You can’t draw much of anything from a three game series. In terms of predictive value, it may as well not exist. Even so, this was obviously a good weekend. The Red Sox scored eighteen runs off Yankee pitching and swept a three game set from the Yankees in New York for just the third time in the last twenty-five years and the first time since 2004. Considering they faced Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon both of whom as recently as February were as likely to be pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates as the Yankees, they should have. Of course, ‘should have’ and ‘did’ are vastly different things.
With Sunday night’s game in their collective pockets the Red Sox finally obtained a .500 record a mere 40 games into the season. You’ll hear talk that they’ve erased their 0-6 start which isn’t true, as those six loses are still there. What they’ve done is blunt the bad start a bit, which is what you have to do when you have a bad start. Bad start blunted! With 122 games still in the hopper Boston is a game behind the Yankees and three behind Tampa. I’m going out on a limb in saying there’s still time, folks.
I’ll steal from the talented Alex Speier of WEEI.com and give you the good and the bad of the series.
1. They won all three games, so that’s a start. We can, as Joe Sheehan says,”‘micro-parse” the series to death, but the end result is three wins for Boston. That’s something the Red Sox haven’t had enough of, run differential, third order wins, FIP, etc, aside. To their credit they got the three in New York, against a division rival. That’s a good weekend’s worth of work.
3. Red Sox starting pitching held the Yankees to six runs over nineteen innings of work, striking out twenty-three in the process. That qualifies as the good stuff. Lester struggled with his command through the first few innings of Sunday Night’s game and, come to think of it, Beckett had some command issues as well. For the second start in two Clay Buchholz had few issues. We’ve all been waiting for the strikeouts to come and, grab your bonnet people, they’re here. Or at least they were there on Friday night. Seven of them in seven innings in fact. I understand the idea of pitching to contact, which is what the New Buchholz seems to be aiming at, but the best defenses in baseball don’t catch everything. Conversely every defense in baseball has a one-to-one relationship between strikeouts and outs, you know, unless Russell Martin is catching.
4. The Red Sox may have been the unwitting beneficiaries of the New Yankee Stadium’s right field porch. David Ortiz‘s homer came on a broken bat and still made it out down the right field line. Jarrod Saltalamacchia‘s was enough for the Yankees to hold meetings about moving the fences back. Salty’s looked like it went off the handle of the bat and somehow it still made it just behind the first row of seats. Would either of those have been out at Fenway? Maybe. Does it matter in the least? No.
1. It’s tough to find something wrong with this series. It wasn’t perfect from a Red Sox perspective, but it’s hard to nit-pick with the results. Sure they left some guys on base and Carl Crawford both didn’t hit and made what could have been but ultimately wasn’t a costly error, but it’s hard to muster any ill feelings about the series. They beat the Yankees best pitcher in CC Sabathia and they didn’t let the Yankees steal a game back with their two scrap heap pick ups. They hit, and hit for power. They pitched effectively and their star guys pitched like stars. Even the running game wasn’t too much of a problem. The Yankee stole three bases, two in the first game, one in the second and then in the third Jon Lester picked off Brett Gardner, the man with the largest gap between his speed and base running skill in the western hemisphere. That’s a good trend.
I’m sure there are things to complain about. Not everything is clicking now for the Red Sox, but for three non-predictive but fun games, the outcomes were favorable. And really, that’s about all we can ask for, right?