Will The Boston Red Sox Or New York Yankees Be Better in 2009? Part Two

Paul StevensContributor IFebruary 12, 2009

The bullpens are an easy choice. I think even a Yankee fan must agree that the stats say the Red Sox have a clear advantage. The starting rotation is close, but if it goes to the bullpen, the Sox are looking great!

The closers of both clubs are phenomenal. Mariano Rivera has been a stud for many years and at age 39, he still had 39 saves last year. His ERA was only 1.40, as he struck out 77 in 70 2/3 innings.

No one can really say anything bad about this guy, except that his age is bound to catch up with him. Yet, he has had a way of defying the odds so far.

Jonathan Papelbon, 28, is already one of the most feared closers in baseball. He had 41 saves last year with a 2.34 ERA.

He struck out 77 batters while pitching 69 innings. These two are almost identical. The youth of Papelbon might give him a little edge, but not much.

I hate to say it, but the rest is not even close. The Yankees simply do not have much in the 'pen. Damaso Marte is a veteran with a career record of 22 wins and 24 losses. His career ERA is over 4.00 and he is very hittable.

Brian Bruney pitched pretty well overall last year, but is a pretty average pitcher. His career record is 11 wins and 10 losses, with a 4.34 ERA. Again, this is not much to boast about.

Jonathan Albaladejo had a 3.95 ERA last year, while only pitching 13 2/3 innings, as he looks to contribute more innings this season.

Then we come to 29-year-old, Jose Veras. He went 5-3 last season, and posted a 3.59 ERA in 57 2/3 innings. The two seasons before, he had an ERA over 4.00.

Edwar Ramirez went 5-3 last season, posting a 3.90 ERA, which was good compared to his lifetime ERA of 5.07. Also, don't forget David Robertson. He is only 24 and won four games while losing none last year. But he also had an ugly 5.34 ERA in 30 innings pitched.

Lastly, there is Phil Coke. He did very well in 14 2/3 innings pitched, and might be a bright spot for this team, posting a 0.61 ERA last season. Let's see what he does when he gets some innings under his belt.

Now, let's look at the Sox' bullpen. We know that if Masterson stays in the 'pen, he is a great attribute to the team.

He is 24-years-old and pitched 88 1/3 innings last year. He posted a 3.16 ERA and only got better as the season went along.

Then we have the 33-year-old Hideki Okajima. He pitched 62 innings with a 2.61 ERA. What can be said other than every team in baseball would take that.

The Sox also picked up Takashi Saito from the Dodgers. He will spell Papelbon when needed and possibly fill the role of a set-up man.

Imagine having a guy that had 18 saves last year and 39 saves the year before, while posting a 2.49 ERA last year. He also struck out 60 batters in 47 innings.

Manny Delcarmen is only 27 and can be called upon any time the coach wants. His 3.27 ERA and fastball in the mid-90s makes him a very profitable commodity.

Javier Lopez with a 2.43 ERA in 59 1/3 innings of work, will probably pitch middle relief this year. Ramon Ramirez pitched 71 2/3 innings for Kansas City last year, posting a sparkling 2.64 ERA. He also struck out 70 batters.

Most coaches will tell you that the bullpen is one of the most vital aspects of a championship team. The Sox have the best, my friends.