Red Sox vs. Yankees

There is nothing that can derail a team quicker than a slew of injuries in October. The Sox have seen their fair share of injuries lately, though the M.A.S.H. unit has had some success returning the boys to action.
But they are not the only team in the hunt, as the Yankees, Twins, Angels, and Tigers all have their own bumps, bruises, and breaks to deal with. And no, we are not including Texas anymore, as their playoff odds have now dropped below half of one percent. The only race left is between Detroit and Minnesota for the AL Central.
Here’s a rundown of the significant injuries on each team:
Anaheim Angels
The Angels are actually a pretty healthy team when it comes down to it. They have three significant injuries on the docket, though none except Scot Shields was expected to be a significant player this season.
Starters Kelvim Escobar and Dustin Moseley join Shields on the 60-day DL, but no other names pop up. This kind of health for a playoff team is certainly an asset, and they head into the post-season with a full head of steam.
Though the Shields injury is significant, the injury is an old one and the Angels have had enough bullpen depth all year to account for it. Nothing to see here. These injuries happened months ago. Let’s move on.
Detroit Tigers
The Tigers are a bit banged up right now. They recently lost starter Jarrod Washburn to a knee injury and he may be done for the season. This is very costly, especially since they traded for him at the deadline to round out their staff.
Their official website does not list a starter to replace him and their playoff rotation looks far better with Washburn in the mix. Instead of a 1-4 of Justin Verlander, Washburn, Edwin Jackson, and Rick Porcello, they may be forced to go with Eddie Bonine, who is currently listed at #5. He has thrown 22.2 IP on the season, with a 5.96 ERA. Not the way you want to enter the postseason.
They have some other nicks and bruises, though they are not as significant, including utility man Jeff Larish (wrist, 60-day DL) and reliever Joel Zumaya (shoulder, 60-day DL).
However, they are not in nearly as bad shape as their division rival, Minnesota, whom we will get to next.
Minnesota Twins
Everyone in the AL should be hoping that this team makes the playoffs over Detroit as they are a sitting duck in every sense of the word. Of their opening day roster, they have lost third baseman Joe Crede (back, out for season), starter Kevin Slowey (wrist, 60 day DL), and, the coup de grace, first baseman Justin Morneau (back, wrist, out for season).
The loss of Morneau really puts a damper on Minnesota’s plans for this postseason as his loss is as significant as any in the MLB this season. An all-star caliber first baseman and former MVP, there is nothing not to like about his game. Too bad he won’t have the chance to showcase it during a playoff race or in October.
In addition, left fielder Denard Span is questionable for the series with the White Sox, after being drilled in the head.
With so many key members lost, it is a big surprise this team could still make the postseason. It will be a miracle if they can reach October, let alone advance past the Yankees in the ALDS.
New York Yankees
The Yankees are in a position similar to the Red Sox in that they are nicked-up but getting healthy. They lost Xavier Nady and Chien-Ming Wang earlier in the season, though they have come together as a team and admirably made up for their absence.
Now, their key players are getting rested for the playoff run, which is a luxury at this time of the year. Catcher Jorge Posada is out with a leg injury but should be back in time for the opener in Boston on the 25th.
Utility infielder Jerry Hairston is in the same boat, expected to return for the Boston series with a wrist injury. Right fielder Nick Swisher is also expected to return on the 25th, out with a leg injury.
Scheduling all the returns for the series against the division rivals… are the Yankees trying to use the series in Boston to send a message when they arrive in Fenway? It wouldn’t be a bad idea. Momentum can be very valuable this time of year.
Boston Red Sox
And, lastly, come the hometown heroes. The only injuries to speak of are to Junichi Tazawa (groin, out for season), Nick Green (leg, out until September 28th), and Wakefield (back, expected back before playoffs).
The injury to Green affects the depth at middle infield, though with Alex Gonzalez playing as well as he is, Green can be given all the time he needs to be ready for October.
The Wakefield injury is much more troublesome, as it puts the onus on Buchholz and Daisuke to continue to perform, which they have had some trouble doing. Should either one falter down the stretch, the team may not have a viable alternate as fourth starter. The remaining options are Wakefield and Paul Byrd.
In all, the Sox seem to be in a decent position health-wise as they head to the playoffs. Minnesota has huge problems and Detroit could too if Washburn is lost. On the other hand, the Angels and Yankees seem poised for their stretch run.
Should Wakefield return to full health, the Sox will have little to worry about. With a full rotation at their disposal, the Sox will be very tough to beat.