Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, June 28, 2014 at 8:00 PM
Even in a down year, it’s still a rivalry that ESPN wants to shove down your throats! The network actually spent time during Sportscenter the other day polling viewers as to whether or not Yankees/Red Sox was still a rivalry. Hate endures!
ESPN, FOX, and the rest of the mainstream media got spoiled over the recent resurgence of this rivalry. Two of the richest and most consistently excellent teams of the prior decade put on quite a show as each battled to attain World Series glory. This year? Boston stalled when the green flag waved, while the Yankees have been puttering around the track trying to put things together.
But, there’s still time to make a run. As we approach midseason (Boston played game #81 Saturday), either of these teams could get hot...close strong…and chase down Toronto at the top of the AL East. Entering the weekend, the Yankees were only two games out of first place despite weeks of mediocrity. Boston was further back…but not so far back that they’re a lost cause. One good month and they’re back over .500. Two good months in the last three and the defending World Champs could make the final days of September very interesting.
Will Sunday’s game be interesting? Let’s run the numbers…
Boston: 3.76 runs per game, .319 on-base, .367 slugging
N. York: 4.06 runs per game, .318 on-base, .383 slugging
Very poor offenses here, particularly for Boston. Both are close to average in on-base percentage. But, Boston has the worst slugging percentage in the AL despite playing home games in Fenway Park. Yanks aren’t much better. Those extra slugging points have pushed them over 4.00 runs per game though. Huge disappointments here compared to recent norms. Rich teams should NEVER have this much trouble scoring runs. It’s just too easy to buy offense these days. Edge with the bats to the Yankees.
John Lackey: 3.45 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 7.8 K-Rate
Chase Whitley: 4.07 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 6.0 K-Rate
Lackey had thrown six straight quality starts…including a shutout of Minnesota…until getting rocked in Seattle last time out with seven earned runs allowed in 3.2 innings. Normally his numbers would grade out well for a Red Sox pitcher. But, in a “year of the pitcher,” throwing in front on an anemic offense, Lackey may have trouble making much of an impact.
Whitley has made eight starts since joining the rotation. He was more than holding his own during a gradual build up of his pitch counts. Gems on the road against Seattle and Kansas City really stood out, even if those offenses have posted poor stats this season. But, Toronto hit him very hard last time, as he allowed eight earned runs in 3.1 innings. So, tonight we have BOTH pitchers coming off very bad performances.
The math suggests an edge to Lackey. But, if Whitley is a pitcher who will shut down bad offenses…well, he’s facing a bad offense tonight.
The Sunday Nighter on ESPN may or may not be part of JIM HURLEY’S final Sunday selection slate. He loves attacking Sunday Night games because you can press up your daytime winnings. But, he’ll only release a play if there’s a true edge!
You can purchase the final word for Sunday right here at the website with your credit card before first pitch of the earliest starts. If you have any questions about extended service, call us Sunday morning at 1-888-777-4155. Be sure to check on early-bird football rates when you call.
July is imminent…which means we’ll begin our college football conference previews very soon. Here’s this week’s NOTEBOOK schedule:
Monday: Oakland at Detroit, potential playoff series preview
Tuesday: St. Louis at San Francisco, potential playoff series preview
Wednesday: College Football: Mountain West “East” Preview
Thursday: College Football: Mountain West “West” Preview
Friday: July 4 Baseball Extravaganza
Saturday: College Football: Conference USA “East” Preview
Sunday: College Football: Conference USA “West: Preview
That will be the basic format through the month of July. We’ll run college football conference previews in paired-up days since so many leagues are now broken into divisions. Those will run on Wed-Thu and Sat-Sun each week. That will free up Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays for important series previews in Major League Baseball. On the Monday and Tuesday of the All-Star Break, we’ll provide first half summaries for each league.
Come August, it’s time for NFL divisional previews which will run through the opening days of the exhibition slate. Circle August 18 on your calendar now…that’s a Monday Night game on ESPN featuring Johnny Manziel and the Cleveland Browns visiting RGIII and the Washington Redskins!
For now…we’re going to wrap up June with big baseball matchups like Red Sox/Yankees. Enjoy the game…gear up for a fantastic July 4 week…because it’s going to be NON-STOP FIREWORKS from JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!