Monday, August 22, 2011

Who Has It Better/Worse, Yanks or Sox?

Let me break down the 2011 AL East for you:

Yankees play Red Sox. Red Sox beat Yankees senseless. Red Sox take two game lead in division. Yankees and Red Sox go play other teams. Yankees beat every other team senseless. Red Sox beat every other team not as much as Yankees beat them. Yankees re-take lead in division. Rinse, wash, repeat.

In this most recent cycle, completed last week when the Yankees re-took the lead in the division last Tuesday, got me thinking: who has it better/worse?

On the one hand, the Red Sox are 10-2 against the Yankees. On the other hand, the Yankees are 75-38 against everyone else, while the Red Sox are 67-47 against everyone else.

Which one speaks louder? You could certainly make arguments on both sides. One is that the head-to-head matters most, and the Sox turn it on when they need to, meaning that they often have it off sometimes against everybody else. Two is that the record - against a near identical schedule - against everyone else is more telling, because the Sox just happen to have the Yankees number in a small sample, no different than the Angles having the Red Sox number, the Yankees having the Twins number, whatever it may be.

I tend to think that neither is the case. I like to look at the biggest picture available, and that picture right now is 77-48 against 77-49. The interior components of those records, as many as they are, don't matter as much as that total number. Anybody who has been reading here for a while knows that I don't view run differential as more telling than actual record, but rather just one thing to consider in analyzing records. When two teams are as close as these teams seem to be, this is a place where it could be useful to find some sort of delineation. For those interested in such things, the Yankees are at +188, best in baseball, and the Red Sox are at +144, 3rd just behind the Phillies.

But again, I'm a total record guy. 10-2. 2-10. +37 against the rest of baseball. + 20 against the rest of baseball. I don't really think any of that matters that much. 0.5 games. 37 and 36 games to go respectively. Should be a fun race to the finish in the AL East.

Go Yankees.


Ross Kaplan said...

If nothing unexpected happens I still think the Sox will win the division and be favored to win the ALCS, their offense down the line is just that much better than what the Yanks can put up and if they have an edge in pitching at all, the Yanks edge over the Sox in that department is negligible. I just don't think the results of the season series will have a huge psychological effect on either time, both have been in this situation many times in recent years to let that happen.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that different people in NY have different perspectives about the Red Sox offense. Featherston seems unimpressed- Kaplan thinks the Red Sox have a much better lineup than the Yankees. Would love to see the two of you go back and forth on this and to hear your rationale.

I will say again what I've said before. I want the Red Sox to win the division because I think playing at home to start the division series would be big for this team (moreso than for other teams). I personally don't see them going on the road and beating Texas in the division series.