ALDS vs. MFY—Buckle Up

Wake49

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All this talk about Sale-this and Sale-that. . . did our bullpen suddenly get better?
 

geoduck no quahog

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Two very evenly matched teams, but the thing that troubles me the most is that the Yankees seem to be peaking at the right time while the Red Sox have appeared a little stale.

Five game series - home team can't lose game 1. Not only does it eliminate HFA, but it makes game 2 a must-win for one team. The 2-2-1 format kind of sucks, but there's no other way as long as it's 3 of 5. (Even if the visitor loses both games, they still know they're going home and only have to defend HFA).

So much rests on the shoulder(s) of Sale. Red Sox can't go to a bullpen game (it's bad enough hoping Kimbrel doesn't yank his pitches glove side on any given appearance).

Get a lead early. No 25-pitch innings. Get the starter through the 7th. Smoke a lot of cigarettes.

Going to be a ride, eh?
 

Sam Ray Not

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OTOH--Wakefield and Leskanic eventually came up big.
For sure. Schilling and Damon, too. Both of those guys would have gone down as goats (as opposed to GoATs) had the series ended in 4 or 5. (Or even 6 in the case of Damon, who was complete trash until his epic Game 7).

Re-looking at the box from that series, I had kinda forgotten that our best hitters other than Big Papi were Varitek and Cabrera.
 

Wake49

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I don’t see the Sox having much of an advantage, other than playing at home to start. With Sale still a ? and Price’s ineptitude against the MFY, we don’t have an edge with SP nor with our bullpen. And sorry, but the MFY’s lineup is better. Judge or Stanton lay an egg? Who cares when they have Andujar, Torres, and Luke Fucking Voit to pick up the slack?

I hope I’m wrong but I feel less confident about this team than 03, 04, 07, or 13.
 

geoduck no quahog

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There's got to be a way to pitch Voit. I just don't think he's the second coming of Judge and I'm hoping he's simply one of those guys that the book hasn't made the rounds on yet.

I wouldn't, however, be too saddened by a broken rib on a pitch that unfortunately gets away from Kelly. The guy is walking "plunk me" target. (I'd say that even if he was a Red Sock)
 

Sam Ray Not

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sorry, but the MFY’s lineup is better.
Disagree. I'd say they're more volatile, since they're more reliant on the long ball, but the Sox are much better at scratching out runs in other ways (.268 to .249 BA, 355-269 doubles, 31-23 triples, 125-63 stolen bases) and a bit better overall, even when you factor in the MFY power edge (.792-.781 OPS, 876-851 runs scored).

Probably gonna come down to how many MFY fly balls leave the yard.
 

The Talented Allen Ripley

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All this talk about Sale-this and Sale-that. . . did our bullpen suddenly get better?
I don’t see the Sox having much of an advantage, other than playing at home to start. With Sale still a ? and Price’s ineptitude against the MFY, we don’t have an edge with SP nor with our bullpen. And sorry, but the MFY’s lineup is better. Judge or Stanton lay an egg? Who cares when they have Andujar, Torres, and Luke Fucking Voit to pick up the slack?

I hope I’m wrong but I feel less confident about this team than 03, 04, 07, or 13.
You're whiny and afraid. And wrong.
 

jon abbey

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Disagree. I'd say they're more volatile, since they're more reliant on the long ball, but the Sox are much better at scratching out runs in other ways (.268 to .249 BA, 125-63 stolen bases) and a bit better overall, even when you factor in the MFY power edge (.792-.781 OPS, 876-851 runs scored).

Probably gonna come down to how many MFY fly balls leave the yard.
The season-long offensive stats aren’t super relevant for NY as their current lineup has only played five games together with the late season additions of Voit/McCutchen plus guys being out with injuries who are now back.
 

Joe D Reid

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I'm guessing that Sox fans who live in the NY area were less welcoming of this result than those who live in Boston or other places outside of NY. The aftermath of 03 in NYC was hideous; the aftermath of 04 was like walking on a cloud. I know that's true for all Sox fans but the risk/reward for those here seems higher.

