this team is too good to be sitting at 8-11. They may not get to 100 wins, but Mussina will be back in form in no time, Arod and Jeter will start hitting, and this team will be back in the running by the end of the year. However, the one BIG result of these two series is that George Steinbrenner is undoubtedly fuming. There are some changes coming to the Yankees, and I guarrantee when the Sox return to the Bronx at the end of June, they will be facing a different Yankee team. I have money saying at least Lofton and Contreras are no longer with the team. When George starts making decisions on-tilt, he generally puts unreasonable demands on Brian Cashman (i.e. Raul Mondesi) and there's always the potential for Torre and Cashman to be gone in a month.
I can't remember the Red Sox ever taking six of seven games from the Yankees in such a short period of time. I can't remember NY fans ever booing Derek Jeter. I expect them to boo Arod, but Jeter? Their love-child? I can't ever remember Yankee fans with the look of panic on their faces. As a Red Sox fan, I know better than to get excited in April, but today is a good day. This Yankee team scares me, and I want them buried as soon as possible, and so far the Red Sox are doing exactly that.