Monday, May 22, 2006

Yankees @ Red Sox preview

The Yankees come limping into Fenway for a three-game (weather permitting) series starting tonight. Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse for the Yanks, Shawn Chacon hits the DL, only to be replaced on the roster by (hold onto your sides)... Terrence Long.

Chacon becomes the 7th Yankee on the DL, and the fourth to go down since Sheffield started the parade two weeks ago. Now populating the 25-man rosters are such household names as Colter Bean and Kevin Reese, and retreads like Long and Scott Erickson playing roles they shouldn't have to be playing. It's alarming how little depth $200 million can buy you.

Add to that the fact that Damon and Posada are banged up, Giambi is slumping, and Randy Johnson still looks like he's 42, and this series looks to shape up very well for the Red Sox.

And that scares the bejeesus out of me.

For some reason, the Yanks always seem to play better in Fenway, at least since the new dawning of the uber-rivalry around the turn of the century, and I don't expect them to roll over this week. The visions of Al Leiter shutting the Sox down through six and the Yankees celebrating the 2005 division title are still fresh in my memory. And those were just games that I was at.

Still, they should be good (and long) games, as usual. Let's just hope the weather cooperates.

Monday: Chien-Ming Wang (4/1, 3.79) vs. Curt Schilling (6-2, 4.17)
Schill is still showing signs from that 133-pitch disaster in Cleveland, and as much as he usually steps it up against the Yanks, I have my concerns. His problem since that night has been giving up home runs. The rest of his peripherals still look fine, but this is a lineup that you can't really mess around with when you don't have your best stuff, even with Long and Melky bringing up the rear.

Wang, on the other hand, has been pitching well, as Ross points out, and going deep into games without throwing too many pitches. His problems in past starts against Boston have been from throwing too many pitches and getting yanked early, even in games where he hasn't allowed that many runs. If he shows as much control as he has in his last few starts, the Yankees may be able to steal this one. And if they can do that, I think they have to consider it a successful series, given all of their wounded.

Tuesday: Jaret Wright (1-3 4.94) vs. Tim Wakefield (3-5, 4.17)
As much as I just want to blurt out that "Wake always pitches great against the Yankees" line that everyone up here seems to believe, it just hasn't been true. Actually, all this season, he's been solid if unspectacular pretty much across the board, even since he got Doug ".154/.233/.205" Mirabelli back. I'm sure he won't throw a complete stinker tomorrow night - I just hope he's got his command.

Jaret Wright... I don't even know what to say. He's pitched decently in his last few starts, but Torre isn't giving him too much rope. In four of his five starts he's been between 81 and 84 pitches, and two starts ago when he got to 96 against Oakland, he didn't even make it out of the sixth inning. He is not the kind of pitcher who matches up well with the patient Red Sox lineup.

Wednesday: TBA vs. Matt Clement (4-3, 5.36)
I assume this will end up being Aaron Small, but whoever it is, this game could go on forever. Clement's been walking the ballpark all year, A-Rod and Giambi usually kill him (no other active Yankee has more than 5 at bats against him), and he doesn't exactly embrace high-pressure games. This one could get ugly, and I assume it's for this very reason that the Yankees are carrying 13 pitchers.

EDIT: Randy Johnson is the TBA on Wednesday. I'm not sure why they would have needed to wait to announce that, but that doesn't neccessarily change my mind about the "this could get ugly" prediction...


Warren said...

Can you imagine if the Red Sox had lost to a team with an outfield of Terrence Long, Bernie Williams and Melky Cabrera?

That's up there with any outfield containing Manny Ramirez in left and Wily Mo Pena in center in terms of horrendous defense. And when Melky Cabrera is the best hitter in the outfield, you're in trouble.

Sully said...

I thought the same thing when I saw the starting lineups, and Long did nothing to change my mind in the first four innings, booting (I think) his first two chances.