I have no need for a long or dramatic series. Beat the Yankees in three straight blow outs and move on to Houston/Cleveland. Is that asking too much?
As someone who lived in NYC in 2003/04 and spent the subway ride back to Brooklyn after the Gump game exhibiting symptoms of literal clinical shock, I second this post.
 

Zososoxfan

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To add to the offense discussion:

Season Stats (ML Rank)
Boston - .339 OBP (1), .453 SLG (1), 1253 SO (5)
NYY - .329 OBP (8), .451 SLG (2)*, 1421 SO (22)

2nd Half (can't get these ranked for ML)
Boston - .346 OBP, .448 SLG
NYY - .332 OBP, .448 SLG

Final 30 Games
Boston - .345 OBP, .434 SLG
NYY - .326 OBP, .450 SLG

Last 10
Bos - .374 OBP, .510 SLG
NYY - .339 OBP, .505 SLG

*:fonz:
 

Sam Ray Not

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The season-long offensive stats aren’t super relevant for NY as their current lineup has only played five games together with the late season additions of Voit/McCutchen plus guys being out with injuries who are now back.
Fair. Although you could similar things about the Sox' offense with the addition of Pearce and the fact that Betts, Bogaerts, and Devers (93 missed games combined) are all back and healthy.
 

drbretto

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My comfort level comes down to whether or not I believe the Sox have been a little flat because they haven't played truly meaningful games in quite some time or if there are actual issues. For that part, there's nothing to do but wait and see. But, I'd take the Sox' best vs the Yankees best.

I feel actually pretty comfortable because I think this team is actually built for the post season. Everyone looking for that "playoff formula" but I think the Sox have it, and I think it's reflected in their lack of a losing streak of more than 3 games all season long, same as 2013. I think the Sox are better capable of consistently putting up enough runs for a decent pitching staff to hold wins. I feel like a team that relies a bit too much on the longball could well put up a similar number of runs over the course of a long season, but that's leaves more holes for stealing a win or two during a power outtage or if you have a shut-down pitcher on the mound.

Either way, I don't just want to win the WS, I want to go through the best to get there. This is going to be an intense, exciting series and I can't wait!
 

geoduck no quahog

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But Abbey’s still right. Stats from August don’t mean squat right now, one way or the other. It’s who’s seeing the ball well and who’s controlling the strike zone as of this moment, based on recent ab’s and pitches.
 

Wake49

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Fair. Although you could similar things about the Sox' offense with the addition of Pearce and the fact that Betts, Bogaerts, and Devers (93 missed games combined) are all back and healthy.
Pearce? Wasn’t he added in May? Not to mention Judge, Tanaka, Gregorius, and Sanchez all missed a chunk of the season.
 

Sam Ray Not

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But Abbey’s still right. Stats from August don’t mean squat right now, one way or the other. It’s who’s seeing the ball well and who’s controlling the strike zone as of this moment, based on recent ab’s and pitches.
Final 30 Games
Boston - .345 OBP, .434 SLG
NYY - .326 OBP, .450 SLG

Last 10
Bos - .374 OBP, .510 SLG
NYY - .339 OBP, .505 SLG
Still not seeing a case for the Yankees' lineup being better. Close, sure.
 

Wake49

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The season-long offensive stats aren’t super relevant for NY as their current lineup has only played five games together with the late season additions of Voit/McCutchen plus guys being out with injuries who are now back.
Played only 5 games together and still managed to win 100. The struggle is real.
 

m0ckduck

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Trot Nixon is throwing out the first pitch on Friday night.
NY counters by having Aaron Boone in the dugout. Seems unfair that they get to save a roster spot by having their manager and historical-lucky-horseshoe-guy be the same person.
 

BaseballJones

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By position (the game isn't played this way but I don't care):

C
NY - Sanchez/Romine
Bos - Leon/Vazquez/Swihart
Edge - NY

Leon is solid defensively, as is Vazquez. Swihart is a nice athletic versatile piece. But for all his problems (and they are real), Sanchez is the single biggest difference-maker of this group of five players. By a mile. His power alone can swing games.

