On Tuesday, October 12, the fiercest rivalry in baseball will resume.
There are many ways to go about breaking down the series. Using the head-to-head numbers, the Red Sox own a statistical advantage.
The Red Sox have won 20 of 38 regular season meetings over the past two years against Yankees. In those match ups the Sox have outscored the Yankees 215 to 199. The Sox have 58 homers to just 40 for the Yankees and have a significant edge in every rate statistic.
The Sox have an AVG/OBP/SLG line of .274/.347/.468 to the Yankees' .256/.340/.409. With the advantage in runs scored, it's a given that the Red Sox ERA would take the edge at 4.71 to 5.39 for the Bronx Bombers.
While the Sox own the statistical advantage in head-to-head match ups during the past two regular seasons, the Yankees have the edge where it matters most. They were victorious when the two met in the 2003 ALCS.
Boston was five outs from the World Series but the Yankees found a way to win-as usual. They knocked Pedro Martinez from game 7, and Boston's scapegoat, manager Grady Little, was fired thanks to his decision to leave his ace in the game.
The Yankees have defeated the Sox both times they have squared off in the playoffs and are 10-1 all-time in the League Championship Series. Whether you believe in it or not, the Yankees have a history of finding a way to win in October.
The Pythagorean Theorem is not just a math term you learn in high school, it is also a simple yet very accurate way of predicting win-loss records for both the past and the future using nothing but runs scored and runs allowed.
The Yankees may have had a better actual record than the Red Sox this season but their expected win-loss record wasn't even close. The Sox outscored the Bombers 949 to 897 and allowed just 769 runs while the Yanks allowed 808. Using these numbers, the Sox were expected to win eight more games than the Yankees, 97 to 89. The Yankees managed to win 101 games this season and if the theory and the law of averages hold true, they are in store for a few losses.
If recent history has taught us anything it's that two things matter most in the postseason; recent performance towards momentum and finding a dominant player to carry the team.
Since August 1 the Yankees have posted a solid record of 36-23, but were out played by Boston's record of 42-18. The Sox simply dominated the Anaheim Angels in the division by sweeping them in three games while the Yankees needed four games, two of which they had to come from behind to stave off defeat, to beat the Minnesota Twins.
The second criterion of a World Series team is much more difficult to predict. Last season an extremely talented but not very well-known Josh Beckett led the Marlins to the title. Francisco Rodriguez did the same for the Angels in 2002, blowing away hitters and setting a record for wins in the postseason.
Curt Schilling could be the deciding factor but he doesn't fit the correct mold. He is known by one and all and most are already predicting that he will win every time he takes the ball. It can't be Pedro Martinez; he can't sneak up on anyone. Mike Mussina and Kevin Brown are veterans and you know what you'll be getting out of them, for the most part.
There is one candidate that fits the bill- Red Sox right-hander Bronson Arroyo. Ignore the goofy haircut. He is young, talented, unknown, and most importantly, would pitch in game seven if the rotation stayed on schedule.
Throw the numbers out the window. Mystique and Aura are just exotic dancers according to Curt Schilling. All that matters are the 25 players in each dugout and the better 25 come from Boston. This is going to be an amazing series but the Sox are going to finally come on top. Only five outs from pay dirt last season but Arroyo leads them to the World Series this year.
Red Sox in Seven.
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