Friday, April 8, 2011

Here We Go Again: The Greatest Rivalry In Baseball Gives It Another Go Around

The Yankees and the Red Sox are at it again.  This is a new look Red Sox team where the pieces are still starting to gel.  Forget about Boston's 0-6 start, this rivalry brings things to a whole new level each time they play each other.  This rivalry brings out an extra fire in the Yanks and Sox.  The fans are louder, the media is in full effect, the retired players are in attendance, and the nation is watching.  I expect fully to have a hard nosed, fight tooth and nail, kill or be killed mentality, which is hard to do since it is April and all.  The Red Sox are looking to turn things around, but the Yankees are looking to hit a knock out blow very early in the fight.  Here is a position by position analysis of the two teams to see who really has the edge.

1st Base: Mark Teixeira VS Adrian Gonzalez
By far the best bout of any in the scenario.  Two of the top strengths on both teams.  Teixeira is known around baseball for having slow starts, but he is absolutely on fire to start this season.  He is used to the big city scene.  He knows how to deal with the media.  I think this may be a bigger component of this argument than people think.  Adrian is coming from San Diego.  No offense to Padres fans, but they just aren't as into their baseball as Red Sox Nation.  They NEED Adrian to deliver on a nightly basis.  I give Gonzalez the edge in the power numbers and give Mark the edge in defense.  They are a wash when it comes to batting average.  Basically they are the same and since I must pick a winner I am going to pick Mark Teixeira because he has been there before.
Winner: Teixeira

2nd Base: Robinson Cano VS Dustin Pedroia
Two perennial MVP candidates every year, and we are talking about the second base position.  With Chase Utley, these are by far the best second basemen in the game.  Pedroia has all the hardware with the MVP award and the Rookie of the Year, but many are saying Cano is the future at the position.  Both showed they can play when the bright lights are on.  Both are hits machines and will be top five in batting average barring injuries.  Pedroia has an advantage in the speed category.  Cano has the power on his side.  This is the closest match-up of any on the list.  The best in the game will be playing at Fenway on Friday.  There must be a winner and even though he was injured for much of the season, I'm barely giving this one to Dustin.
Winner: Pedroia

3rd Base: Alex Rodriguez VS Kevin Youkilis
This is star power against scrappy.  Do you pick the perennial all star who has a shot to beat the home run record, or do you pick the scrappy player with the do anything for the team mentality?  You got Arod who is 615 home runs well on pace to crush the Bonds home run record, has had more celebrity girlfriends than world series rings, and always graces the magazine covers.  Then you got Youk who has a beard look mostly unkept, would rather get a walk than shoot for the home run, and i doubt would be able to get the likes of Cameron Diaz or Kate Hudson.  These two are polar opposites in almost every way except they that they are both exceptional third basemen in the major leagues.  I believe yo have to give the slight edge to Rodriguez for the sheer fact that he has all the eye popping numbers and continues to be consistent after all these years.
Winner : Rodriguez

Shortstop: Derek Jeter VS Marco Scutaro
You have the shortstop who has a strangle hold on his job until he decides he is done with it and then you have the guy who is fighting for his job on a daily basis.  Jeter may have had an off year last year, but do you really think it is a sign of things to come?  He may be getting a little up there in age, but I believe Derek will come back with a monster season.  On the other side you have Marco who is fighting off Jed Lowrie every day he is out there.  You see a different side of a person when his back is against the wall, but I still am going with the captain in a landslide.
Winner: Jeter

Right Field: Nick Swisher VS JD Drew
Are you guys starting to notice the same trend as I am that when it comes to this lineup every position seems to be a push and we just have to go with our gut?  This is another one of those scenarios.  Both are decent deep threats.  Nick has a slight edge when it comes to home runs and rbis.  He also takes a slight bump when it comes to walks.  Drew does have a higher batting average in most years and has the edge defensively.  Both bring a fun loving personality to the clubhouse, but Swisher transformed this team and most people say its one of the main reasons the Yankees won that 2009 World Series, and for that reason I am giving the edge to Swisher.
Winner: Swisher

