Wednesday, August 24, 2011
In 2009, the New York Yankees had a regular season record against the Los Angeles Angels at Anaheim of 5 wins and 5 losses.
...The Yankees also had a regular season record against the Boston Red Sox of 9 wins, 9 losses.
When I consider this season of 2011, many questions arise as I look ahead and look behind.
With 33 games remaining, and presently sitting atop the American League East, I realize: unless the Yankees have some epic collapse, they will more than likely make the post-season...as will the Red Sox...as well as the Texas Rangers and the Detroit Tigers.
The irony of looking ahead is the inability to predict anything. Take, for example, the regular season records mentioned above. Fact is, the Yankees never had to face the Red Sox in the post-season that year, due to the fact that the evil Anaheim faction obliterated the skanky Red Sox from any further post-season activity and sent them evil bitchez home to cry in their imitation clam chowder...
(Note to self: did you ever send Anaheim flowers?)
And yet...all of 2009...What did the Yankees and their fans hear all season long? How inept and lifeless the Yankees were, especially against teams playing .500 or above...and how the Yankees were about to really get the living snot beat out of them if they made the playoffs...and had to face real teams...
(I can still hear Joe Buck's voice in my head. And McCarver.)
(I should sue them for emotional damages. I'd like a Maserati. And a mansion to park it in...)
...In the end, what was all the fuss about? Nothin'.
You see, in October, the baseball world becomes entwined in possibilities and impossibilities.
Sure, stats show "aptitude," and "propensity."
We see trends and mind-blowing effort from individual players all across the League...but in October, all that Major League White Noise gets distilled down to one concentrated grenade-like team emitting one continual sonorous hummmm...predestined toward one unquenchable goal...
...a single entity, willing and present, seeking complete annihilation and victory over all who would oppose it, or stand in it's unquenchable path...it's destiny: to obliterate the world as we know it and take over the entire galaxy by their superior dominance, victorious badassness, and opulent excellence.
This is, after all, why it's called, the "World Series."
(Uh huh. It's a good thing the Yankees have been taking over the galaxy as much as we have. Could you imagine the state of the universe if the Red Sox had continual galaxy domination and influence? Black holes would shoot things back out at us and the Earth would tilt right off it's axis in a very understandible rejection of such an overt violation of Natural Selection...)
This is another example of empirical evidence proving one endless truth: God is a Yankee fan.
In a best of 5 series where someone like Kenny Rogers (DET, 2006 ALDS) can become Cy Young...and bugs can cause a rookie pitcher to collapse on the mound while slathered in DEET faster than a Crisco-slathered house of cards...where do all the regular season stats and possibilites fit?
(For: the Yankees went on to beat the evil ANAHEIM FACTION and advanced to the WORLD SERIES against the evil PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES...where they actually BEAT THEM, TOO. Incidentally, the New York Yankees had a .333 1 win/ 2 losses record against the Phillies that season. And spared the planet from a Phillies domination. Again.)
In 2011, the Yankees have a losing record against just 2 teams: the Red Sox and the Detroit Tigers. Is this a cause for concern?
Again, when a team like the SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS can have a regular season record against the SAN DIEGO PADRES of 12 losses in 18 games...and the Padres opt to go on some 10-game losing streak just 2 weeks before the end of the season, does it matter if you never hear from them again?
Yet those very Giants find a way to skate past the ATLANTA BRAVES (with whom they had a 3 wins/ 4 losses regular season record), and even over-power the PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (3/3) and take on one of the hottest hitting teams in the entire league (the Texas Rangers, sporting one CLIFF LEE) and STILL found a way to WIN IT ALL...after entering the post-season with merely 92 wins....hell: Anything is possible, indeed.
Ask Bill Buckner.
October is different.
Or is it??
Perhaps for SOME teams, the regular season wins are all that matter. Take, for instance, the 2011 Red Sox team. They presently have a losing record against 7 teams: CHICAGO WHITE SOX, CLEVELAND INDIANS, PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES, PITTSBURGH PIRATES, SAN DIEGO PADRES, TAMPA BAY RAYS, and the TEXAS RANGERS.
However, they DO have 10 wins against the Yankees. (And, oddly, even WITH 10 direct losses, the Yankees remain neck in neck for 1st place in the AL EAST. Why is this?)
...And, more importantly, as some may assume: What IF the Red Sox and Yankees actually have to face one another in the ALCS...? Is it a SURE WIN? I'd like to submit some interesting facts regarding the Red Sox batters. It's consistent with my theory that PRETTY MUCH ALL M*THERF*GGIN TEAMS GEAR UP AND PLAY US LIKE WE'RE HOLDING THEIR FAMILY HOSTAGE AND ONLY A WIN WILL RETURN GRAMMA SAFELY TO HER ROCKING CHAIR...
