So you may have noticed (though you probably have not) that before today I haven't uttered as much as a peep about the Sox or the Yanks other than to make fun of Joba Chamberlain's ridiculous stat count. Well much of the reason has to do with the fact that the Sox suck right now and it's hard for me to right anything rational about this team. But given that--thanks to the Tigers--this team is going to the playoffs, there has to be something positive said about these guys. I'm here to tell you that there are some things that are very positive about this team and their chances against the Yankees if they meet in the ALCS (which is becoming more unlikely by the day):
1. The Sox Beat Up The Yanks Best Starters
Coming into last weekend's 3 game set, the biggest question for the Sox was whether they could get to Pettitte & Wang, a duo who shut them down the last time they played them. They killed those two dudes. In 9.2 innings the two pitched, the Sox scored 9 earned runs. Their two best pitchers shit the bed. The Sox don't have to worry about those two guys when they face them again. So that's good.
2. The Sox Two Best Pitchers Owned The Yanks
In 12.2 innings against the Yanks, the Sox two best pitchers (Beckett and Matsuzaka) gave up 3 runs. They did it against the two best starting pitchers for the Yanks had and were in key games (and yes, I'm conveniently leaving out the part where Papelbon was explicably brought in to get a 6 out save and blew it because Tito panicked and didn't bring in Delcarmen instead).
3. The Sox Got To Joba
The Sox scored the first earned run against Joba but better than that, they're hitting him and getting on base against him. In his last 4 innings against the Sox, they've got 4 hits, 2 walks and the home run by Lowell. Plus, it looks like other people are figuring him out as well. He was pulled from the Toronto after giving up an unearned run and his strikeouts are down. He's still a great weapon but his luster has been scuffed up a little.
4. Mo Has Been Shaky As Hell
Though not nearly as shaky as Papelbon and the rest of the Sox bullpen, Mo has been pedestrian of late. He's putting a ton of people on base and though he's sneaking out of the situations with wins (which really is the point, afterall), it's gonna catch up with him. He's giving up more hits than he has historically and has given up a third of his walks for the season in his last three appearances. He's not nearly as invicible as he has been and eventually he'll get touched up.
5. The Yanks Suck On The Road
The Yanks are barely above .500 on the road. After their home series with Toronto, they go to Tampa and Balto and actually have a losing record against Baltimore. And the Rays are 15-11 in their last 26. They're playing pretty well. The Yanks will be lucky to finish these last ten game 6-4. That means the if the Sox go 5-4, they'll win the East. They play their last 6 at home and have three in Tampa before that. They are 11-4 against Tampa this year (though, as I said, Tampa is playing much much better than the Sox are presently).
5. Roger Clemens Is Really Old
Roger Clemens is old. In October the weather gets cold. Old People do not like the cold. Roger Clemens is not going to like the cold.
6. The Sox Lineup, As Presently Constituted, Is Ridiculous
They're starting Bobby Kielty, what more do I need to say. In the last week, they've played 4 rookies and three of those guys have started. While Pedroia isn't exactly a "rookie" 150 games into the season (and is probably rookie of the year), Ellsbury, Moss and Cash are awfully green. For all of Ellsbury's spark at the plate, on the bases and in the field, it'd be nice if they had a little more experience. Not even to mention the guys they are replacing (Manny, Youk and Varitek). And those guys are keeping it competitive. They won two games against the Yanks with that shitty lineup (the Friday game was a win) and they are playing above .500 and made the playoffs with the lineup, so really it's kinda impressive that they're doing so well (it's a testament to the impact of the early success). But in the playoffs, it's a different story. The only hope the Sox have is that Manny comes back healthy. I'm not sure that will matter with Ortiz in such bad shape but at least there's some hope.
And that's pretty much all I got. The Sox are in a tough place right now and need a bit of a run at the end to at least calm the nerves of the edgy fans. I know I'd feel a little better if they'd actually win a game every now and again. But there is a bright side to all of this, the Sox look pretty solid for next year....