September 16, 2004

Boston: You Can't Win

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So I’m sitting in class this past Monday night and the kid sitting next to me has a Red Sox hat on. I always love to chat baseball, so I strike up a conversation with him, and after telling him that I am a huge Yankee fan, he tells me, “I really think it’s our year. I think that the Sox will take the division and then beat the Cards in the Series.” All kidding aside… I almost shit myself.

Boston fans, let me give you a little memo — your team can’t win, and frankly, I’m sick of hearing otherwise. The Yankees have 26 championships in their illustrious history, the Sox haven’t gotten one since 1918. Why? It’s got to be the killer B’s — think about it, you sold the Babe, Bucky took you out in ’78, Buckner booted the ball against the Mets, and Boone gave me the greatest sports moment in my life to date.

But let’s not dwell on the past, let’s talk about this season’s “race”. To me, the Sox simply aren’t ready to take over the top spot. On Tuesday, Pedro was on the hill at Fenway against the Devil Rays and their rookie starter Scott Kazmir, making just his fourth major-league start. The 20-year-old Kazmir pitched six shutout innings for the win. You just can’t win the division when you lose to garbage teams with a rookie starter at home with your ace on the mound.

Now I know the fools from Franklin or Newton, or whatever other suburb of Baaaaston (read with a Boston accent), will say, “Not only do the Yankees’ pitching stink, but they have nobody hitting over .300 in their lineup, and Jeter swallows.”

I’d respond first by laughing in your face, and second by telling you just how superior the Yanks are, and how they are getting hot just at the right time.

El Duque has been amazing, going 8-0 with a 2.49 ERA, while giving up just 57 hits in 72 1/3 innings pitched. Mike Mussina and Javier Vazquez, who have 25 wins combined, have pitched eight and seven scoreless innings over the past two days, respectively. Mussina has been especially impressive over his last three starts, surrendering just three runs in 23 innings. So let’s do the math — the Yankees have three strong starting pitchers, and the Sox have Pedro and Schilling. So which team was that who you said had the edge in a post-season series?

Let’s move on to the lineup. Yes, you’re right, the Yanks have nobody over .300, but look closer. Sheffield is at .298 with a .402 OBP, 34 homers and 113 RBI, Matsui has 26 homers and 99 RBI, and remember when Jeter was batting .189 after the first month of the season? Look again, he’s at .288 with 21 homers. Throw in A-Rod’s 33 homers, Posada’s .403 OBP, and a healthy Giambi in there, and suddenly the Cardinals lineup doesn’t look as potent anymore.

You’re right though, Boston fans, for the postseason you need a strong bullpen and solid bench players to come through in clutch spots. How about Gordon’s 2.33 ERA for the eighth inning and Mariano’s 49 saves for the ninth? Sound good? What about Ruben Sierra and Tony Clark who each have 16 homers to come off the bench? Face it Boston, you just can’t compare.

I mean, what’s your next argument, that you guys have six more games against the Yanks and you are 8-5 against them this season? That’s true, but six of those eight wins came in April when the Yanks still had jet-lag from the Japan, and the last time you came to the Bronx you were swept.

But you’re right there are still six more games and anything can happen. The problem is the Yankees are now four games up on you.

What’s that? You’re confident of your post-season chances even if you are the wild-card? Maybe in the first round against Oakland, but when’s the last time you beat the Yanks in the post-season when they had home-field advantage? That’s what I thought.

Bottom line Boston fans, no matter what the experts say, when it’s time for the playoffs, there is no getting past the Bronx.

Archived article by Chris Mascaro