Yesterday Dallas Morning News columnist, Tim Cowlishaw, wrote a article talking about how the Rangers-Angels rivalry had surpassed the Red Sox-Yankees. Now I respectfully disagree with this. Yes, the Sox haven’t made the playoffs in two years, but neither have the Angels. The Angels stole C.J. Wilson away from the Rangers and he tweeted Mike Napoli’s number. So? Where’s the intensity in their games? The answer is there isn’t. Rivalries aren’t measured by skill of the teams, but intensity between the teams and the fans. I realize the fans don’t like each other in Dallas and LA, but there’s nothing like the hate between a die hard Sox and die hard Yanks fan. It’s these things that make a rivalry great. Just because one team got two great players doesn’t make them part of a great rivalry. Until the Red Sox-Yankees hate dies down no rivalry in all of sports can challenge it.
Another thing that bothered me was that he said the Sox were the third best team in the AL East. Once again I disagree. Although the Sox have had back to back third place finishes in the division, there’s still reason to believe they’re the best.
The first reason is they have without a doubt the best lineup in the division, maybe even the best in the MLB. The top six hitters in the lineup are all All-Stars who’ve all finshed in the top five in MVP votes, with exception of Crawford whose top MVP finish was seventh place. Also behind those six are three solid, proven hitters.
The second reason is the top of their rotation is the best in the division. Many people could argue that Price, Shields, Hellickson trumps Lester, Beckett, Buchholz, but I don’t believe so. Lester-Price is a toss-up, but Beckett edges out Shields and Buchholz, when healthy, is by far better than Hellickson. I will say that the Rays rotation overall beats the Sox’s, but the top of the Sox’s rotation out matches the Ray’s.
My third and final reason is, the Red Sox bullpen (with Bard) is the best in the division. Bailey is the second best closer in the AL East, and Bard and Melacon are the second third best set-up guys in the division next to David Robertson. Aceves is the best long reliever and Albers is the best middle relief pitcher in the division. No bullpen in the east can match up with the Sox’s depth.
I’m sorry Tim Cowlishaw, I respect you, but I refuse to believe that Rangers-Angels trumps Sox-Yankees, or the Sox are the third best team in the East.