About last night.
Felix did what Felix does. Over eight innings, he struck out 11 and allowed no runs. He walked only three batters, and scattered four hits. The Yankees never had much of a chance, because AJ Burnett turned from Jekyll to Hyde, allowing five runs over his first four innings and letting in a sixth in the sixth inning. He looked good at times, and even settled down towards the end of the game, but the damage was done. In terms of probability, the Yankees didn’t have much of a chance:
Yet much like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, the Yankees wake up this morning no worse for the wear in the division. Boston’s Jon Lester was absolutely rocked by Lyle Overbay and the Blue Jays, allowing nine earned runs in two innings. Their bullpen was no help, as Atchison, Michael “nothing short of dominant” Bowden, Delcarmen and Wakefield all allowed runs in relief. The Red Sox lost 16-2, and their WPA chart was even uglier than New York’s:
Yikes. Out in Oakland, the Rays sent Jeremy Hellickson to the mound to face the Athletics. Hellickson continued his hot start, making fantasy owners everywhere regret they hadn’t picked him up yet, allowing three earned runs over 6.1 innings, striking out seven, walking one and allowing seven hits. When Hellickson left the game, the Rays were winning 4-3 and the Rays brought in Joaquin Benoit, who ranked very highly in my analysis of relievers on contending teams. Yet Benoit sent the Yankees and Red Sox a little gift. He walked Cust to lead off the inning, and Cust was replaced by Gabe Gross at first, and Kevin Kouzmanoff moved him to third on a single to right and advanced to second on the throw. With runners on second and third and no out, Rajai Davis did his job and hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Gross. Kouzmanoff would later score on an error by Ben Zobrist, and the Athletics went on to win 5-3. This game was more of a WPA rollercoaster:
As a fan, the Yankees loss was annoying. Bad AJ is worrisome, and there are question marks about this team’s rotation going into October. Additionally, Rodriguez apparently tried to come back too early and aggravated his injury. It was a frustrating night. At the same time, it looks worse for the Yankees’ competition. The Rays loss has to be discouraging. The bullpen wasted a solid outing from their young starter, and in dropping a game to a clearly inferior AL West opponent they blew a chance to move into a tie for first in the American League East. At the same time, the Red Sox was surely demoralizing. Jon Lester is clearly their best pitcher and the Jays lit him up. The Red Sox can’t afford very many more losses this year. The Rays have 40 games to play; if they play .500 ball they will end the year with a 94-68 record. In order for the Red Sox to end the year with a 95-67 record, they will have to go 26-13. It helps that they will have games against the Rays, but it’s getting late for Boston. On Thursday, the Red Sox PECOTA-adjusted playoff odds were around 20%. After their loss to the Angels on Friday, it fell to 18%. This morning, despite the fact that all three teams lost, it is down to 17%. The Yankees remain at 96%, with a 71% chance of winning the AL East. Despite the question marks, things are still good for the team. The Yankees will send Vazquez and his dead arm to the mound today to face Jason Vargas. Hopefully the pitcher can get back on track and pick up a win.
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