Below, you can see in GREEN the batting averages of Red Sox players against the Yankees this season. Just below each BA, OBP, and SLG in GREEN you can see each players actual career numbers, for instance: Jacoby Ellsbury normally bats .275. and yet, against the Yankees, he has batted .348...
Interestingly, all but Gonzalez, Crawford, and Youkilis are batting well above their typical career numbers. Remember: career numbers span beyond just one season. Are the Red Sox overplaying the entire American League? Clearly no. These numbers simply represent their batting averages against the Yankees, so far this season.
Now, let's look at how the Yankees have batted against the Red Sox this season, in comparison to their career numbers:
Clearly, Eric Chavez, Russell Martin, and Eduardo Nunez are playing exceptionally well, even against the evil Red Sox, compared to their career averages.
After crunching many stats, and perusing trends and looking for that needle in the haystack to give me just a glimpse as to what I can expect this October, I am keenly aware of one final answer:
I have no clue.
But, one thing I do know is this: Inasmuch as the regular season is one fraught with excitement, endurance, injury, and defeat...it is possible to bring one's A-GAME to a particular team each time you oppose that team throughout the regular season. (Especially when you're getting beat to a pulp by teams like the CHICAGO WHITE SOX and the SAN DIEGO PADRES, CLEVELAND, PITTSBURGH, TAMPA BAY, AND TEXAS, right Boston?)
I firmly believe IF the Yankees discover themselves in the ALCS opposing the Red Sox, the laws of October baseball and superhero playing will have long since passed for the Red Sox. After all, they will have to eliminate either Detroit or Texas before they ever even see us. Therefore, there is NOTHING to say we will even have to ever see them again. But, if we do, I firmly believe we will all play according to our actual career numbers...and...this is extremely unfavorable for them lyin' cheatin' evil clam chowder eaters.
Friday, August 05, 2011
...And so it begins. Again. The New York Yankees will saunter on over to Fenway this weekend, beginning tonight, to face the evil Red Sox. No doubt the beer is flowing, "sick day," calls have been received GLOBALLY, and all things CLAM CHOWDER are giddy as shit.
Let them be giddy.
The Red Sox and Yankees are presently tied for the American League East Division within Major League Baseball. And water is still wet.
Aside from that whole EPISODE against the INEPT AND DEFENSELESS (and OFFENSIVELESS, i might add) BALTIMORE ORIOLES...the Red Sox have been exceedingly prolific and effective in winning games via the HIT THE SHIT OUT OF A HANDFUL OF PLAYERS WITH PITCHES strategy.
Theo is slumming, Tito has no balls, and not one person on the planet has raised an eyebrow over this fact. To date, the Red Sox have managed to hit 60 players with pitches, and something tells me that number will rise by at least a half-dozen by night's end Sunday.
Motives. Let's begin there. Hell, I'm just gonna be honest. THEY HAD NO REASON TO SMACK THE HAPLESS ORIOLES AROUND...and yet: they did. And, funner than fun: THE ORIOLES SMACKED BACK. Get this now: the team with the LEAST amount of batter's being hit by pitchers, the Orioles were systematically assaulted by the team with the MOST amount of batters being hit by pitchers.
So, perhaps that whole ORIOLES thing was just an act of fun for Boston. However, if one pays close attention, one will see fun trends. Like Red Sox pitchers targeting a Right Fielder, eliminating him from the series, and then clocking everything to Right Field.
Jon Lester will begin the series versus Bartolo Colon tonight. Lackey faces CC Saturday, and Satan Himself (oh, yeah, I mean BECKETT) will face (of all pitchers) Freddy Garcia.
So let's make it simple. For the most part, obviously, each team is equal in offense and defense. Each team has weaknesses: i.e. Starting Pitching, and each team wants the Division title.
In 2009, the Red Sox smacked the Yankees around for 9 before the Yankees woke up, SMOKED THEIR SORRY ASSES FOR THE REMAINING 9, AND THEN WALTZED INTO THE WORLD SERIES AND WON... Therefore, these LOSSES to Boston thus far in 2011 mean NOTHING to the overall true purist Red Sox/Yankee enthusiast. Anything CAN and WILL happen. The past means NADA, and do not fool yourself in believing this isn't DOWNRIGHT WAR.
Lester v. Colon. Advantage: Lester.
Lackey v. CC. Advantage: CC.
Beckett v. Garcia. Advantage: Satan's minion, Beckett.
Thus, clearly the Red Sox COULD sit on their heels and gladly accept 2 possible wins. However, I firmly and wholeheartedly do NOT believe that is what they will seek. HELL NO. AT FENWAY??? THEY MUST SWEEP. I mean, hell. They went 0-6 to start off the season AT FENWAY and made most of their following want to mame and torture them. And most recently, they just got SMACKED AROUND by CLEVELAND. AT FENWAY. The tide must turn.
