June 5, 2006

Silverman: Yanks Are Better

What's a sports columnist #1 job?

Vivid, lively prose? No. ... The ability to muster facts into a cogent argument? Nope. ... The skill to enlighten us and help us consider new ways of thinking? Nah.

His job is to get a reaction. And so, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald has clearly done his job with his Monday column (my pithy comments in italics):
[A]s the Red Sox enter the Bronx beast's belly tonight for the start of a four-game series, here's one fun morsel to chew on: The Yankees are better.

Forget about the AL East standings [which, let's not forget, is the only measure of betterness that counts come playoff time], which show the Sox a half-game up on NY. With two-thirds of the season still left to play, the Red Sox have no business saying what team is better, nor do their fans, who are too emotionally invested in the subject to see clearly. [But a columnist with inches to fill on a tight deadline apparently does.]

With that said [when, oh when, will this annoying speech tic/expression pass out of usage], it takes no special powers to observe that despite all of their injuries, the Yankees have sustained a higher overall level of play than the Sox this season. [No special powers needed, but only Silverman can suss it out ...]

Even without Hideki Matsui and Gary Sheffield, their lineup is better and deeper, with their overall run production, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, batting average, stolen bases and total bases topping those of the Red Sox. [And if they don't win as many games as Boston by the end of September, all of that won't mean squat.]

Pitching-wise, the Yanks' overall ERA and opponents' batting average rule the Red Sox', and that's despite Randy Johnson's struggles. [Yeah, it's not like Boston has had any pitchers that have struggled this year. And the club was without Coco Crisp for 40+ games] ... [W]hen you look at how the Yankees have played against the better teams in the AL, their record speaks for itself.
Now, I will say that according to their respective runs scored and runs allowed, the Yankees "should" have a 2.5 lead over Boston in the East, rather than trailing by a slim .5 margin.
         Actual Record  RS/RA Expectation
Red Sox 33 - 21 30 - 24
Yankees 33 - 22 33 - 22
Also: Good stories on the between-starts work that Matt Clement did before his solid outing yesterday. ... Gordon Edes thinks 22-year-old Jon Lester will make his major league debut this Saturday when the Red Sox play a day-night doubleheader against the Rangers. (Ian Browne of MLB also thinks it's quite possible.) ... Mike Timlin throws today for the first time since going on the DL.

Plenty o' injuries for this series:

Red Sox : Kevin Youkilis was hit on the left forearm yesterday; x-rays were negative. Yook: "I feel I'll be able to play [Monday]. It caught me on the meat of the forearm, and it just cramped up." ... David Wells and Mike Timlin are on the disabled list, Keith Foulke has missed the last three games because of back stiffness, Mike Lowell has a strained left hamstring, Mark Loretta has a brusied left toe, and Manny Delcarmen has a bruise where he was hit off the lower left calf by a batted ball on Saturday.

Yankees: Derek Jeter was hit on the right thumb yesterday and left the game; his x-rays were also negative. Hideki Matsui and Gary Sheffield are on the disabled list, Mariano Rivera has missed four games because of back spasms, Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi each missed two games this weekend because of stomach trouble, and Johnny Damon has a fracture in his foot.

1 comment:

Jack Marshall said...

Silverman is an idiot. But I hope they all keep spouting this crap. It's impressive that the Yankees haven't fallen apart yet, but it's only a matter of time. It's an old team aging by the minute; I think it's very likely that they've already had their best streak of the season. Their pen behind Rivera is the shakiest in years. Mussina is the only sure thing in the rotation. Posada is breaking down. Damon is breaking down. Sheffield HAS broken down. The defense, infield and outfield, has been lousy, and won't get better. The Sox, meanwhile, will be better from here on. They are only a couple hot weeks away from the Yankees in runs scored...they'll catch them and pass them going away. Wake has a run of 6 or 7 wins coming. Varitek is finally hitting. Ortiz hasn't gotten hot yet. Crisp is still shaking off the rust.

How anyone can look at the two teams and conclude what Silverman has is amazing...how a person can make his living watching sports and be that dumb tells you a lot about his profession. I picked the Sox towin this division by more than 5 games, and I am more convinced than ever that I'm right.