1b
NY - Voit
Bos - Pearce/Moreland
Edge - NY

I hate to say it but Voit is an animal right now. His line since coming to NY: .333/.405/.689/1.095 with 14 homers in just 148 ab. Pearce and Moreland are just fine, but Voit has been a game-changer.

2b
NY - Torres
Bos - Kinsler
Edge - NY

Kinsler is a pro. Torres is a dynamic young player with a lot of power. One of the best young players in baseball. This one isn't particularly close, though Kinsler does run well and play very good defense.

3b
NY - Andujar
Bos - Devers
Edge - NY

Yes, I give NY the edge here. Devers has good power and is actually better defensively than Andujar, who makes a LOT of mistakes in the field. But Andujar's bat is terrific, much further ahead in development than Devers right now. I think both will be among the best third basemen in the AL for years to come as they mature, but right now, Andujar is better.

SS
NY - Gregorius
Bos - Bogaerts
Edge - Bos

Slight edge, as Gregorius is definitely a very very good player. But Xander has been a monster this year and is playing great baseball. Very close call but a slight edge to Boston here.

LF
NY - McCutchen
Bos - Benintendi
Edge - Bos

Another slight edge. Benintendi had a solid season - better than McCutchen for sure, but McCutchen has played well for the Yankees (141 ops+ since joining NY). Benny is the better overall player right now, but this is close.

CF
NY - Hicks
Bos - Bradley
Edge - Bos

Very close. Hicks has been really good for NY with 27 homers and a 123 ops+. He comes up big for them and is solid in the OF. Bradley is otherworldly win the OF and even though his overall stat line isn't close to Hicks', since July 1 he's put up a very solid line of .269/.340/.479/.818. If he's THAT kind of hitter, with his defense, he's better than almost any other CF in baseball.

RF
NY - Judge
Bos - Betts
Edge - Bos

Another very close call. Judge is a monster. Absolute monster. Massive home run power, but what catches some people by surprise is that he's fast, he's a good fielder in right, and he has a bazooka for an arm. Just a phenomenal overall player in basically every way. The trouble here is that he's going up against the guy who is basically the best non-Mike Trout baseball player on planet earth. There's literally nothing Betts cannot do. Hits for average. Hits for power. Drives in runs. Great baserunner and base stealer. Insanely good defensively with a very good arm. Right now probably the second best player in the world (he had a better year than Trout but Trout dealt with injuries so I think Trout is still better). Judge is great. Betts is better.

DH
NY - Stanton
Bos - Martinez
Edge - Bos

Another close call. The numbers right now support Martinez as being significantly better, but we all know that Stanton is an animal. Last year's NL MVP, he's finally seeming to get comfortable in NY. None of us would be surprise to see him go off in this series. Still have to give the edge to Martinez but Stanton could easily post better numbers in this series.

Bench
NY - Romine, Walker, Gardner, et al (not sure who they will have exactly)
Bos - Vazquez, Swihart, Holt, Nunez, Pearce/Moreland
Edge - Bos

Pretty close again. I like Boston's bench a little better. Gardner is a great piece for NY and Walker can provide HR power. I like having Pearce or Moreland as pop off the bench, and the Sox' bench is versatile. Holt has been amazing as a pinch-hitter this year.

Starting pitching
NY - Happ, Severino, Tanaka, Sabathia
Bos - Sale, Price, Porcello, Eovaldi
Edge - NY

Sale is obviously the best pitcher of the group, assuming he's healthy and throwing 98 (not 91). The Sox would get to throw him twice if the series goes 5 games. But Price has had problems with NY (fortunately he's not pitching against them in Yankee Stadium) and in the playoffs as a starter in general. So the confidence level for me with him is low. Porcello is a wild card. Eovaldi has had good success against NY but he's also a wild card for me. For NY, Happ is a terrific pitcher and matches up well against Boston. Severino looks shaky to me but obviously has the stuff to dominate. Tanaka is one of those guys who is frustrating to play against because he seems like the kind of guy the Sox should crush but you look up and after 5 innings he's allowed 1 run on just 3 hits. Sabathia I guess would get the nod over Gray and he can be hit hard or be tough. For me, the uncertainty over Sale's health and Price's lack of success in the postseason (and against NY) make me give the edge to NY.

