Tom Verducci from Sports Illustrated and the Major League Baseball Network joined Dennis & Callahan to talk about the season at the quarter-mark, the Yankees outlook and why pitchers have been ahead of the hitters. He was also asked about Carl Crawford, who has continued to struggle in his first season with the Red Sox.
"He may need an entire season to really get adjusted to Boston and playing in the environment," Verducci said. "Obviously the Red Sox hope it comes a lot quicker, but it is a cultural change. There's no doubt. Where you have to explain yourself after every 0-for-4 every night of the week, it's a difficult adjustment. There's nothing that can prepare you for New York, Boston and I'll put Philly in this category, where the level of accountability is like nothing else in baseball. Some guys, like Edgar Renteria, they aren't comfortable and they never do get comfortable. I think Carl's going to be OK. But it may take longer than he or the Red Sox may like."
As for the Yankees, Verducci said that their team isn't built for the 2011 game.
"The Yankees put together a team that is counter to almost every trend in baseball," Verducci said. "You can't rely on offense from every-day production of guys in their late 30's. The Yankees have three guys in their starting nine [that age] and that doesn't even address the pitching. Pitching, they're way too right-handed. They have two left-handed pitchers on the entire staff, that needs to be addressed. Defense has become a bigger part of the game and they're a below-average defensive team. And they rely way too much on the home run. The Yankees don't have many ways to win without home runs. They're the worst team in baseball as far as getting a team from second base with a base hit. They don't run the bases well. They don't situational hit well. They can still hit home runs but I think that's a dangerous way to live."
Verducci believes that is part of a larger trend in baseball where young pitching, in adition to stricter drug-testing, has leveled the playing field across the board. "We're so used to seeing New York and Boston pound people and pile up wins especially on the back half of the division," he said. "That doesn't happen anywhere in baseball."