Saturday, April 15, 2006

A Contrast in Styles

After 10 games the Yankees are 5-5 with all their wins coming in games in which they scored 5 or more runs. That's a lot of 5's. All 5 losses have come in games in which they've scored 4 or fewer runs. On the 2nd day of the season the Yanks dropped a 4-3 game to the A's, when Scott Proctor allowed Marco Scutaro to single in the walk off run in the bottom of the 9th. The Yanks dropped a 4-1 game to the Angels, when Chacon was outpitched by Kelvim Escobar and the Angles pen. The same Angles lineup beat Randy Johnson 3-2, as a combination of Ervin Santana and the dominant relief core allowed two solo homers to Jeter and Matsui, while building their own runs on extended rallies. Johnson pitched a complete game in the loss.

Sitting atop the AL East in the early going are the new look Red Sox. At 7-3 the Sox are 3-1 in games in which they score 5 or more runs, but have also posted an impressive 4-2 record in games in which the get fewer than 4. Those wins include a 2-1 win in Texas, 2-1 and 4-1 wins in Baltimore, and today's 2-1 win against the Mariners. Schilling has won two of the Red Sox' 2-1 games, while Beckett and Wakefield posted the other close victories.

The four games that Boston has won, in which they scored 4 or fewer have all followed the same pattern. They are all games in which the starter dominated, giving up only one run, and then turned it over to Timlin and Papelbon. In the Wakefield victory Foulke pitched the 8th, and in today's Schilling effort he gave the ball directly to Papelbon. Another notable game is Beckett's victory against the the Blue Jays in which he gave up 1 run over 7, only to see Foulke allow 2 more in relief. Had Timlin and Papelbon combined in that game, you may have seen a 5-1 win and another dominant game with only 1 run allowed. It still means that in 5 of the 7 Boston wins, their starters only allowed 1 run.

The Yankees can't pin things on Sturtze or the bullpen. Proctor gave up the game in the 9th to the A's, but all the other losses have been credited to the starting pitchers who were not able to shut down the opposition. Chacon has been bad, Wang was bad, and the combination of Johnson and Mussina have been good enough to win with a few extra runs, but they haven't been GREAT. Schilling and Beckett have been GREAT. That's why Papelbon has 5 saves and Mariano has 1. That's why Sox fans are pumped and we are ready to sound the alarm after two weeks of the season.

What will Beckett, Timlin, and Papelbon do in front of the home crowd against Seattle? Can the Yankees get a decent game out of Jaret Wright against Johan Santana, Francisco Liriano, and Joe Nathan? Pray.