Friday, August 13, 2010

Have Injuries Taken Their Toll?

There has been a lot of talk about the devastating injuries that have befallen the Red Sox and Phillies. Despite it all, both teams are not only alive, they are well in the chase for their respective Wild Card and division leads. But, how many injuries have they really had through the first four months? compiled a list of man-games lost from injury by each major league team and the results might surprise you. In games through Sunday, August 8th, the Red Sox are not first, second, or third in man-games lost, but their players have lost more time than any of the other local teams. The Red Sox place fourth behind Oakland (909 man-games), Washington (885), and the Los Angeles Angels (686) with 672 man-games lost this year from 18 players. The 18 players that have missed time are second in baseball behind Oakland (20). The amount of players is more concerning because of how pervasive the injury big has bitten the Red Sox this season. Three of their starting staff has spent time on the DL, as only Jon Lester and John Lackey have avoided injured status. The right side of the infield has missed significant time and Kevin Youkilis will make sure the amount of man-games lost will be at least one per game, as he is out for the rest of the season. The one healthy starting outfielder in the early part of the season was the perennially fragile J.D. Drew.

Still, even with all of these injuries, as of Wednesday, the Red Sox (66-49) were five games behind the Yankees (70-43) for not only the American League East lead, but also the best record in baseball. The Sox are 17 games over .500 with players like Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Josh Beckett, and Victor Martinez missing significant time. Of these four, everyone but Pedroia is back and the second baseman may return as soon as this Sunday. Yes, the Red Sox have some injuries, but Youkilis and Mike Cameron are the only current DLers that play pivotal roles on the team.

The Phillies have seemingly have had more injury issues than anyone, but look at’s list and the Phillies are only tied for 17th in baseball in man-games lost with 402 games. They have the second-fewest amount of man-games lost per player (23.65), which means that the Phillies have had a lot of players with injuries to make up those 402 games. Philadelphia is tied for third with 17 players, one less than Boston’s 18 players. So, the injuries have been just about as pervasive, but they have not missed nearly as much time as the infirmed Red Sox players. The right side of the Philadelphia infield is currently down in Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. The rest of the infield has had stints on the DL, including Jimmy Rollins, who missed a month of time twice this year. While the top of the Phillies starting rotation has been safe, Jamie Moyer is out for the year and the bullpen has been in shambles with either Brad Lidge or Ryan Madson being out for the first half of the year. But, Chase Utley has been cleared to swing a bat, Ryan Howard is returning next week, and Shane Victorino will return to the lineup on Thursday. Moyer’s elbow injury is the only season-ending injury and the Phillies should be well by September.

The Phillies (63-50), despite these injuries, are only 2½ games out in the National League East and a single game behind San Francisco for the Wild Card. The bullpen is pitching better than they have all year. The team turned a negative with Moyer’s injury to a positive by acquiring Roy Oswalt at the deadline.

The comparison between the two teams shows that while the Phillies have had their share of injuries, the Red Sox have been hit harder by their bumps and bruises and have persevered better through it all. But, the Phillies will most likely be healthier in September and are more poised to make a postseason run because of the division in which they play.

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