Relief pitching
NY - Chapman, Robertson, Betances, Green, Britton, Cole, Holder, Lynn
Bos - Kimbrel, Barnes, Poyner (?), Wright, Brasier, Rodriguez, Kelly (?)
Edge - NY

Huge edge to the Yankees. The Sox have made some hay against NY's bullpen this year but really, at almost every spot in the bullpen, the Yankees are better - significantly better - than Boston. That's not to say that the Sox can't have bullpen success against NY (or that the Sox can't hit Yankee relievers, because as the post above me points out, the Sox do well against heat), but when evaluating on paper, the Yankee bullpen is way better than Boston's.

Managing
NY - Boone
Bos - Cora
Edge - Bos

I think Cora is a terrific manager and I'm not at all sure that Boone is. Still, in many ways, the players make the managers. A manager makes move X and that guy doesn't come through, and it makes the move look bad. Still...I give the edge to Cora.

Intangibles
Edge - Bos

They have the advantage of having had the best record in baseball, meaning they're the best team in the world over 162 games. They have the best 1-2 punch in baseball in Betts and Martinez. They have home-field advantage. They won the season series over NY 10-9. They don't have the "curse" hanging over them. They seem loose and ready to go. NY has tons of momentum and always seems like a monstrous foe but I think that's more in the heads of fans than the players. Slight intangibles edge to Boston. One thing to look for is the sloppy fielding that NY often displays. They are very capable of giving Boston runs, and when they make mistakes, Boston needs to make them pay for it.

Overall
I give the overall edge to Boston. Obviously the Yankees are more than capable of winning - even dominating - this series, and nothing would surprise me. But the Sox are the best overall team in baseball. If Sale is healthy and throwing in the upper 90s, the Sox have a decided edge. If not, they're in trouble. So we could see the direction of this series in the first two innings of tomorrow night's game.

Prediction
Boston in 5 as Sale comes through big in Fenway to send the Sox to the ALCS. This is gonna be a meat grinder. Big time.
 

ShaneTrot

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I don’t see the Sox having much of an advantage, other than playing at home to start. With Sale still a ? and Price’s ineptitude against the MFY, we don’t have an edge with SP nor with our bullpen. And sorry, but the MFY’s lineup is better. Judge or Stanton lay an egg? Who cares when they have Andujar, Torres, and Luke Fucking Voit to pick up the slack?

I hope I’m wrong but I feel less confident about this team than 03, 04, 07, or 13.
You have less confidence in this team. They are a 108 win Goliath. The mind boggles.
 

dynomite

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Happ is no day at the park for us though. And Sev will be ready for Monday in NY.
Severino was always going to pitch in this series, but us only facing him once vs. them potentially having to face Sale twice should be a win for the Red Sox.

As for Happ, he’s been pitching over his head for the Yankees (2.90 ERA vs. 4.21 FIP in 11 starts) and anyway, it’s the AL Playoffs in 2018. Everyone is good. Everyone has good starters. Everyone is a tough out.
 

Dewey'sCannon

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I am going to have to lock myself in a room with no sharp objects.

I turn 60 on Tuesday (and my son's birthday is Wednesday), and just hoping not to have a heart attack for my birthday - '04 was the best year ever, but it didn't completely erase the memories of '03 or '78.

Go Sox!
 

BaseballJones

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The last time the Red Sox and Yankees faced each other in the playoffs, Mookie Betts was 12 years old. Rafael Devers was just about to turn 8.

Meanwhile, CC Sabathia had just completed an 11-10, 4.12 era all-star season for Cleveland as a 23-year old.
 

joe dokes

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Severino was always going to pitch in this series, but us only facing him once vs. them potentially having to face Sale twice should be a win for the Red Sox.

