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How top pitchers fared against Sox and Yankees

02.01.10 at 1:16 pm ET

As Lou Merloni pointed out in this blog entry, both the Red Sox and Yankees struggled against a set of pitchers with arguably the best stuff in the American League. As Lou documents, Zack Greinke, Roy Halladay, Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, John Lackey and Matt Garza did not discriminate when it came to shutting down their opponents (except for Greinke, who shut out the Sox for six innings but never faced the Yankees).

The group had a combined 6-4 record and 2.42 ERA against the Red Sox; against New York, those six pitchers went 6-3 with a 2.16 ERA. This is an illustration of Lou’s conclusion, that “nobody hits good pitching.” And, certainly, there’s some truth to that.

That said, the Yankees did a far better job than the Sox in 2009 of beating up on the second tier of pitchers — hurlers who may have fallen short of the Cy Young-caliber greatness of pitchers like Greinke, Hernandez, Halladay and Verlander, but who were still above average.

To wit: in 2009, the Sox faced 20 of the 42 pitchers who had a sub-4.00 ERA in 162 or more innings. That group (in 36 starts) went 15-10 with a 2.72 ERA, meaning that they offered a reasonable facsimile of a season’s worth of Halladay (who finished the year with a 17-10 record and 2.79 ERA for the Blue Jays).

The Yankees faced 20 of the 42 pitches who finished the year with a sub-4.00 ERA while qualifying for the ERA title. That group (in 43 starts) went 16-12 with a 3.99 ERA against New York, numbers more in line with pitchers like Jason Marquis (15-13, 4.04), A.J. Burnett (13-9, 4.04), and Joe Blanton (12-8, 4.05) — all pitchers who enjoyed solid years, but none of whom even sniffed Cy Young contention.

So, the Sox’ problems last year — at least one of the areas in which they suffered by comparison with their New York rivals — was less their inability to beat elite pitching (something that generally should plague any offense) than it was the ability to handle more modest opponents.


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Read More: felix hernandez, john lackey, justin verlander, matt garza
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