If you want to know the difference between the Yankees
and the Red Sox
right now, and why the Yankees just swept the Red Sox in four straight games, look no further than their starting lineups:
1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. Victor Martinez, 1B
4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
5. Jason Bay, LF
6. J.D. Drew, RF
7. Mike Lowell, DH
8. Jason Varitek, C
9. Nick Green, SS
1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Johnny Damon, LF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Jorge Posada, C
6. Nick Swisher, RF
7. Melky Cabrera, CF
8. Hideki Matsui, DH
9 Robinson Cano, 2B
The Red Sox have holes all over their lineup.
Jason Bay: Though he leads the team with 21 HR and 75 RBI, Bay has totaled just 2 HR and 6 RBI since June 24. He is currently batting .252.
Jason Varitek: Weight: 230, Average: .225, 13 HR, 44 RBI
JD Drew: The $75M Man is batting .244, with 12 HR and 43 RBI
David Ortiz: Salary: $12M, Weight: 230, Average: .210, 13 HR, 61 RBI, .306 OBP
Nick Green: .232 AVG, .302 OBP, 5 HR, 32 RBI
Players such as Ellsbury, Pedroia, Rocco Baldelli and George Kottaras – despite their various strengths – offer little power or run production.
As a team, the Red Sox rank 9th in the AL in batting, 9th in hits, 6th in total bases, 6th in homers, and 5th in runs.
On the other hand, the Yankees lineup is stacked from top to bottom. The Bombers really don't have a weak link in their modern day Murder's Row.
Already, the Yankees have six players with at least 15 homers, and three with at least 20. Eight Yankees are hitting .280 or better.
As team, the Yankees are tied for 1st in the AL in runs. 1st in total bases, 2nd in batting, 2nd in hits, and 2nd in homers.
The Yankee lineup is relentless on pitchers, never offering a break, even in the 8 and 9 holes.
Over the past four games, the Yankees showed their superiority over the Red Sox. Their offense is better, their rotation is better, and their bullpen is better as well.
At this point, the Yankees have definitively proven that they are the cream of the AL East, and perhaps the best team in baseball. At the least, their 69-42 record attests to this.
The Red Sox appear to have peaked in the first half, while the Yankees are peaking now – at the right time.
The Red Sox were 16-10 in April, 15-14 in May, and 18-8 in June. But they went 13-12 in July, or one game over .500. And they are 2-6 in August, all six losses coming in a row. Since the All Start break, the Red Sox are 8-14 and are obviously trending in the wrong direction.
At the All Star break, the Red Sox held a three-game lead over the Yankees, and remained in first as recently as July 19. Since the break, the Red Sox have slipped 9 1/2 games in the standings, and now find themselves 6 1/2 games behind the Yankees.
In the wake of their stunning defeat, the Red Sox are left to feel grateful that they are now tied with the Rangers
for the lead in the Wild Card standings. What a comedown for a former first place team.
It has been a rapid and woeful fall for the previously dominant Red Sox, who have lost a season-high six consecutive games – their longest skid since 2006. This weekend also marked the first time the Sox have been swept in a four-game series in the Bronx since 1985.
There are still 52 games remaining this season, Obviously there is time for the Red Sox to get it together and get it right. But time is slipping away and they seem to have lost their way, and their swagger, in the process of losing first place in the AL East.
The Yankees shut out the Red Sox for 31 consecutive innings this weekend, the longest scoreless streak by the Red Sox since the 1974 team went 34 innings without a run.
Come season's end, they may look back on this weekend as the beginning of the end, the nail in their coffin.
In what became a humiliating spectacle, the Yankees swept the Sox out of the Bronx with their tail between their legs. In the process, they clearly established the current pecking order in the Al East.
The cream has risen to the top.