After losing two of three to the soaring Orioles, the Boston Red Sox (58-61, 12.5 games back in the AL East) drag their sorry butts to the Bronx for a three-game
expected thrashing series with the New York Yankees (70-48, 6 games ahead in the AL East). The Yankees are 7-3 in their last 10 games while the Red Sox plod along, winning only 4 of their last 10 games. You don’t frighten us, English pig dogs. Go and boil your bottoms, you sons of a silly person. I blow my nose at you, so-called “Arthur King,” you and all your silly English K-nig-hts.
Phil Hughes (facing Franklin Morales in Friday night’s opener) continues his regression from his excellent 2010 season. However, this year represents a new low for Hughes, even over his terrible 2011 season. Granted, Hughes’s arm fatigue could be to blame for his poor strikeout (5.67/9) and walk (3.25) ratios in 2011. Now that Hughes is healthy, his strikeout (7.70/9) and walk (2.12/9) ratios have rebounded. But Hughes has given up 27 long balls in 2012 (1.79/9, 13.1% home runs to fly balls). SIERA thinks Hughes should have a 3.99 ERA, but his pitching triple slash line is actually 4.44 ERA/4.75 FIP/4.40 xFIP. It’s just a flesh wound!
David Phelps (against Jon Lester on Saturday afternoon’s national FOX game) has had a fantastic rookie season for the Yankees. With a pitching triple slash line of 2.53 ERA/3.89 FIP/3.76 xFIP, Phelps is pitching better than his predictive stats would indicate. This is most likely a result of Phelps’s 3.16 walks per nine. However, Phelps’s batting average against is a stellar .216 and his WHIP is a laudable 1.16. SIERA splits the difference on Phelps, pegging his ERA at 3.27, which is still pretty awesome. Phelps’s excellent numbers are likely a result of his pitching out of the pen for the most part. He’s been put into a starter’s role due to injury but seems poised to make the transition. Ooh, you are so big….
Hiroki Kuroda (versus Josh Beckett in the Sunday night ESPN game) just keep rolling along, and a look at his statistics will tell you that this shouldn’t be a surprise. Kuroda had a very good rookie year in 2008 for the Dodgers and has improved every year since. If you want to talk about consistency, Kuroda’s numbers for 2012 are almost exactly the same as in 2011. In 2011, Kuroda posted a 3.07 ERA/3.78 FIP/3.56 xFIP and a 2.4 fWAR. In 2012, Kuroda has a 3.06 ERA/3.71 FIP/3.69 xFIP with 3.2 fWAR. Wow. The increase in Kuroda’s fWAR can be attributed to his reduction in home run rate from 1.07/9 to 0.91/9 and an increase in his ground ball rate from 43.2% to 51.9%. Gosh, we’re all mighty impressed down here, I can tell you.
1. Derek Jeter, SS (Arthur, King of the Britons)
2. Nick Swisher, DH (Patsy)
3. Robinson Cano, 2B (Sir Galahad, the Pure)
4. Mark Teixeira, 1B (represented by banging coconuts)
5. Eric Chavez, 3B (The Black Knight)
6. Curtis Granderson, CF (The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog)
7. Russell Martin, C (Roger the Shrubber)
8. Raul Ibanez, LF (Sir Robin)
9. Ichiro Suzuki, RF (Sir Not-Appearing-in-this-Film)
WHO’S HOT/WHO’S NOT
In the last two weeks, Eric Chavez has been otherworldly, hitting .533/.563/1.000, .651 wOBA, 324 wRC with 4 homers. But you are so strong and, well, just so super. Also hitting well in the last two weeks are Raul Ibanez (.333/.438/.556, .425 wOBA, 169 wRC), Robinson Cano (.298/.377/.426, .358 wOBA, 123 wRC) and Derek Jeter (.345/.367/.466, .352 wOBA, 119 wRC). Forgive us, O Lord, for this, our dreadful toadying and barefaced flattery. However, Curtis Granderson (.133/.226/.222, .207 wOBA, 20 wRC) had a very bad fortnight. He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!
