New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox are a good baseball team. Right now, the New York Yankees are not exactly a good baseball. Some say the shine is off the famous rivalry and, from the looks of it, they are right.

The saturation point for this well-milked cash cow passed long ago. The collective apathy now outpaces the actual misery imparted on the baseball watching world by TV executives solely interested in, shockingly enough, their TV ratings.

The sun set on the cliched Yankees/Red Sox marathon, with bludgeoning offense and voluminous pitch counts sapping the neutral’s will to live. Or so it seemed.

The bad old days came back in a big way last night. Despite owning one of the worst offenses in baseball over the last two months, the Yankees and Red Sox put on a good, old fashioned, mid-nineties display of oppressive baseball last night, taking the good name of Sunday Night Baseball and dragging it through the mud.

It’s a simpler time in 2013. Offense is down, strikeouts up, home runs are again a scarcity rather than a birth right. Looking at the box score from last night’s Yankees/Red Sox game, won by the Sox 8-7 on an 11th inning Mike Napoli walkoff homer, you might think it is 2005 all over again.

15 runs, 24 hits, 12 walks, four errors, 405 pitches, 4:45 minutes from first pitch to merciful release.


Source: FanGraphs

For further context to our Game Chart of the weekend, behold:

hourly game chart

Taking shots at the Yankees and Red Sox but this game was nothing if not entertaining. Lead changes, drama, familiar names, it really had it all. It also featured an incredible 15 pitch at bat between Brett Gardner and Junichi Tazawa, which Gardner eventually won by forcing a walk.

tazawa gardner

The series, which the Red Sox won after winning Friday night’s series opener, had to leave the Yankees scratching their heads. They played the Sox tough but came up short in the starting pitching department, a worrying proposition for a team powered almost exclusively by their rotation for most of the season.

Last night, CC Sabathia was not sharp. He wasn’t “career over” bad like some on Twitter seemed to claim but the trend for Sabathia is worrying. Less worrying? The play of Hiroki Kuroda, as Big #HIROK once again provided the Yankees with a stellar start.

Hirok forever. Or not, whatever. The Yankees have some decisions to make at the trade deadline. Alex Rodriguez suffered a strain during his rehab assignment and Derek Jeter was placed on the disabled list, keeping two potential saviours out of the roster until August. Is it time to trade the Hughes and Chamberlains of the world? Or, perish the thought, Hirok himself?

Not the sort of choice the Yankees confront on an annual basis. Like I said, it’s a whole new world out there.

Matt Harvey tho

If “awesome pitching matchups” are your thing, it doesn’t get much better than Cliff Lee v. Matt Harvey. While the overall battle didn’t quite live up to billing (thanks to Cliff Lee allowing three home runs) but Matt Harvey was more than up to the task, as he is just about every time out.

Fresh off starting the All Star game for the National League, Matt Harvey looked every bit the ace he’s become. Harvey went seven seemingly effortless innings, striking out 10 against zero walks and just three hits allowed. He touched 100 miles per hour on multiple occasions and, according to Brooks Baseball, averaged 98.34 mph on his fastball. AVERAGED.

The 10K, 0 BB performance was the fourth of Matt Harvey’s young career. No other pitcher has so many such outings in the first 30 starts of their career.

Rk Gcar Player #Matching ERA CG SHO SV IP H ER HR BB SO WHIP
1 Matt Harvey 4 Ind. Games 0.58 0 0 0 31.0 13 2 1 0 43 0.42
2 Stephen Strasburg 2 Ind. Games 1.93 0 0 0 14.0 8 3 1 0 24 0.57
3 Mark Prior 2 Ind. Games 3.00 1 1 0 15.0 12 5 2 0 22 0.80
4 Hideo Nomo 2 Ind. Games 1.06 1 0 0 17.0 8 2 0 0 21 0.47
5 Gary Nolan 2 Ind. Games 2.45 0 0 0 14.2 13 4 1 0 27 0.89
6 Shelby Miller 2 Ind. Games 2.40 1 1 0 15.0 6 4 2 0 23 0.40
7 Dwight Gooden 2 Ind. Games 0.53 2 1 0 17.0 12 1 0 0 32 0.71
8 Rick Ankiel 2 Ind. Games 4.63 0 0 0 11.2 12 6 4 0 22 1.03
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/22/2013.

