Friday, April 20, 2007

Breakin' it Down for the Fight at Fenway

A position-by-position look at the Bombers and the Sawx.

  • Catcher - Jason Varitek BOS vs. Jorge Posada - Posada is a far better hitter and off to a great start this season. Yet, while I'm tempted to give it to him, it's clear that Varitek's absence last summer coincided with the Sox demise. Besides being a veteran presence and a great defensive catcher, he does an unbelievable job studying hitters and calling a great game. It's the most underrated part of baseball. And he always seems to do well against the Yanks. CALL: TOSS UP
  • First Base - Kevin Youkilis vs. Josh Phelps - Phelps is nice, but only a serviceable player at best. He's got some pop, I'll admit, but he's in there because he's a better fielder than Giambi and because Douggie can't really hit. Youkilis is an on-base machine that can frustrate pitchers. CALL: SOX
  • Second Base - Dustin Pedroia vs. Robinson Cano - It's not even close. Robbie Cano is the premier second baseman in the American League, whereas Pedroia is a stopgap kind of guy with minor upside. As far as I'm concerned, Cano will probably be the AL's second baseman in the All-Star game for the next decade. Props here to the guy that nearly won the batting title at the ripe age of 24 in only his second years in the bigs. CALL: YANKS
  • Shortstop - Julio Lugo vs. Derek Jeter - You're kidding, right? CALL: YANKS
  • Third Base - Mike Lowell vs. Alex Rodriguez - (See Shortstop) CALL: YANKS
  • Left Field - Manny Ramirez vs. Melky Cabrera I'd say that this one was close if Hideki was healthy, but that's simply not the case. With Manny just starting to heat up, it's anyone's guess as to the kind of weekend he'll have. My gut says he's wreak havoc on the youngsters on Saturday afternoon and Sunday night. A great hitter to watch. CALL: SOX
  • Center Field - Coco Crisp, BOS vs. Johnny Damon - Coco's a far better defensive outfield, since Damon's arm is similar to that of a 13-year old girl or myself. Damon, however, still has some nice range, is familiar with the grounds in Boston, and can hit better righty than the Mr. Kellogs over there, who is hitting a paltry .167 coming off of his outstanding .263, 36 RBI season. CALL: YANKS
  • Right Field - J.D. Drew vs. Bobby Abreu - Probably the closest position battle of them all. J.D. Drew is an over hyped player, but when healthy he can be a key asset and a dangerous hitter. He's got plus power and a solid batting average already in 2007. As for our RF, Abreu is a solid player that works counts, fields his position well, and always seems to get on base. It's a tough one, but Bobby's experiences last year against Boston and his superior OPS gives him the edge, but it's as close to a tie as you can get. EDGE: YANKS.
  • Starting Pitching - OK, you've got me. Our pitching is a mess. This can be summarized in one sentence: "After Andy Pettitte, the Yankees will start Jeff Karstens and Chase Wright in Fenway". Yikes. I think they can surprise some people, but it's certainly far from the trio of Beckett, Schilling, and Dice-K. EDGE: SOX, but talk to me in June when Wang and Moose are back and Roger Clemens and Phil Hughes are in the rotation!
  • Bullpen - A tough one. I like the trio of Timlin, Donnelly, and Romero leading to Paps, even though my roomie is scared to death of J.C. Romero. As for the Bombers, I'm a fan of the Bruney, Proctor, Vizcaino, and Farnsworth quartet leading to Mo, even though Proctor is erratic and Vizcaino blew it for us yesterday. CALL: TOSS-UP
  • Closer - I can't even go there. It's too painful for me to admit Papelbon is better. He is. But, I can't admit that. Mo's track record and my Yankee heart prevent me from doing so. CALL: NO COMMENT
  • OVERALL : We'll find out, won't we? (My guy says Boston this weekend, Yanks next weekend when Wang and Matsui return)

So, now you're set for the games. I'll be back tomorrow for a little post-game action and preview of Saturday's match-up.

- Keith Connors

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