ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick:
“Mike (FL): Mussina, Wang, Pettite, Hughes, Igawa, Pavano… How good can the Yanks staff be this season?
Jerry Crasnick: Mike, I don’t have a whole lot of faith in Pavano, and Igawa is obviously a mystery at this point. Given that we’re a week into camp and the New York papers are already hyping Philip Hughes, that’s a little scary. The Red Sox have reason to feel a lot better about their rotation than the Yankees right now.”
I want to make a few things clear. Firstly, I do not think the Red Sox’ rotation will be terrible. I think it will be adequate. Secondly, I do not think that the Yankees’ rotation will be lights-out. I think it will be above average. But the main point of all these posts about the Red Sox’ rotation is not to bash it. The point is to show the often completely inane reasoning – or lack thereof – behind certain analysts’ opinions. I just don’t know how people like Crasnick can look at the Red Sox’ starting pitchers and ignore: (1) the overweight 40 year old power pitcher who is showing signs of decline (2) the Japanese starter who has never pitched against this kind of competition (3) the 26 year old with a 5.00 ERA, an alarming HR rate, and no secondary pitches and (4) the former reliever with shoulder problems who will have his innings more than doubled this year.
Crasnick’s thinking is inexplicable. Igawa and Matsuzaka – for all intents and purposes – are the same right now (their numbers in Japan are quite comparable, actually). So if Crasnick says that Igawa is a mystery at this point, then so is Matsuzaka. Neither of them has done this before. I don’t have a lot of faith in Pavano either, but it seems like he’s finally gotten his act together. In his 17 starts before his injuries, he had a 4.77 ERA. That’s better than Beckett. And don’t even get me started on Crasnick’s argument against Hughes. The fact that Hughes is being hyped is scary? This means he’s not the consensus #2 overall prospect in baseball right now? This negates how scary-good he is? You’ve got to be kidding me. The idea that Hughes is less of a pitcher because he is getting attention for his incredible talent is unfathomably moronic.
No, Jerry Crasnick, the Red Sox do not have reason to feel a lot better about their rotation than the Yankees right now. The fact is, we don’t know which team has the advantage. But usually when we don’t know something, we make an educated guess based on evidence, information and past experience. This is my primary beef with the sportswriting community: its continual inability to look at all the readily available information and put forth an informed opinion. I don’t care if people think the Red Sox are better than the Yankees. That’s fine. But they should have solid reasoning behind it – or any argument, for that better. Crasnick’s response is just another example of the sort of laziness (stupidity?) that drives me crazy.
I swear, I’m done with the Red Sox’ rotation stuff. Maybe.