Thursday, May 24, 2007

No, just that last sentence, and this one explaining it . . . que?

Interesting series with the Yankees this weekend - I was able to watch most of it (missing about 5 innings of the middle game - slow-pitch softball 4 lyf!), so I figured a 'take-away' discussion starter for Collin would be in order.

First, the decline of Schilling is striking - his fastball is down to 88-91, even the four-seam job. Now, this is not unexpected for a pitcher on the wrong side of 40, but it really is striking to see him attempt to get by with location and guile. Indeed, last night his location was WAY off, and against a patient Yankees lineup it hurt him quite a bit. The homers mostly came on misses up in the zone, which (SURPRISE!) is pretty much bound to happen against NYY. He can still pitch well when bad teams swing at bad pitches, or when he can locate - but when he's off, he's eminently hittable. It will be interesting to see if he goes more to the curve/cutter/2-seamer - he's not hard-headed (unlike, say, 2006 Beckett) . . . watch his next two starts. Seriously, it will be fascinating on a metagame level.

Second, Wang owns the Red Sox, while Pettitte and Moose really aren't even fearsome elements in that rotation anymore. The Sox have traditionally hit lefties poorly, but The Nose really doesn't scare me anymore, regardless of last night. With Clemens being literally outpitched by Clay Buchholz in AA yesterday, the Yankees rotation just does not scare me, as a Sox fan - although it will be more than enough to make a run, especially once Hughes is back (who may very well be their 2nd-best pitcher right now).

Third, Varitek looks atrocious at the plate, and Crisp is probably making better contact than his hit rate suggests. Manny's struggles, however, really seem due to a slow bat (or the mental feeling of slowing down), as he is just flying open when missing. Remy did a great analysis on the NESN broadcast in Game 2, and the SOSH thread really goes well into the details, so I won't bore you - but when inevitable regression comes for Lowell and Okajima, it may not be good to assume these three will rebound much. Also, Bob Abreu is useless as a baseball player - he looks like a statue in the field. Some have suggested that these guys used their 'free' amphetamine/non-steroid PED exception and are now feeling the downswing - I'm not willing to go that far, but I get the feeling it's a reasonable thought process.

Fourth, I'm eminently appreciative of Tavarez's willingness to gut out 5.1 innings of decent ball recently - the ability to keep Lester's innings controlled and ease him back will be fantastic, especially having a fresh lefty in the rotation at the end of the season should the Yankees make a run or make the playoffs. Good work, you crazy fuck.

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