Having been swept by the Blue Jays, the last place Boston Red Sox (63-78, 16.5 games back in the AL East) start a three-game series with the hated New York Yankees (79-61, 1 game ahead in the AL East) at Fenway Park tonight. The Yankees are 4-6 in their last 10 games and won their last game. The Red Sox are a Major League worst 1-9 in their last 10 games and have lost their last four games. I am Scott’s uncontrolled fury.
Hiroki Kuroda (against Jon Lester in the opener) will forever be known as the pitcher that got away from the Red Sox due to money. Kuroda signed a one-year deal with the Yankees for $10 million (taking a pay cut from his previous years’ salaries) because the Red Sox couldn’t find $10 mil in their budget for him. And he’s arbitration eligible for 2013. Sox fans, wouldn’t you like to see a pitcher with a triple slash line of 3.14 ERA/3.88 FIP/3.72 xFIP and an fWAR of 3.4? I know I’m beating a dead horse but it still is stunning to me. Kuroda’s last two starts weren’t stellar, as he gave up eight hits and four runs in each start. But overall? It’s hard to call $10 mil a bargain but if such a thing exists, it is Kuroda circa 2012. I am Scott’s activated bile duct.
David Phelps (versus Aaron Cook) is an example of how even when the Yankees fail, they succeed anyway. Phelps was ranked the third-best pitching prospect in the Yankee system by many talent evaluators, behind Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances. But due to injury (Banuelos) and suckitude (Betances), Phelps got the call. And it all worked out for the Yankees. Yay. Phelps (3.55 ERA/4.54 FIP/3.87 xFIP) has been excellent this year (despite his FIP), whether pitching out of the pen or as a starter. However, Phelps did give up five runs on six hits in four innings in his last start. I am Scott’s raging jealousy.
Phil Hughes (facing Felix Doubront in the finale) has lately pitched better than he did earlier in the season but not enough to consider him front-of-the-rotation material. In Hughes’s last four starts he has three quality starts but one stinker against the Orioles. The quality starts have been enough to lower his pitching triple slash line to 4.13 ERA/4.75 FIP/4.44 xFIP. Not great, but not the horrible pitcher he was in April. I am Scott’s smiling schadenfreude.
WHO’S HOT/WHO’S NOT
Of the Yankee regulars in the last two weeks, the hot hitters have been Russell Martin (.324/.410/.559, .421 wOBA, 168 wRC), Alex Rodriguez (.308/.367/.615, .407 wOBA, 158 wRC), Derek Jeter (.347/.407/.429, .358 wOBA, 124 wRC) and Ichiro Suzuki (.343/.361/.400, .340 wOBA, 111 wRC). I am Scott’s irritated bowel. However, Raul Ibanez (.091/.167/.227, .175 wOBA, -2 wRC), Eric Chavez (.143/.208/.143, .167 wOBA, -7 wRC) and Nick Swisher (.067/.208/.067, .154 wOBA, -16 wRC) have been beyond turrible. I am Scott’s rictus grin.
In the Yankee bullpen, closer Rafael Soriano (2.06 ERA/2.66 FIP/3.56 xFIP) keeps rolling along, with 36 saves and only 3 blown saves in 59 appearances. Soriano’s xFIP is higher than his ERA and FIP because his ground ball rate is only 34.6%. Soriano’s actual home run to fly ball ratio is a stellar 4.9% but one wonders if Soriano will give up a home run at the wrong time, like in a one-game wild card situation. I am Scott’s hopeful Yankee hatred.
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) and LHP Andy Pettitte (fractured left ankle) are on the 60-day DL. 1B Mark Teixeira (irritation of Grade 1 left calf strain) is day-to-day but is expected to miss 10-14 days. I am Scott’s reconstructed left knee.
AND WHAT ABOUT THE RED SOX?
The Sox are Robert Paulson. The Sox are Robert Paulson. The Sox are Robert Paulson.
I should stop there, as there isn’t much left to say after that, but I want to give special notice to Dustin Pedroia. He didn’t have the best start to the year and he injured his thumb again in July. Since he returned to the lineup and as his injury healed, he has been on fire. Even as the season has turned into a craptastic catastrophe, Pedroia hit .342/.403/.538, .407 wOBA, 156 wRC with a .197 isolated power mark and 9.4 weighted Runs Above Average in August, and is hitting .367/.424/.633, .464 wOBA, 196 wRC with a .267 isolated power mark and 4.0 weighted Runs Above Average in eight games in September. That, my friends, is a gamer. I am Scott’s undying respect.
The Red Sox starters make me want to pour lye into my eyes and forget to neutralize it with vinegar. As for the bullpen, Clayton Mortensen (0.00 ERA/-0.90 FIP/-0.90 xFIP, you read that right – seven batters faced in two innings, one hit and four strikeouts), Andrew Miller (0.00 ERA/1.85 FIP/2.96 xFIP), Rich Hill (0.00 ERA/5.24 FIP/5.87 xFIP) and “The Other” Chris Carpenter (0.00 ERA/6.10 FIP/6.10 xFIP) share the Blutarsky ERA Award. I am Scott’s knowing nod. However, someone kidnapped Vicente Padilla (9.00 ERA/7.77 FIP/5.89 xFIP) and Andrew Bailey (11.57 ERA/8.24 FIP/5.83 xFIP) and replaced them with lookalikes who can’t pitch. And Daniel Bard (12.00 ERA/14.43 FIP/3.89 xFIP) is approaching Jason Neighborgall levels of lack of control. I am Scott’s twitching eyelid.
The Red Sox can play spoiler to the Yankees’ playoff chances. That is what the Red Sox season is reduced to. Excuse me while I find a self-help meeting to crash.