Now, let's configure HOW.
Being that their chief WEAPON is the HIT BY PITCH to win games, systematically targeting the greatest asset to a series, I have several thoughts regarding their possible approach.
FRIDAY. LESTER. Consider it a WIN. But SATURDAY, LACKEY, this will be a loss. How to set the dominoes in order to avoid said loss....hmmmm. How bout this. Since Lester is such the KING OF THE HBP, and Saturday's game is versus SABATHIA, wouldn't it make perfect sense to lay down a BOATLOAD OF BUNTS to Sabathia and disrupt the game (like Torre and the 2009 Dodgers attempted to do against Pettitte at Los Angeles) in order to win? (insert: GOD BLESS JONATHON BROXTON *HERE*)
Thus. The laying down of bunts. Fielded by 1st and 3rd basemen, right...cause we all KNOW that CC AINT GONNA BE FIELDING THAT SHIT; I say the Red Sox will target Teixeira and "Whoever's gonna be playing 3rd," thereby eliminating those players from the rest of the series, or at least the LACKEY game, where said BUNTS will be aplenty.
And, of course, Lackey will target key players for further DL stints to pave the way for BECKETT to go out and HIT NOT ONE PERSON, BUT SHINE LIKE THE NOON DAY SUN.
(After all. This IS to be a National Broadcast, and we musn't allow the world in on our little SECRET OF SUCCESS, the HBP.)
Equally concerning for the Red Sox: both Varitek and Saltimaccia's INABILITY to catch base stealers. The New York Yankees are presently 3rd in the ENTIRE LEAGUE for stolen bases. Bottom line there: doesn't matter WHO Boston has catching. I believe, however, Varitek will catch tonight and Sunday. AFTER ALL, THIS IS TO BE A NATIONAL BROADCAST AND VARITEK IS DAH CAPTAIN. uh huh.
So. Who's got a target on their back, leg, head, elbow, etc. etc. this weekend? Welp, the safest answer is the usual suspects: Jeter, Cano, Granderson, Martin; as these tend to be their FAVORITE'S FOR INJURY PROMOTION (or POSSIBLE ON-FIELD FIGHTS WHICH MIGHT LEAD TO EJECTIONS AND SUSPENSIONS AND FINES.)
(For the Yankees, that is. As Boston has YET to have ANY ACCOUNTABILITY paid on their incessant on-field actions. But this isn't all that shocking...being that ex-Yankee manager and current Bud Selig lackey JOE TORRE is head over On Field Behavior.)
I say Lester will go after Russell Martin, Mark Teixeira, and someone else who he just feels like hitting. Eliminate Martin and Teixeira from Saturday's BUNT GAME and maybe get someone else on the DL for a bit. Pave the way for Lackey to possibly do well and get the win.
However. Russell Martin doesn't hit particulary well against Lackey ANYHOW. Plus, Lackey's never faced Franky Cervelli nor Eduardo Nunez. Thus, I say: Friday night, Girardi MUST have Martin catch and Eric Chavez play 3rd. If EITHER get hurt, NEITHER will be needed Saturday. Plus, Lester's never faced Eric Chavez. That will piss him the HELL off, and Chavey is hot as of recent. Put Chavey on 3rd. Mark will hold his own and let the chips fall.
Saturday, enter Francisco Cervelli and Eduardo Nunez. If Nunez is put into Friday night's game: I have NO DOUBT that both HE AND BRETT GARDNER will BOTH be plunked hard...as Boston will have NO REMEDY against their amazing success at working walks and stealing bases.
SIT NUNEZ FRIDAY.
Andruw Jones is more successful against Lackey (.333 BA) and should be in Right Field on Saturday.
SIT SWISH ON SATURDAY.
The key to beating Beckett is disrupting him and working his pitch count by the 3rd inning. I say all base-stealers, hot hitters, and walk-workers MUST face him and play so WICKED SMALL BALL against him. In that event, I'd like to see Nunez and Gardy back to back...and have some concern over Russell Martin's involvement in Sunday's game v. Beckett due to his .000 batting average against him. Cervelli is .286 against Beckett...
There are many question marks as to how each team will approach this series. I do not believe the Red Sox will simply come out of their slimy little pits in the earth and show up and play ball. From their continual actions this year of utilizing the HIT BY PITCH to achieve an advantage over an opponent, I believe the Yankees must prepare themselves for this approach.
And hell. If one is adept to FIGHTING FIRE WITH FIRE, and we WERE to go TOE-TO-TOE in retaliation, I say HIT PEDROIA AND GONSALEZ. Without THEM, the Red Sox are null and void.
Not that I wouldn't prefer a line-drive to the leg of ANY of the aforementioned Red Sox Starters.
Both legs with HIM, though...