Center Field: Curtis Granderson VS Jacoby Ellsbury

Both these men can show different sides of themselves. Will we see the second half Granderson who went on an offensive tear, or the beginning of the season one who was a major disappointment.  Then we have Ellsbury who is coming off a season where he could only play 18 games.  Well I like Granderson a lot.  I feel like he is going to have a great season.  However I believe that Jacoby is going to have a breakout year.  Curtis has the power numbers over Ellsbury, but I believe everything else will look up for Jacoby.
Winner: Ellsbury

Left Field: Brett Gardner VS Carl Crawford
Two of the fastest men in all of baseball, this left field match up will be a fast one.  Brett may be the fastest man in all of baseball, but that is all that he has over the Sox offseason acquisition.  Carl has the power, the average, the defense, and the production over Gardner.  If you need a stolen base I would shoot for Gardner, but anything else I would go for Carl.
Winner: Crawford

Catcher: Russell Martin VS Jarrod Saltalamacchia
What will the Yankees get from the former all-star in Martin?  What will the Red Sox get from someone who was predicted to be a multiple time all-star?  Will Jarrod live up to the potential finally?  Will Russell stay on the field for most of the season?  I am putting my money on Martin simply because I have seen him do it before and I have never seen Saltalamacchia actually use his talents to their fullest.
Winner: Martin

Designated Hitter:  Jorge Posada VS David Ortiz
Two pure power hitters, some of the best at what they do.  Posada, who is one of the last Yankees left from those 90s championship teams, still has a lot of pop to his bat, but lets see how he adjusts to a full time DH role.  Ortiz has been beating the stuffing out of the ball since the 03 season.  Has been basically the DH for the past couple years so he has the experience at the position that Posada doesn't possess.  Ortiz has a knack for turning everything around with one swing of the bat.  David is one of the most clutch players in the game.  Whoever can make it throughout the season with the least amount of injuries is going to be the better of the two.  My money is on Ortiz
Winner: Ortiz

Bench: New York VS Boston
Its a bench of experience versus a bench of potential.  Andruw Jones and Eric Chavez are the new additions to the Yanks bench and they will do nicely to make up for the loss of Marcus Thames.  The Red Sox have their captain, Mike Cameron and Jed Lowrie.  They both pose serious threats and former all-stars.  I think the Yankees bench has a little more pop which is what you want in the situations you will be putting these guys in for.
Winner: Yankees

Ace: CC Sabathia VS Jon Lester
Two of the better pitchers in the game will square off in one of these match ups.  You look at the past results and this is CC no doubt, but we are talking about this year.  Lester is gear for a monster year, maybe even a Cy Young award.  He looks to anchor one of the very best rotations in baseball.  Too bad that just isn't enough to beat out CC.  He is just too good, one of the top three pitchers in the game.  You have to give Jon his props, but Sabathia has too much power and control to be beaten.  Give the win to the workhorse.
Winner: Sabathia

Bullpen: Yankees VS Red Sox
I have to anoint these the two best bullpens in baseball.  With the addition of Soriano, the Yankees may have the two best closers in baseball.  With the Red Sox adding Jenks they can make the same argument.  Behind them isn't too shabby either.  The Yanks have Joba, Robertson, Colon, and Logan which I don't think a person in the world would poo poo that player card in the pen.  The Sox are coming in with Bard, Wheeler, and Reyes behind them which also is not too shabby.  The Red Sox are stacked in the pen this year, but the Yankees have the best in baseball this year.
Winner: New York

Starters 2-5
You look at these teams and you have names on both sides.  You have 18 game winner Phil Hughes, the ever erratic AJ Burnett, and who knows after that.  The Sox are sitting pretty with Lackey, Beckett, Daisuke, and their fifth guy.  This is Boston in a landslide.
Winner: Red Sox

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