Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Dissed again by Big Apple know-it-all

The magic number is 12 and the lead over the Tigers is 6 1/2 games.

(UPDATE: Magic number now 11 after Tuesday's game)

Still, here in the Big Apple, the Indians continue to get no respect.

Yesterday I mentioned a talk radio guy commenting that the Yankees would be better off if the Tribe overtook the Angels for the second-best record in the league, so the Yankees would get to play the Indians in round one of the playoffs.

Today, his comments were more explicit. More in-your-face.

Today this talk-show host said it would be "absolutely huge" for the Yankees to get the Indians in the first round instead of the Angels. He said he "never thought the Indians would stay in the race for the division much less win it" when he was in Cleveland with the Yankees at the beginning of August. In fact, he said the Tribe "looked liked a Triple-A team" when the Yankees visited the Jake.

He didn't stop with the Tribe. He also said there "is no way the Yankees will blow their lead over the Tigers" for the wild-card spot. "It's just not going to happen."

The guy mentioned that the Yankees were 6-0 against the Indians this year, that "the Yankees have the Indians' number and they've always had the Indians' number."

This is nothing unusual for me to hear. I hear it all the time from the fine citizens of NYC and its surrounding area. Of course they don't know Fausto Carmona from Asdrubal Cabrera, but they're pretty sure it doesn't matter and that they have a firm handle on how things should and will go in the post season.

My announcer friend never stopped to consider that the Indians met the Yanks during two very cold periods for the Tribe, early April and during their dreadful post-All-Star-Game slump. Or that the Yanks came into the August series averaging nine runs a game for nearly a month - a pace no team could maintain.

Much more importantly, our baseball expert failed to compare the Indians rotation with that of the Yankees. And, as other baseball experts will tell you, pitching wins in the playoffs.

I'll take the Tribe's top two over the Yankees first two starters any day.

CC Sabathia is 17-7 with a 3.15 ERA . Fausto Carmona is at 16-8. 3.20.

For the Yankees this year, their ace Chien-Ming Wang is 18-6 (with the best offense in baseball supporting him) and an ERA more than a half-run higher than CC's at 3.69. Their No. 2 man is Andy Pettite at 13-8 and 3.78, once again more than a half-run higher than Carmona.

Mike Mussina has the next-highest win total on the Yankee staff at eight, but with his 5.51 ERA he's been dropped from the rotation. Roger Clemens is next at six wins, with a 4.45 ERA. True Clemens took the first few months of the season off, but that seems to be his style. He pretty much takes every inning after the fifth off in most of his starts, having averaged 5 2/3 innings in his 16 starts. The middle of the Yanks' bullpen is no better than the Tribe's, so they might need Roger to stretch those old bones for more than a five-and-fly in the playoffs.

At this late date, the Yankees aren't even sure who will make up their starting rotation during the playoffs. As I mentioned, Mussina has been kicked to the curb, rookie Phil Hughes has been a below-average starter since returning from injury and has only two wins all year, with an ERA of 5.33.

On the other hand, the Tribe is quite set with Jay Westbrook and Paul Byrd at three and four in the rotation.

Byrd has 14 wins and a 4.30 ERA and either he or Westbrook would be a decent matchup for Clemens.

Westbrook has only five wins on the year, but was 4-1 in August - after a bout with an injury earlier - and posted a 1.90 ERA. In two September starts his ERA is a more realistic, but still very solid, 3.35.

So more than the Tribe's top two, I'd take the Tribe's four-man rotation over the Yankees top four (if they ever figure out who that would be) without batting an eye.

The Yankees are a far superior offensive team, but they have had two extended periods of offensive ineptitude this season. Who's to say it won't happen again - around the first of October.

I'm not naive enough, or pompous enough, to say that I KNOW the Indians are a better all-around team than the Yankees.

All I'm saying is I know enough about both teams to know the Yankees may find out the Tribe is not the walk-in-the-park that their fans, and my talk-show friend would have you believe.

By the way, should you wish to let this guy know what you think of him, his name is
Michael Kay. He's the Yankees play-by-play guy on the YES Television Network (with one of the most amateurish home run calls I've ever heard). He also hosts a radio talk show on ESPN 1050 in New York on weekday afternoons. Drop him an e-mail, won't you?


moose said...

micheal kay - here comes the moose

moose said...

fair or foul

I will take 7-3 on the road
giveme 6-3 onthe home stand with 2 / 3 against detroit and you can print my playoff ticket

moose said...

by the way I email micheal kay and got undelivered error message