As for Happ, he’s been pitching over his head for the Yankees (2.90 ERA vs. 4.21 FIP in 11 starts) and anyway, it’s the AL Playoffs in 2018. Everyone is good. Everyone has good starters. Everyone is a tough out.

Hopefully the teevee will show Mookie's 13-pitch GS off Happ (two players who are actually.....playing) more than they show Boone's HR of Wakefield.
 
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soxin6

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The last time the Red Sox and Yankees faced each other in the playoffs, Mookie Betts was 12 years old. Rafael Devers was just about to turn 8.

Meanwhile, CC Sabathia had just completed an 11-10, 4.12 era all-star season for Cleveland as a 23-year old.
And if the Yankees are counting on CC and his slop to get it done for them, then they are in serious trouble. I think the last two years have guys like Betts ready to show what they can do in the playoffs. If Sale is on, this series ends in 4.
 

BaseballJones

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And if the Yankees are counting on CC and his slop to get it done for them, then they are in serious trouble. I think the last two years have guys like Betts ready to show what they can do in the playoffs. If Sale is on, this series ends in 4.
I'd bet that in game 4, if they start Sabathia, he'll be on a very short leash and maybe they'll only expect to get like 4 innings out of him.
 

KillerBs

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In response to Baseball Jones' above: Betts over Judge and JD over Stanton are not "close calls." Not to suggest these Yanks aren't good players but Red Sox counterparts are/have been a couple orders of magnitude better.

If you looking for the answer of how a team with our Catchers, 2b and 3b could win a 108 games, it really starts and ends with historically great seasons by Mookie and JD who have been (this year at least) 2 of the 3 or 4 best hitters in the game. Bogaerts-Didi is closer but esp vs the 2 or 3 LHP we will thro at Didi, have a marked advantage there too I think.

But no doubt we are the 108 win plucky underdogs here. Game 1 so huge.
 

AB in DC

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And if the Yankees are counting on CC and his slop to get it done for them, then they are in serious trouble. I think the last two years have guys like Betts ready to show what they can do in the playoffs. If Sale is on, this series ends in 4.
Yankees have a clear edge in Game 3 (Severino vs. Porcello). Do the Sox sweep the other three games? I think the Sox will need peak Sale in this one to win in five.
 

DeadlySplitter

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In response to Baseball Jones' above: Betts over Judge and JD over Stanton are not "close calls." Not to suggest these Yanks aren't good players but Red Sox counterparts are/have been a couple orders of magnitude better

...

But no doubt we are the 108 win plucky underdogs here.
these statements seems contradictory, even with the but in there.

as far as game 3/4, is there any thought to switching Eovaldi / Pork? I wonder.
 

reggiecleveland

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The season-long offensive stats aren’t super relevant for NY as their current lineup has only played five games together with the late season additions of Voit/McCutchen plus guys being out with injuries who are now back.
This is true. I see the Yankees having the advantage. Judge seems closer to his form than Sale, add McCutchen, and the yankees look in better shape. And Happ against Sox, Price against Yankees does not fill me with confidence.
 

Zososoxfan

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In response to Baseball Jones' above: Betts over Judge and JD over Stanton are not "close calls." Not to suggest these Yanks aren't good players but Red Sox counterparts are/have been a couple orders of magnitude better.

If you looking for the answer of how a team with our Catchers, 2b and 3b could win a 108 games, it really starts and ends with historically great seasons by Mookie and JD who have been (this year at least) 2 of the 3 or 4 best hitters in the game. Bogaerts-Didi is closer but esp vs the 2 or 3 LHP we will thro at Didi, have a marked advantage there too I think.

But no doubt we are the 108 win plucky underdogs here. Game 1 so huge.
Agreed. Mookie had an OPS+ of 186 to Judge's 145, which doesn't even begin to address how much better Mookie is on D. Mookie was 2nd in ML in OBP to Trout with .438, Judge is at .392. JD had an OPS+ of 173 to Stanton's 126. It's hard to overstate how good Mookie and JD were this year.

