Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Today's hero: Bobby Abreu

It was a big hit for Bobby Abreu, who had been mired in an 0-19 slump coming into today, and it was a big win for the Yankees. They had been awful at the start of the home stand with the Rangers shutting down their bats and the Red Sox embarrassing them in the first half of their four game set.

But Girardi rallied the Yanks and behind solid starts by Mussina, Joba, Pettitte and (of all people) Sidney Ponson, they made it a winning home stand. It makes it even better that the four straight wins were against the two teams in front of them in the division.

Though Ponson was exceptional today a lot of credit has to go to the bullpen which threw four scoreless innings. One of those was from Kyle Farnsworth. It was Farnsworth's second consecutive 1-2-3 inning. He hasn't been great for the Yanks ever, but at least he shows a flash of talent every once in a while. You would like to think they can get by without him and maybe they can but hopefully he can turn it around this season so at least Cashman can move him to someone before the break.

I think this win helps prove something about the Rays too. It proves why they wont be getting ready for October baseball at the end of September. The Rays are disgusting at home. Their winning percentage is a Red Sox like .720 at home. But just like the Sox they can't get it done on the road winning games at a pedestrian .475.

Now a little bit of simple math tells us that the Rays have played fifty games at home so far and only 40 on the road. That means they will be on the road for a majority of the second half. Not only that, but 17 of their final 27 games on the road including eight straight to end the season. Add to that mix the fact that the Rays are inexperienced, and their young arms will be reaching their max in terms of innings and depth in the season. I like the Rays. They're talented, they play hard, and most importantly they literally beat on the Red Sox. But I think their magical season will come to an end in the twilight of September.

Now the Yanks return to Pittsburgh to finish off their three game set. The Yankees were winning the game before the rain washed it out of the record books. Now they start anew with Mike Mussina giving it a second try.


Dennis said...

The Rays are still on pace for 99 wins. I agree with you that they are not great on the road, but I can't see a complete collapse.

Let's say they play .500 the rest of the way, 36-36. That puts the Rays at 91-71. The Red Sox will have to go 37-31 the rest of the way to beat that at 92-70. Not too big an ask. On the other hand, for the Yankees to get to 92-70, they would have to go 43-28. That's .600 ball for 3 months. Not impossible, but tough.

I won't go into their numbers, but I don't see the likes of Minnesota or Oakland putting together runs like that either.

I think you are probably right that the Rays will struggle on the road down the stretch, but it would take a Mets like collapse coupled with a Rockies like run for another team for the Rays to miss the playoffs.

Peter said...

You're right that the Rays will not completely fade away, but the Yankees have been a second half team for years now.

I don't think that it is out of the realm of possibility to think they could go on another second half run like they did last year when they went 51-25 after the break. In fact since at least 2002 the Yanks have maintained a .600 win percentage in the second half of every season.

Joey said...

Just for the record the Sox and Rays are almost even this year head to head. Sox have 6 wins the Rays 7 and neither team has won on the road. So have the Rays been beating down on the Sox? Not really.

Peter said...

I meant in the sense that Coco Crisp get his face bashed in by Johnny Gomes and half of the Rays bench.