Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Why The Indians Can Beat The Yankees

So, the Yankees are making the playoffs. Am I upset about them not playing the Angels? Not really.

Of course, conventional wisdom favored them playing the Angels. Cleveland went 0-6 vs. New York this year, while LA has given the Yanks trouble in the regular season as well as '02 and '05.

But I wouldn't have been too excited about LA this year. One big difference between this year's Angels team and those of years past? The bullpen. In 2002, their bullpen ERA was 2.98. In '05, it was 3.52. This year? 4.07, 19th in baseball. Cleveland's pen? 3.76.

In terms of pitching, the Indians have the best 1-2 punch in the AL, in Sabathia and Carmona. After that, it's shaky. Do you trust Paul Byrd in a big game? Carmona is similar to Wang, a sinkerball pitcher who's successful inducing grounders. But Carmona is better (for starters: .248 BAA vs. Wang's .265). The Yanks, after Wang, have very questionable starting pitching. Pettitte has had mixed results in the postseason. Clemens has been hurt, and you don't know what you'll get from him. Mussina's had a good September, but can he bring it against a good offense in October? The rookies? Unclear.

But whoever's starting, the Yankees will take a lot of pitches. They'll wear out the starter, and feast on a team's crappy middle relief. We've seen it time and time again.

The Angels pen is not what it used to be. Scot Shields has had a bad second half (9.00 ERA in August; 6.17 in September), and Justin Speier has injury issues. They won '05 on the strength of the bullpen, and while it didn't hurt them in the regular season, it's a concern in October.

The guy who worries me most on the Indians is Joe Borowski. No question. Yanks have a huge edge in the closer department.

But their middle relief is much better, in Betancourt and Rafael Perez. I think those are two guys that can match up very well against Joba.

Overall, good pitching beats good hitting. And the Indians had the second-best ERA in the second half this year, at 3.58. Toronto beat them with a 3.55 mark (and if McGowan and Marcum can continue to progress, Halladay bounces back, and Burnett stays healthy, the Jays might have the best pitching in the East and possibly the entire AL come 2008).

As for the hitting: Pronk had an off year this year, but a .970 OPS in September is encouraging. They've got a balanced lineup, and guys like Garko, Blake, and Asdurbal Cabrera make it hard to find an easy out in the lineup.

Clearly, the Yanks have the better lineup, but the Indians can hold their own. And I think Sabathia and Carmona have a better chance at quieting the Yankee bats than Wang and Pettitte quieting Cleveland's.

Prediction: Indians in 5.


The RS Bat Boy said...

That's all you need to know: Good pitching always beats good hitting which will spell Yankees Swept Up at the hands of Chief Wa-Hoo and the Pow-Wow's!!!!!

Go Cleveland Go! Help the Yankees CC their way to a long cold winter thinking about losing the AL East to the BEST team in Baseball with the BEST RECORD in the major leagues: Your AL EAST Division Champions: The Boston Red Sox!

It doesn't get any better than Friday night in baltimore!!!! What a way to stick to the Yanks and put them out of contention for the top prize in September!

Anonymous said...

Oh the REDSOX are the best team in baseball? how come you guys got swept at yankee stadium and lost 2 out of 3 at fanway park this august totaling losing 5 out of the last 6 against the yanks! YOU RS BAT BOY sound like a little kid with a big mouth runin. i hope you guy can hold of the angels so we could play you in the ALCS. and after we crush you all you will be aible to celebrate with, is gonna be the division, while my mighty bombers will grab its 27 championship!

The RS BatBoy said...

You have nothing better to do than troll Red Sox sites? Reading all about our truimphant year!

It's says "Yankee Despiser" blog. Not "Yankee Fan A-hole" blog

Come back after Cleveland takes you 3-0 and talk your trash!

And yes I am a little kid you doofus.

I'm over there on the on deck circle soak'in it all in.

and that's right you beat us a few games in a row when we we're hurt and if your "old man" memory serves you correct (I know it's so long ago, last April & May to remeber that far back). We beat you a few games in a row at the beginning of the year when you were hurt.

Face it: It hurts. I know. We are the new AL East Champs and you couldn't get the job done. You played spectacular ball the second half of the season, but it just wasn't good enough against the Best Team in Baseball. Finishing with the Best Record in the major leagues. Maybe if you could take care of last place Tampa Bay this year it might have been a different story, but that's why you are where you are. You can't beat the likes of Tampa Bay and Baltimore. In fact they both made you look down right silly (but I loved every minute of it!). What a great way to clinch the division! Mo tanking again in the 9th and giving up 3 runs. You knew it was all over after that....didn't you?

Act your age and accept it and move on.

I'd start worrying about Cleveland and stop worrying about us Yankee Despisers!!!

Better luck next year annonymous.

Anonymous said...

One down, two to go. It wasn't as embarrassing as that 22-0 shutout earlier in the season, but few can be.

Ma-num-mi-na (the Yankess lose) Ma-num-mi-na said...

Who lost 22-0?

I remember Detroit spank'in the Yanks 16-0, but I don't recall the Yankees losing this year 22-0.

Oh well.

What a great day!! A Yankee beat'in in embarrassing fashion!! I think that makes me happier than a Red Sox 4-0 shut out with a #1 starter who looks and acts like a #1 starter!

More of the same at 5pm today in Cleveland as the Pow-Wows march on their way to the beating of a different Yankees' pitcher. Only to ad another win to their pre-determined sweep!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Two down, one to go.

(You're right, I'm misremembering their epic shutout from 2004.)

Michael Leggett said...

& A-Rod is now 0-Rod

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