Putting it all into perspective…

June 14th, 2007 → 10:55 am @ // 8 Comments

Several readers have written in to ask me why I haven’t used Tuesday’s typically ill-informed Murray Chass column as an excuse to take some more swings at my favorite punching bag. The story, “A Chance of Yankee Thunder at Boston,” posited that the Yankees could overtake the Sox before the All-Star break: “At the rate at which the Yankees are slashing into Boston’s lead in the American League East, they will pass the Red Sox in the standings by July 4.” To give you a bit of perspective of just how stupid a comment like this is, the Yankees were cutting into the Sox’s lead during a stretch in which they were undefeated and the Sox were playing below .500. That’s like saying after a night after a Devil Rays victory that Tampa should be projected to win every single game from there on out.

But logic has never been Murray’s strong point…and, indeed, after dropping another game at Fenway last night, even the natives are getting restless. The Sox are 5-7 in May, while the Yankees are 10-2, and are winners of eight straight. That seemingly impregnable 14.5 games is at 8.5 games; a hearty figure that would be cause for celebration any other season but now seems like reason enough to start gnawing those fingernails. And, indeed, expect to see plenty of stories (and hear plenty of the-end-is-nigh segments on the radio) in the days to come. (An aside: how is it that sportswriters are never forced to explain why they proclaim a team invincible and deeply flawed within a period of several weeks…when nothing has changed except for the vagaries of a long season? But I digress.)

So here’s a short list of reasons not to worry…

* Just as Okajima was not going to finish the season with a .0001 ERA, the Yankees pitchers are not going to keep on performing this consistently well. I remain convinced that Clemens is a #3 AL starter, and nothing in his first start made me think any differently. Pettitte has been pitching above his level, and I’d expect Mussina to resemble the 5-inning mediocrity much more than I’d expect him to keep on looking like an ace, as he did last night.
* There are several trends that are unlikely to be sustained. Posada isn’t going to end the season looking like Ted Williams (just as Alex Cora wasn’t going to hit .400 all year…and Pedroia wasn’t going to end up at .200). Manny isn’t going to end the year having remade himself as a singles hitter. And JDD — who’s been among the MLB power leaders for the last half-decade — isn’t going to look this anemic all year, either. (By the same token, I’m assuming Abreu has actually turned a corner.)

* Even Boston’s pitching staff falters a bit — and they will — the rotation looks to be strong and deep enough to end the year pretty near the top of the heap.

* Even the worst teams go on tears. Three years ago, the Devil Rays won 12 in a row. (Granted, 11 of those were against the AAAA-NL, but still.) The Yankees are better than they looked for the first third of the season; they’re not this good. Their rotation is too old; too many key players are scuffed up (Damon) or about to enter exile (Giambi). The next three-and-a-half months aren’t going to be a cakewalk. But this isn’t going to be 1978 all over again, either.

So gnaw those fingernails. Just don’t reserve a spot on the Tobin. You’re much more likely to need to keep October free…

***

Want to hear me discuss this, and much, much more? Head down to NYC’s Professor Thoms tonight, where I’ll be reading, talking, signing books, and encouraging copious consumption of alcohol in the hopes that that’ll spur book sales…


Post Categories: 2007 Season & Feeding the Monster Readings & Red Sox & Red Sox Fans & Yankees

8 Comments → “Putting it all into perspective…”


  1. StuckAtTheCask

    10 years ago

    “Three years ago, the Devil Rays won 12 in a row. (Granted, 11 of those were against the AAAA-NL, but still.)” And keep in mind that the Yanks are currently beating up on AAAA-NL teams (as well as the ChiSox, who are playing like one). I took a lot of flack from NYY fans last year because the Sox “padded their record” against the NL, and my counter-argument was that the Wins count just as much as if they came at the expense of other AL teams. Good for the Yanks to take advantage — we absolutely need to do the same (even if we don’t get to play the hapless Pirates). Need to take game 3 of the Rox set today and sweep the Giants this weekend.

    Reply

  2. yerfatma

    10 years ago

    What I want to see today are a thousand stories about how Theo’s a genius for not signing Schilling in the off-season. Lord knows we got enough stories after the near no-no proclaiming the opposite on the basis of one start.

    Reply

  3. kevmyster

    10 years ago

    What time are the festivities kicking off at Professor Thom’s?

    Sometime between 6:30 and 7…

    – Seth

    Reply

  4. tinisoli

    10 years ago

    I, too, hated Nick Cafardo’s “We need to sign Schilling now!” piece that followed Curt’s one-hitter. Schilling has been pretty good this year, but if Beckett is worth $10 million a year in his late twenties I’m not sure how you justify paying a 41-year-old 30% more.

    Reply

  5. HFXBOB

    10 years ago

    I hate pushing the panic button, but if we don’t figure something out with Drew, Lugo and Crisp we could be in trouble. 3 dead bats are a lot to overcome. Drew had another brutal o-fer last night with 7 left on base. After the outburst against Arizona he hasn’t had a hit in 3 games back in Fenway. Maybe they should hypnotize him into thinking that he has a brother playing on every other MLB team.

    Reply

  6. rog

    10 years ago

    What ever happened to Matt Clement? That guy’s due to come back sometime before August, right? Will he just be released, or do mop-up duty in the pen?

    Reply
  7. […] * Following Murray Chass’s logic, the fact that the Sox gained a game on the Yankees this weekend means they’ll end the season 35 games up. That, of course, won’t happen. It’s not out of the realm of possibility to think Boston’s lead will stay within the 5-9 game range through September, but it’s also not out of the realm of possibility to think it’s going to get much tighter down the line. Both of these teams are good. New York’s not half as bad as they were playing in May, and Boston’s not the historically great outfit their record indicated. If both teams stay healthy, it’s going to be an interesting — and hopefully fun — summer. […]

    Reply
  8. […] I know, I know — I’ve been forsaking my duties. And I’m still behind on my work, so I’ll be forsaking some more. But I’ll duck back in for a couple of quick posts, the first of which…is about Murray Chass! Many of you will remember that it was less than two weeks ago when Chass wrote, “At the rate at which the Yankees are slashing into Boston’s lead in the American League East, they will pass the Red Sox in the standings by July 4.” At the time, the Sox led New York by a mere 7.5 games. After today’s Sox win/Yankees loss, the Yankees are back below .500, stuck in third place, and 11.5 games out of first. Oh, and the Sox have the best record in all of baseball. For the Yankees to overtake Boston by Independence Day would truly be miraculous: each team only has 8 games between now and then. […]

    Reply

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