For Starters, Red Sox Outsmart The YankeesPosted: May 24, 2008
Theo Epstein and Red Sox Nation are happy with Dice K.
Let’s play a game. Choosing pitchers.
Since the 2004 season, which of these pitchers would you rather have on your staff?
Daisuke Matsuzaka or Kei Igawa?
Randy Johnson or Kurt Schilling?
Josh Beckett or Carl Pavano?
Most baseball experts would pick the trio of Dice K, Schilling and Beckett. Notice a pattern here? Brian Cashman does.Theo Epstein too.
In each instance, a Red Sox hurler gets the nod over a Yankee, former Yankee, or long-disabled Yankee. The decisions that were made around these six pitchers is a key factor — perhaps THE key factor — in the Red Sox, and not the Yankees, winning two World Series in the past four years.
Each of the three Boston pitchers won a World Series game last October in leading the Sox to a four-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies. Schilling and Pedro Martinez were the top starters on Boston’s 2004 title team. The Yankees, on the other side, haven’t seen the World Series since 2003, and haven’t won it in eight years..
Dice K and Igawa were both free agent pitchers who came over from Japan before the 2007 season. Matsuzaka was 15-12 last year in his first campaign with Boston, and is 8-0 so far this season.
Igawa, left, has been a Yankee bust. He was 2-3 last year and got bombed in his only start this year before being sent to Scranton-Wilkes Barre, which can’t be far enough away from the Bronx as far as Yankee fans are concerned.
Johnson and Schilling were teammates on the Diamondbacks and shared the World Series MVP in 2001 when Arizona beat the Yankees in a dramatic seven-game series. Traded to Boston after the 2003 season, Schilling went 21-6, beat the Yankees in the famous “Bloody Sock” game as the Red Sox overcame a 3-0 deficit, and then won a game to help Boston to its first World Series championship in 86 years.
The Big Useless
Johnson came to the Yankees in a trade before the 2004 season labelled as a savior…and had a confrontation with a TV camerman as soon as he arrived in town. Johnson posted a pair of 17-win seasons in New York, but was the “Big Useless” rather than the “Big Unit” when he failed miserably in two playoff starts. He was traded back to Arizona following the 2006 season.
Beckett and Pavano were starters on the Florida Marlins team that upset the Yankees in the 2003 World Series. Prior to the 2006 season, Beckett, who shut out the Yankees 2-0 in the clinching game of that Series, was traded to the BoSox. Following a 16-11 season, Beckett went 20-7 last year and is off to another good start in 2008. He has proven himself to be a clutch performance and a post-season horse.
Pavano was signed as a free agent a year later by the Yankees, where he’s won a total of five games and has spent more time on the disabled list than Brittney Spears has in rehab. Much more time in fact, Pavano hasn’t thrown a pitch in anger since April of 2007.
Granted, the Red Sox did trade promising shortstop Hanley Ramirez to Florida to get Beckett.ut Boston’s pitching has overshadowed the Yankees over the last four seasons.
No-Nos And Zeroes
There’s more. Boston’s young pitchers Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester have already thrown no-hitters, while New York youngsters Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy are still trying to prove themselves. Hughes and Kennedy have combined for one trip to the DL, one trip to the minors, and zero wins so far in 2008.
In addition to Igawa, Johnson and Pavano, the Yankees have had several other notable pitching duds over the past few years. Put Kevin Brown, Jaret Wright, Javier Vazquez, Sidney Ponson, Estaben Loaiza and Jeff Weaver on that list ,,,,,,, just to name a few.
Makes one wonder about the ability of Cashman and the Yankee brain trust to judge pitching talent.