Friday, April 28, 2017

Yanks Beat Sox to Keep Rolling, Mets Reeling

Best earned-run average in baseball: The Yankees, at 2.90. Next-best: Chicago White Sox, at 2.92. This despite being in the American League, where you face 9 batters in a lineup, not 8 batters and a pitcher.

In fact, the top 5 teams in ERA are all in the AL: Filling it out are Baltimore, Boston and Houston. The Los Angeles Dodgers are 6th, and lead the National League at 3.48.

The worst? The Detroit Tigers at 5.29.

The Mets? 3.82. That's not bad at all, but it's nearly a run per 9 innings more than the Yankees.

That whole "We're gonna take back New York" thing that Met fans had? That didn't last long, did it? It was based on their starting rotation, their "four aces"? Well, Noah Syndergaard is cruising in terms of ERA and WHIP, but he's just 1-1. Jacob deGrom is doing all right in terms of personal stats, but is 0-1. Matt Harvey is the opposite: 2-1, but his ERA is 4.25, thanks to a rotten start yesterday afternoon against the Atlanta Braves. Zack Wheeler is 1-2 and 5.40. And Steven Matz hasn't pitched this season due to injury. Harvey may be struggling with his condition again. Syndergaard has twice had to be scratched from starts this season. "Thor"? Superhero, my ass.

The other thing the Mets' revival was based on was the slugging of Yoenis Cespedes. He got hurt in yesterday's game. Hamstring injuries often lead players to come back too soon, and make things worse. At any rate, Cespedes is out at least a month.

Travis d'Arnaud: .714. Neil Walker: .662. Asdrubal Cabrera: .652. Wilmer Flores: .537. Rene Rivera: .500. Curtis Granderson: .451. Jose Reyes: .437. Juan Lagares: .360. T.J. Rivera: .277. Those aren't batting averages, on-base percentages, or slugging percentages. Those are OPS's. Among Met regulars, only Cespedes (.992), Michael Conforto (.989), Jay Bruce (.945) and Lucas Duda (.931) were getting it done.

Bill Madden had a very telling column in today's Daily News, referring to the "great Mets myth" and "this horrific 8-13 start." He also said, "The Mets are not very good at creating runs." It's true: They've allowed 97 and scored 86. The average score of a Met game this season is Opponents 4.6, Mets 4.1.

In contrast, the Yankees have outscored their opponents 98-63, an average of 4.9 to 3.1.

If the New York teams continue at their current paces, the Mets will lose 100 games, while the Yankees will win 105.

By the way, did you notice who got the win for the Braves over the Mets yesterday? Ex-Met R.A. Dickey.

Was that 1 Pennant, with its humiliating World Series loss, and that 1 other Wild Card berth worth it? Considering that the Mets had only 7 postseason appearances in their 1st 53 seasons, yeah, it probably was. For them.

The Yankees have a higher standard.


As for those Yankees: Last night, at Fenway Park, in what was supposed to be the finale of a 3-game series, but which rain cut to 2 games, Masahiro Tanaka (who is, technically, the Yankee ace) did what Luis Severino (who isn't) did the night before, and then some: Show New York Tri-State Area baseball fans what an "ace" looks like.

He had to, because the Sox' big off-season acquisition, Chris Sale, also did so, going 8 innings, striking out 10 and walking none. But the Yankees got to him in the 4th inning: Aaron Hicks singled, a Chase Headley groundout got him to 2nd base, Sox catcher Leon allowed a passed ball to get Hicks to 3rd, and Matt Holliday aimed for the Green Monster, didn't quite make it, and it was caught by Andrew Benintendi, but it was deep enough to score Hicks to make it one-nil to the Bronx Bombers.

That was all Tanaka needed, but he got 2 more runs in the 9th. Again, Hicks came through with a leadoff single. Headley singled him over, and Holliday singled Hicks home. (Not quite a 4-H Club.) Sox manager John Farrell finally gave up on Sale, and brought in Heath Hembree. (Not to be confused with former Sox reliever Alan Embree.) Starlin Castro singled home Headley, and that gave the Yankees insurance runs.

Joe Girardi knew that Aroldis Chapman had thrown a lot of pitches and struggled the night before. But Tanaka was under the pitch limit, so Girardi left him in there for the bottom of the 9th. He kept cruising, getting 3 groundouts to complete a 3-hit, no-walk shutout. (Think about that: No walks given up by either team in the game.)

Yankees 3, Red Sox 0. WP: Tanaka (3-1). No save. LP: Sale (1-2). As Yankee broadcaster Michael Kay would say, "And the time of the game, a very manageable 2 hours and 21 minutes." That's what happens when you've got 2 good pitchers, and they're both on.

Incredible: In the face of so many previous Yanks-Sox games, especially at Fenway, the Yankees scored a grand total of 6 runs in the series, and walked away unbeaten. Granted, it was only 2 games, but we've seen the little green pinball machine in the Back Bay produce scores resembling those of football games.


So we head into the weekend with the Yankees at 13-7, 1 game behind the Baltimore Orioles in the American League Eastern Division. At 14-6, the O's have the best record in the AL, 2nd in MLB only to their neighbors, the Washington Nationals, at 16-6, and they already lead the Mets by 7 1/2 games.

The Yankees come home to Yankee Stadium II, and who do they face? The Orioles. This is a showdown series, and the Yankees need to take at least 2 out of 3 to send Buck Showalter's Birds a message. Here are the projected starting pitchers:

* Tonight, 7:05 PM: CC Sabathia vs. Kevin Gausman.

* Tomorrow, 1:05 PM: Michael Pineda vs. Ubaldo Jimenez.

* Sunday, 1:05 PM: Jordan Montgomery vs. Wade Miley. Yeah, sounds like a couple of law firms. I hope Montgomery lays down the law.

Come on you Pinstripes!

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