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The Red Sox

Posted By Cliff Corcoran On May 27, 2005 @ 2:54 pm In Bronx Banter | Comments Disabled

The Yankees and Red Sox kick off a three-game weekend series in the Bronx tonight. The Yankees are tied with the Blue Jays for second place in the AL East, 4.5 games behind the Orioles and 1/2 game ahead of the Red Sox. The two teams are tied in the loss column (the Yankees have one extra win). Both teams are within a win of their Pythagorean expectations, but the Yankees are a fraction of a win under and the Red Sox are a fraction of a win over, meaning the Yankees should be expected to increase their lead on the Sox given the performance of the two teams thus far this season. In their first six games against each other in April the Yankees and Red Sox each won their home series to split the six games right down the middle at three wins a piece.

The Yankees are currently five games over .500, their high-water mark for the season. The Red Sox were eight games over .500 back on May 11, having won 8 of their last 9 and 10 of their last 12 at that point. Since then they’ve gone 4-8 against the A’s, Mariners, Braves and Blue Jays, losing their series with the A’s and M’s and getting swept by the Blue Jays.

On the season, both the Yankees and Red Sox are having a mighty hard time against their intra division opponents:

Opponent New York Boston
NY/Bos 3-3 3-3
Orioles 1-5 2-2
Blue Jays 3-2 2-6
Devil Rays 2-4 4-2
Total 9-14 11-13

Here’s the roster the Red Sox bring into the Bronx tonight:

1B – Kevin Millar
2B – Mark Bellhorn
SS – Edgar Renteria
3B – Bill Mueller
C – Jason Varitek
RF – Trot Nixon
CF – Johnny Damon
LF – Manny Ramirez
DH – David Ortiz


R – Jay Payton (OF)
R – Kevin Youkilis (3B/1B)
L – John Olerud (1B)
L – Ramon Vazquez (IF)
R – Kelly Shoppach (C)


L – David Wells
R – Matt Clement
R – Tim Wakefield
R – Bronson Arroyo
R – Wade Miller


R – Keith Foulke
R – Mike Timlin
L – Alan Embree
R – Matt Mantei
L – John Halama
L – Mike Myers


R – Curt Schilling
R – Doug Mirabelli (C)
L – Adam Stern (OF) (60-day)

Typical Line-up

L – Johnny Damon (CF)
R – Edgar Renteria (SS)
L – David Ortiz (DH)
R – Manny Ramirez (LF)
L – Trot Nixon (RF)
S – Jason Varitek (C)
R – Kevin Millar (1B)
S – Bill Mueller (3B)
S – Mark Bellhorn (2B)

Their offense is filled with dissapointing performances. Chief among them is Edgar Rentaria. Dubbed “Rent-a-Wreck” by the Boston faithful, he’s hititng just .257/.306/.357 (.227) and playing E-Rod level denfense at short (8 errors, 86 Rate). Second in line is Kevin Millar, who stands at .244/.342/.331 (.237) and ought to be losing more playing time to Kevin Youkilis (.343/.452/.429 – .311) than he is.

Elsewhere, Bill Mueller has a .413 OBP but his .394 slugging percentage marks an unwelcome return to his pre-Fenway levels (though he’s on fire coming into this series, of course). Manny Ramirez has eleven homers but his .503 slugging percentage is well below his career .597 mark, as is his .339 OBP (career .409). Mark Bellhorn’s career marks are much lower targets, but he’s still failing to meet them, resulting in below average production (though his fielding seems to have improved thus far this season).

Speaking of fielding, the only team in the American League with a worse Defensive Efficiency Rating than the Red Sox are the Yankees themselves. One large reason for that (other than Renteria, that is) is a sharp decrease in Johnny Damon’s center field defense. He’s actually be worse than Bernie thus far this year.

At least he’s hitting. Damon, Nixon, Varitek and Ortiz have been keeping this team afloat at the plate, though Varitek has thus far been the only player with out a severe home/road split of some kind (Mark Bellhorn has actually been far better away from Fenway, as has Youkilis).

What’s really been killing the Sox thus far, however, is their pitching. They’re fourth in the majors in runs scored, but twenty-fifth in ERA. That will happen when you only get three starts from Curt Schilling prior to the All-Star break and they result in a 1-2 record and a 8.15 ERA. Bronson Arroyo and Matt Clement have been excellent. Tim Wakefield has been solid. But beyond that, it’s been ugly.

David Wells has a 6.81 ERA due in large part to a .333 opponent’s batting average and .532 opponent’s slugging percentage, and that includes back-to-back starts in April in which he allowed just ten base runners and no runs in fifteen innings, so he’s actually been worse than those number suggest.

Staff savior Wade Miller looked ready to deliver on his promise, but then got rocked for seven runs in just two innings last night, suspending judgement for a little while.

The bullpen, meanwhile, is staggering due to the struggles of closer Keith Foulke (6.95 ERA, six homers in 22 innings). Mike Timlin has been fierce (1.19 ERA) and Matt “Sea Cow” Mantei has gotten things under control, as has LOOGY Mike Myers (who, true to form, has pitched just 6 2/3 innings in 14 appearences), but after that it’s a big mess that has resulted in a 5.08 ERA.

Tonight the Yankees will get to waive at Tim Wakefield’s knuckler while we all look for evidence of “the Real Randy Johnson.” First pitch . . . now!

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