Matthews: The Yankees Lose...Thaa Yaaankees Looose


The New York Yankees had a very good 2018 season but it ended abruptly Tuesday night when a two-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning fell one run short in a 4-3 home loss to the Boston Red Sox.

The disappointing  loss in Game 4 of the best-of-five series will be remembered for the Yankees having to start CC Sabathia against baseball’s best-hitting team in a do-or-die situation, manager Aaron Boone benching rookie star third Miguel Andujar in favor of journeyman Neil Walker and slugger Giancarlo Stanton yet again failing to contribute anything meaningful.

Do the Yankees need a major overhaul? Of course not. They won 100 games in the regular season, set a MLB record with 267 home runs and had a deep and solid bullpen.

What do the Yankees need? Two starting pitchers to replace used-up Sabathia and disappointing Sonny Grey. At least one more left-handed bat – unless Greg Bird can recover from a brutal season. More production from catcher and better defense from Gary Sanchez would help. One new starting corner outfielder to replace Brett Gardner, who still could be a useful reserve.

The bottom line: the Yankees need only minor fine-tuning. Andujar, Gleyber Torres and Luke Voit figure to improve after productive rookie seasons. The starting rotation should be better.

The Yankees are likely to improve a bit in 2019 and Boston probably will slip a bit. It figures to be another two-team race in the AL East, with Tampa Bay at least 10 games off the pace and Toronto and Baltimore far below .500.


The Red Sox and Astros – probably MLB’s two-best teams – will collide in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series starting Saturday night in Boston.

Here’s how the teams measured up in the regular season:

Records – Boston 108-54: home 57-24; road 51-30...Houston 103-59; 46-35home; 57-24 road...The Red Sox have the home=field advantage but the Astros were fabulous on the road this season.

Run differential – Boston +229 (876-647)...Houston +263 (797-534). The Red Sox had the better offense this season but the Astros had deeper pitching – particularly in the bullpe.

Total bases – Boston 2,550...Houston 2,319

Doubles – Boston 355...Houston 278

Triples – Boston 31...Houston 18

Home runs – Boston 208...Houston 205

Strikeouts – Boston 1,253...Houston 1,197

Bases On Balls – Boston 569...Houston 565

On-base percentage – Boston .339...Houston .329

Slugging percentage – Boston .453...Houston .439

OPS – Boston .792...Houston .764

Stolen bases – Boston 125...Houston 71. A rarity -- a Red Sox team with decent speed.

Earned-Run Average – Boston 3.75...Houston 3.11

Boston starters 3.77 ERA, relievers 3.72

Houston starters 3.16 ERA, relievers 3.03 ERA

Batting average against – Boston .237...Houston .217

Strikeouts – Boston 1,558...Houston 1,687

Bases On Balls --Boston 512...Houston 435

Errors – Boston 77...Houston 63 (fewest in MLB)

Fielding percentage – Boston .986...Houston .989.

Bob’s prediction – Houston in 6.


The Buffalo Bills advanced two spots to No. 29 in this week’s ESPN Power Rankings.

ESPN also says Buffalo has the 30th toughest strength of schedule for the rest of this season (it looks much tougher than that to me).

ESPN notes that the Football Power Index gives the Bills a 13 percent chance to won Week 16 at New England. Buffalo was 9 percent to win at Minnesota Week 3. Buffalo won 27-6 in the biggest upset since 2009.


The New York Giants are 1-4 but due for a top effort and some better luck Thursday night at home against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Three of New York’s losses were by 2, 5 and 8 points. QB Eli Manning passed for 326 yards, Saquon Barkley ran for two TDs and Odell Beckham Jr. had 131 yards receiving and a TD in last week’s 33-31 loss at Carolina.

The Eagles are 2-3 and figure to miss top running back Jay Ajayi, out for the season with a torn ACL.  Philadelphia is shopping for a replacement but will be short-legged Thursday night.

Warning: The Eagles are 7-1 in the last 8 meetings.

Thursday night’s “Best Bet”: NEW YORK GIANTS (+3) 27, Philadelphia 20.


The Buffalo Bills will play Sunday at the Houston Texans.

Most of the legal sports books in Las Vegas have yet to post odds on the game due to the questionable status of Houston star quarterback. He has a chest injury after taking some big hits in last Sunday night’s 16-13 overtime home win over the Dallas Cowboys. His backup QBs are Joe Webb III, a hero of Buffalo’s Blizzard Bowl win over Indianapolis last season, and ancient retread Brandon Weeden.