Harvey also picked up 22 swinging starts on Sunday, his fourth start this season with more than 20 whiffs. So yeah, Matt Harvey good.

Toothless Fish

The Marlins don’t even have Matt Harvey to blame for their ongoing offensive woes. The Marlins started the second half against the Milwaukee Brewers, a team with one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball, yet the Marlins went the entire weekend series at (joke stadium) Miller Park without scoring. Not once. Not a single run.

The Marlins offense scattered fifteen hits over three games in Wisconsin, fourteen of which were singles. They drew six walks and hit into four double plays. Their best offensive player during the three game set is barely an offensive player at all. Adeiny Hechavarria poked six hits, just three short of his total for the entire month of April.

This weekend was an extreme case but this is one of the worst offensive teams in recent memory. Sure, offense is down around the league but the Marlins lineup is abject from top to bottom. Even Getting Blanked spirit animal Giancarlo Stanton is not immune, putting up the worst numbers of his career in 2013. The Marlins team wRC+ of 70 is the lowest on record since they lowered the mound in 1969.

So bad is the state of affairs for the Marlins that, even as their offense lies dormant, they’re giving helping hands to the opposition.

Pity poor Stanton here, going all out for ball near the wall in a lost season. Maybe he pulls up, plays it into an easy double rather than risk (further) injury by tangling with the fence. Nope. He goes hard into the fence and, in the process, plays his Jonathan Lucroy shot into a homer. Marlins baseball, man. It’s the worst.

RELATED

You might notice that Giancarlo Stanton’s uniform was a little different in the above clip. The Marlins and Brewers wore Negro League throwback uniforms on Saturday and looked pretty damn sharp if you ask me. The whole thing wasn’t without incident as the one-off uniform game is a dangerous business but I think the Marlins should consider these as an official alternate jersey.

Miami Marlins v Milwaukee Brewers

Come around on the bright orange as I have, the Marlins/Brewers both wore Sunday unis yesterday and the results…well let’s say they’re a little bit worse than mixed. Not the best on-field combination I can remember.

Miami Marlins v Milwaukee Brewers

According to our own Chris Creamer of Sports Logos Net, this was the 12th different uniform the Brewers have worn this season. That seems like a lot.

Can’t Stop the Rays

The less about the infernal Tampa Bay Rays, the better. The red hot Rays ran over the Blue Jays this weekend, picking up the rare road sweep and sending Canadian teeth gnashing anew. The Rays bullpen bent but didn’t break as the Rays rode strong starting pitching to a three game victory.

The Rays are just 1.5 games behind the Red Sox with 58 wins. Only the Sox and Cardinals have more wins than the Rays in 2013. As you were.

RELATED

The Toronto Blue Jays honoured (see what I did there?) former slugger and all-around embassador for the game of baseball Carlos Delgado by placing his name in their “level of excellence.” Excellence describes Carlos Delgado perfectly, as the former Jays, Marlins and Met played at a very high level for a very long time, retiring with a career line of .280/.383/.546 with 473 home runs.

Tampa Bay Rays v Toronto Blue Jays

Just like during Carlos’s time with the Jays, the 2013 edition will come up a day late and a buck short in the standings. Unlike Carlos’s time, the Rays are the chief architects of the Jays downfall.

Let’s reflect back to a simpler time, when all Rays were Deviled and their pitching staff was an annual joke played on the good people of Central Florida.

Keep SF Weird

With this thing floating (?!?) around again, shouldn’t be too tough. Nerds are relentless folk, you know?