That being said, the Yanks have 6 players with an OPS over 800 (Judge, Andujar, Stanton, Hicks, Gregorius, Torres) to the Sox's 4 (Betts, JD, X, 10D).

That in turn is mitigated a bit by their bottom 3 (Sanchez, Gardner, Walker) being below .700, whereas the Sox have 4 guys in the .700s (BROCKHOLT!, Mitch, Devers, JBJ).

IOW, if our bottom of the lineup can do some damage, we should be in great shape. I'd take our top of the lineup over theirs, but their 4-6 hitters are likely superior.
 
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geoduck no quahog

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In response to Baseball Jones' above: Betts over Judge and JD over Stanton are not "close calls." Not to suggest these Yanks aren't good players but Red Sox counterparts are/have been a couple orders of magnitude better.

If you looking for the answer of how a team with our Catchers, 2b and 3b could win a 108 games, it really starts and ends with historically great seasons by Mookie and JD who have been (this year at least) 2 of the 3 or 4 best hitters in the game. Bogaerts-Didi is closer but esp vs the 2 or 3 LHP we will thro at Didi, have a marked advantage there too I think.

But no doubt we are the 108 win plucky underdogs here. Game 1 so huge.
As Jones says, that's not the way to do it.

Position by position comps should be defense only

Offense should be comped by the anticipated lineups, batting order by batting order (e.g.: Betts vs McCutchen, etc.)

Starting Pitching by rotation (Sale vs. Happ, etc)

Relief by usage...

The challenge is on, BJ...:)
 

BaseballJones

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Agreed. Mookie had an OPS+ of 186 to Judge's 145, which doesn't even begin to address how much better Mookie is on D. Mookie was 2nd in ML in OBP to Trout with .438, Judge is at .392. JD had an OPS+ of 173 to Stanton's 126.
Betts has been much better this year, obviously, and I pointed out that Judge is great but Betts is at worst the 2nd best player in the sport right now. But I'm also thinking about the last two years, because I believe Judge's true talent level is between last year and this year (where he was hurt).

So last two seasons:

Judge: .282/.409/.584/.993, 160 ops+, 13.6 bWAR
Betts: .301/.388/.541/.929, 143 ops+, 17.3 bWAR

So I see it as the two of them having pretty close talent levels, though Betts is better overall. Judge absolutely could outplay Betts over a 5-game series.
 

jon abbey

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Would anyone be surprised to see Happ, Tanaka, Severino, Happ on 3 days rest, and Tanaka in this series and leave CC out?
CC looked great his last time out and 3 days rest rarely works, so I would be surprised, yes.
 

BaseballJones

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As Jones says, that's not the way to do it.

Position by position comps should be defense only

Offense should be comped by the anticipated lineups, batting order by batting order (e.g.: Betts vs McCutchen, etc.)

Starting Pitching by rotation (Sale vs. Happ, etc)

Relief by usage...

The challenge is on, BJ...:)
Heh. I should get paid for that kind of research!
 

Zososoxfan

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Betts has been much better this year, obviously, and I pointed out that Judge is great but Betts is at worst the 2nd best player in the sport right now. But I'm also thinking about the last two years, because I believe Judge's true talent level is between last year and this year (where he was hurt).

So last two seasons:

Judge: .282/.409/.584/.993, 160 ops+, 13.6 bWAR
Betts: .301/.388/.541/.929, 143 ops+, 17.3 bWAR

So I see it as the two of them having pretty close talent levels, though Betts is better overall. Judge absolutely could outplay Betts over a 5-game series.
Your point about Judge is fair, but I think it does a disservice to Mookie who has been consistent this season and I think is likely to perform to his season averages from this season, as opposed to the past 2 seasons. Nevertheless, a statement like "Judge could outplay Betts over a 5 game sample" is so obvious as to be meaningless. JBJ could catch fire too and outhit Stanton. Ultimately, I give the nod to Betts in RF and not by a small amount, which is what this is about IMO.