Watson has been hit 55 times while running and been sacked 18 times already this season. No teammate more wants Watson to run less and stay healthy than DeAndre Hopkins, probably the best wide receiver the Bills will face this season. Here’s how Hopkins compares through five games this season compared to the SIX wide receivers used by Buffalo:

Hopkins – 39 catches for an NFL-most 594 yards and 2 touchdowns; 118.8 yards receiving per game. He has 19 catches for 320 yards in his last two games.

Zay Jones, Levin Benjamin, Andre Holmes, Robert Foster, Ray-Ray McCloud III and Jeremy Kerly combined – 23 catches for 247 yards and 2 touchdowns; 49.4 yards receiving per game.


The College at Brockport Golden Eagles football team crushed Hartwick College 55-7 last Saturday and continues to rank No. 4 in both national Division III polls.

Brockport plays at Alfred University Saturday and returns home October 20 versus Buffalo State.

Among the 248 Division III football teams, Brockport ranks second in total defense (allowing 186.0 yards per game and 3.21 yards per play; allowed 6 offensive TDs)...and 17th in total offense (490.4 yards per game; 6.47 yards per play; have scored 28 offensive TDs).


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking very smart for taking a chance on lineman Ali Marpet from tiny Hobart College in Geneva, New York, with the 61st overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft.

Marpet has started all 44 of the games he has played for the Buccaneers – at right guard in 2015 and 2016, center in 2017 and left guard this season.

Tampa Bay this week rewarded Marpet for his production and versatility. He signed a new deal through the 2023 season.


Can the Colorado Rockies recover without making a few significant changes after the embarrassing batting collapse in the 3-0 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Division Series: 28 innings, 14 hits, 2 runs, 2 earned runs, 8 walks, 30 strikeouts.

The Rochester Americans are off to a 0-2 start in this American Hockey League season – both games at home before crowds of 5,203 (opening night last Friday and 3,076 (last Saturday night) The Amerks are home again Wednesday night and could use a victory and a decent crowd.

Buffalo’s downtown baseball stadium has a new name: Sahlen Field was announced Tuesday. It is the fifth name since the stadium opened in 1988: Pilot Field to North AmeriCare Park to Dunn Tire Park to Coca-Cola Field to Shalen Field. Sahklen’s is a Buffal0-based hot dog company.


Wednesday, October 10

Michael Carter-Williams 27...Gene Smith 28...Jeurys Familia 29...Andrew McCutchen 32...Troy Tulowitzki 34...Paul Posluszny 34...Pat Burrell 42...Dale Earnhardt Jr. 44...Alexi Zhitnick 46...Brett Favre 49...Brett Perrimen 53...former Amerk Mike Donnelly 55...Gus Williams 65...Bruce Devlin 81. David Lee Roth 64 is invited to the birthday party.

Tuesday, October 11

T.J. Watt 24...Michelle Wie 29...Mike Conley 31...Justin Falk 30...Terrell Suggs 36...Desmond Mason 41...Jason Arnott 44...Dmitri Young 45...Gregg Olson 52...Bobby Humphrey 52...Tony Woods 53...Chris Spielman 53...Rikishi 53...Steve Young 57...Joe Nash 58...Norm Nixon 63...former Red Wing Mike Fiore 74...Tony Kubek 83. Luke Perry 42 and Daryl Hall 72 are invited to the birthday party.


October 10

126 years ago (1892), the entire Honk Kong national cricket team died in a shipwreck off Taiwan...98 years ago (1920), the Chicago Cardinals played their first NFL game, a scoreless tie...81 years ago (1937), the Yankees beat the New York Giants 4 games to 1 in the 34th World Series...61 years ago (1957), Lew Burdette won his third game of the World Series as the Milwaukee Braves beat the Yankees 4 games to 4...42 years ago (1976), 98-year-old Dimitrion Yordanidis became the oldest man to compete in a marathon (7 hours, 33 seconds).

October 11

75 years ago (1943), the Yankees became the first team to win 10 World Series, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 4 games to 1...26 years ago (1992), Atlanta’s Deion Sanders played for the NFL Falcons and the MLB Braves...23 years ago (1995), O.J. Simpson canceled a TV appearance on Dateline...21 years ago (1997), Dennis Rodman returned from the second-longest NBA  suspension – 11 games.


Bob Matthews' Column

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