Wager 2 Win - Online Casino Beginners Guide


A Hero's Welcome? Don't Count On It!
Date: Tuesday, May 02 @ 12:26:20 CDT
Topic:Online gambling news

By Mike Brody - WagerWeb.com Contributing Writer

Any game between the Red Sox and the Yankees is always a special event. On Monday, the first meeting of the season between the two arch rivals will take on added significance, as it will mark Johnny Damon's return to Fenway Park in Yankee pinstripes. Damon has said that he hopes the fans who once regarded him as one of the most popular players ever to play for the team will cheer him upon his return. As a card carrying member of Red Sox nation, I can tell you it's not going to happen.

The Evil Empire

When Damon spurned Boston's 4-year, $40 million offer last winter to sign with the hated Yankees for $12 million dollars more, he instantly became public enemy No. 1 in the Hub. We understand that baseball is a business and Damon's departure was not completely unexpected, but to go directly to the Yankees from the Red Sox is unforgivable in the eyes of Red Sox fans. Especially when you're the caliber of player that Damon is. Damon's presence at the top of the Yankees' lineup has made their potent lineup even more formidable.

He has become the catalyst for their attack, and with hitters like Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield, Jason Giambi, and Hideki Matsui hitting behind him, there's a good chance he could lead the league in runs scored. But Johnny needs to play defense too. He still has the speed to track down balls in the spacious Yankee Stadium outfield, but with one of the weakest arms in baseball - now even weaker because of a shoulder injury - teams will be running at will on the Yankee outfielder all season.

Solid Replacement

Replacing a player as good and as popular as Damon was is never easy, but Red Sox GM Theo Epstein was able to get the best player possible when he swung a deal with the Cleveland Indians, bringing Coco Crisp to Boston. Crisp, 26, is 6 years younger than Damon and is just coming into his prime. The two had almost identical numbers last season and Crisp is a much better fielder than Damon. He also makes about 1/4 of what Damon does. Crisp was an instant hit with the fans and had an immediate impact on the team.

Unfortunately, he suffered a hand injury and has been out since the second week of the season. He is expected back in mid-May. In the five games before he was injured, Crisp put up impressive stats: .333 (8 for 24), 6 runs, 2 steals, .385 on-base percentage, and .458 slugging percentage. The Red Sox were 4-1 with him in the lineup. Without him, they have gone 10-9 heading into Sunday's game and are averaging about 1 run less a game.

Pitching Is the Key

Everyone expects both teams to battle each other right down to the wire once again this season. The Yankees have the best lineup money can buy and the Red Sox feature the most feared one-two punch in baseball in Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz. Their presence makes a solid lineup even better. The key to who wins the division and who wins this early season series will be pitching, as always. With Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett leading the way, Boston's staff has been impressive thus far. The Red Sox also have one of the best bullpens in the league now with rookie fireballer Jonathan Papelbon dominating in the early going. Papelbon saved his 10th straight game to start the season on Saturday - a Major League rookie record - and has yet to allow a run in 14 innings entering play on Sunday.

The Yankees' starting pitchers are inconsistent at best, and considering their age, very susceptible to injury. 42-year-old Randy Johnson has obviously lost some of his command and velocity as his chronic back and knee injuries already look to be affecting him. Shawn Chacon and Chen-Ming Wang have ERAs of about 4.50, which leaves Mike Mussina New York's only reliable starter. It's only a matter of time until he breaks down too. When the Yankees have a lead in the late innings, they can't rely on future Hall-of-Fame closer Mariano Rivera like they used to either. Rivera already has been tagged with two losses and he is no longer feared throughout the league, especially in Boston where he has had his share of troubles over the past few seasons.

Act One

Monday marks the first game of this season's edition of the greatest rivalry in sports. The 13-year veteran knuckleballer Tim Wakefield will be on the mound for the Red Sox facing Wang. Tuesday's match-up pits Beckett against Chacon. The Red Sox definitely have the edge on the mound, but all the attention will be on Damon. Red Sox fans have had May 1st circled on their calendars since the day their beloved center fielder signed with their arch enemy. One day, Red Sox nation will welcome Johnny back to Boston as the hero whose two home runs in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS at Yankee Stadium completed the greatest comeback in sports history. Monday, however, will not be that day.

copyright© wager2win.co.uk 2005 - 2013