Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sleeping with the Enemy?

After spending much of the weekend at Dartmouth College's Family Weekend, I got some new perspectives on the Red Sox-Yankee rivalry. Well, maybe they aren't so new, but here are some thoughts from the enemy.

  • Most are not holding Joe Torre responsible for the Yankee decline
  • Most believe this slump to be a) temporary and b) related to injuries
  • Some do wonder if Mariano Rivera could, in fact, experience an age-related decline
  • While most respect A-Rod's meteoric start, they don't necessarily embrace him in the Yankee tradition

Kevin Youkilis wondered whether Sox fans were too quick to judgment. At this point in the season, we have a larger sample size and we can note some observations.

  • The reformation of the pitching staff has been the greatest contribution to the team's success
  • The bullpen breadth and depth has improved via the return of Papelbon to closer (and his judicious use), and surprising effectiveness of Okajima, Donnelly, and Pineiro in particular. Timlin and Snyder haven't had enough opportunities to make any sweeping assessment and Romero has been shaky.
  • Alex Cora's strong play has compensated for Pedroia's struggles.
  • Ortiz and Lowell's production has compensated for Manny's sluggish (but improving) start.
  • Terry Francona's steady management, and use of the entire roster gets overlooked and his 'control' of the complex personalities on a high payroll, high maintenance roster is admirable.

2 comments:

Sally said...

Nice blog! I agree with your Francona assessment. He is even keeled yet acknowledges the passions of the fans without dismissive. I think he is the best manager for this team

wadeb said...

I couldn't agree more that the starting pitching has been the #1 difference between this year and last, followed closely by the bullpen. Interesting note on Beckett's struggles after switching leagues. Think we're seeing, and will probably continue to see for at least a few more starts, Dice-K go through the same thing.