In the Yankee bullpen, erstwhile closer Rafael Soriano (1.71 ERA/2.42 FIP/3.67 xFIP, 29 saves) continues having the last laugh at those who chuckled when the Yankees acquired him. Add David Robertson (2.52 ERA/2.54 FIP/2.71 xFIP), Boone Logan (3.43 ERA/3.38 FIP/3.51 xFIP) and Clay Rapada (2.87 ERA/3.45 FIP/3.84 xFIP) to the mix, and you better get your damage done before the seventh inning. Adding Derek Lowe (0.00 ERA/1.10 FIP/2.94 xFIP) for depth just adds to the misery of opposing batters. Well, you have to know these things when you’re a king, you know.
RHP Michael Pineda (right anterior labral tear) and RHP Mariano Rivera (torn right ACL) are out for the season. RHP David Aardsma (recovery from Tommy John surgery), LHP Cesar Cabral (stress fracture in left elbow), LHP Pedro Feliciano (recovery from September 2011 shoulder surgery), LF Brett Gardner (recovery from July 2012 right elbow surgery), RHP Brad Meyers (right shoulder strain), LHP Andy Pettitte (fractured left ankle) and C Austin Romine (back) are on the 60-day DL. 3B Alex Rodriguez (fractured left hand) and LHP CC Sabathia (sore left elbow) are on the 15-day DL. 2B Robinson Cano (stiff neck) is day-to-day but is expected to play in this series. What are you going to do, bleed on me?
AND WHAT ABOUT THE RED SOX?
It just can’t get any lower, can it? As outlined by Yahoo’s Jeff Passan, 17 Red Sox players led by Dustin Pedroia (Head of the Judean People’s Front) and Adrian Gonzalez (Head of the People’s Front of Judea) met with Red Sox owners John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino (Wise Men #1, #2 and #3) to complain about the management style of Bobby Valentine (Taunting French Guard), in which some players said they no longer wanted to play for Bobby V., according to Passan. It is unconfirmed, but Valentine was heard to respond, “Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time.”
At least the protests of Pedroia (.413/.481/.565, .465 wOBA, 195 wRC) and Gonzalez (.340/.404/.681, .445 wOBA, 181 wRC) haven’t affected their batting in the last two weeks. Joining them on the hot hitting list is Carl Crawford (.356/.354/.644, .413 wOBA, 160 wRC), Cody Ross (.340/.373/.574, .393 wOBA, 145) and Pedro Ciriaco (.316/.316/.632, .398 wOBA, 149 wRC). We are the Knights who say… NI! However, Nick Punto (.100/.100/.100, .088 wOBA, -63 wRC), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.194/.242/.194, .202 wOBA, 15 wRC) and Ryan Lavarnway (.143/.182/.190, .168 wOBA, -8 wRC) were beyond terrible. I fart in your general direction.
As for the starters, Clay Buchholz (1.50 ERA/3.47 FIP/3.56 xFIP) continues his remarkable rebound, as has Jon Lester (3.55 ERA/1.52 FIP/2.57 xFIP). Well, she turned me into a newt! A newt? I got better. However, Josh Beckett (12.19 ERA/10.06 FIP/6.77 xFIP) continues to plumb the depth of suckitude. When danger reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled.
The Red Sox bullpen has started its inevitable regression. Andrew Bailey (0.00 ERA/6.10 FIP/6.10 xFIP), by striking out one and walking one in his only appearance, takes the Blutarsky ERA Award on a technicality. Andrew Miller (2.70 ERA/5.50 FIP/5.94 xFIP) defied his peripherals (5.40 K/9, 8.10 BB/9) as did Alfredo Aceves (6.35 ERA/3.45 FIP/3.24 xFIP, 11.12 K/9, 1.59 BB/9), but in the opposite manner as Miller. Please! This is supposed to be a happy occasion. Let’s not bicker and argue over who killed who.
Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you’re chewing on life’s gristle
Don’t grumble, give a whistle
And this’ll help things turn out for the best
And…always look on the bright side of life (whistle)
Always look on the light side of life (whistle)
P.S. We’re holding a Live Game Chat/Group Therapy for Sunday night’s game, so join us.