Monday, April 23, 2007

It is still early, but... SWEEEEEEP

It is still early, but it is better to sweep, than be swept!

I guess both teams will take positives from this weekend's series - the Sox from the fact that they won 3 straight (duh), the Yankees from the fact that they put up a pretty decent offensive output against the front 3 of the Sox rotation - both pretty fair points of view.

While I would rather the Sox had won all games by the same margin, but with the starters giving up a lot less runs, the fact of the matter is that the Yankee front 5 are going to put a lot of damage on a lot of teams. Looking back at the 3 games, the Sox front 3 didn't cover themselves in glory, but the team walks away with 3 wins - while the Yankees can rightly expect better pitching as the season progresses, I think Sox fans can equally expect better performances out of the front 3 when they next meet up with the Yanks. All of them had good spells in their performances, but the Yankees proved that if you make mistakes, they will, more often than not, hurt you. I guess we will find out next Friday what Matsuzaka learned from today's outing... and we will also see what the Yankees learned about him.

As an aside on Daisuke, I still think it is too early to know what we have - he has looked good at times in every outing, equally he has looked hittable at other times. I think that we need to bear in mind that everything is a first at the moment - the only first that wasn't really significant was the trip to Torornto - but we have had first outing, first home outing, first Yanks - Sox game, and next week, first start in the Bronx. Personally, I think it will be a couple of months before we get a really good feel for his capabilities.

While Yankee fans will draw comfort from their efforts this weekend, Sox fans should also draw comfort on the offensive side - going in to the series the Sox had scored 66 runs in 15 games (an average of 4.4 per game) and had too many guys hitting poorly - Youkilis, Ramirez, Varitek, Crisp and Pedroia were all hitting well below our expectations of them - and really only Drew hitting above expectations. So while they scored runs off Kartsens (7) and Wright (4), they also scored off the Yankees bullpen as well - and coming out of the series, you feel better about Ramirez, Varitek and Crisp, although one series shouldn't convince us that all of their issues are behind them.

Tonight's offensive highlight for the Sox were clearly the back to back to back to back home runs - hey no Sox blogger has ever been able to write about such an event before... even in the days before blogs we couldn't have written about it - always good to see something happen for the first time in team history (and believe me, it sounds just as great on the ESPN Deportes feed!), well as long as it something positive. I don't think from the graphics that ESPN put up that this has ever happened to the Yankees before, and I am guessing not too many Yankee fans were saying - cool, never seen that before!

Another positive out of the weekend - the bullpen.

On Friday, the bullpen went 2 innings, giving up a run, but highlighted by the performance of Okajima when Papelbon wasn't available. On Saturday, the pen went 2.1 innings, didn't give up a run, and with Papelbon available, the highlight may well have been another key out (Giambi) by Okajima, this time in the 7th. Tonight another 2 innings - allowing a Matsuzaka runner to score, but otherwise preserving the win. Worryingly, Francona went to the Okajima well again, and I wasnt surprised to see his weakest outing so far - a lot of high curves that he wasn't punished for.

Sadly, given the schedule, we can only enjoy the sweep for a week before we start all over again in the Bronx, and the pitching match-ups will not be so favorable for the Red Sox - though given how he has been pitching, I am not concerned that we have to throw Wakefield in against the Yankees, though I hate to think what that lineup could do to Tavares if he isn't on, or even if he is.

Neil M thinks that my angst in Yankee - Sox games is cringeworthy, but given the quality of the lineup, my Sox fearing head always thinks that the one big game changing hit is just one swing away. At least next week I will get to see one of the games in person (that Matsuzaka start on Friday night), and will be away adding stadiums 23 (Detroit) and 24 (Cleveland) to my list on the Saturday and Sunday, so he won't need to watch my type written angst in quite so much detail!

1 threw a strike:

At 12:12 am, Blogger s1c said...

I don't care that it is April or that it is only 1/10th of the way through the season. Any time you can see Mariano blow a save, watch Jeter come up empty when needed (saturday and sunday) makes my freaking week.

Still, I am worried about these next 7 games, the Toronto series is the only one in the last 3 not to be 1 vs 2 and no matter what the two games vs the O's will be 1 vs 2.

The Jays worry me too, because they are not as bad as they have been playing and do have the pitching that can put a team in a funk. Plus that whole one team on a 5 game win streak while the other team is on a 5 game losing streak. Even after 2004 I worry about the Sox karma.

Have fun at the bronx.


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