Epstein has Sox positioned for dynasty as Yanks crumble

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By Justin Grant

It's a new world order for the New York Yankees -- a place where Steinbrennarian fire and brimstone are a thing of the past; where the real Yankee Stadium meets the wrecking ball, and a world in which the Boston Red Sox have become the alpha-dogs in their age old rivalry.

With every year that passes since their last World Series triumph in 2000, Buster Olney's "The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty" becomes more and more prophetic.And as the Yankees sputter in their attempt to recapture championship glory, Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein seemingly has his team positioned for a dynastic run of its own -- while out-performing the Yankees GM Brian Cashman in the process.

Consider both teams' response to injuries to their top starting pitchers.

Organizational pitching depth has enabled the Red Sox to remain comfortably in contention this season despite a season-long rash of injuries to its best pitchers. The 24-year-old lefty John Lester, (6-3, 3.18 ERA) who threw a no-hitter earlier this season, has the look of a future ace -- as does Justin Masterson, the burly right-handed prospect.

Reports last week that Curt Schilling would undergo season-ending shoulder surgery were met with a collective shrug throughout New England. Daisuke Matsuzaka wasn't himself after coming back from a DL stint due to a rotator cuff strain -- he was hammered by the St. Louis Cardinals for seven runs in one inning Saturday, the shortest stint of his career.

And ace Josh Beckett is beginning to look like his old dominant self since coming back from a DL stint of his own a few weeks ago.


On the other hand, there is no doubt Hank Steinbrenner wonders how Johan Santana would've looked in Yankee pinstripes from time-to-time. Despite closing to within five games of the Red Sox, the Yankees will be hard-pressed to close the gap without Chien Mien Wang -- who may be out for the season with an injured foot.

And so far it appears Cashman has added to his inauspicious history concerning pitching in declining to trade Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy for the ace lefty. A rotation of Santana, And Pettitte, Joba Chamberlain, and Mike Mussina would have surely been a formidable one.

Instead, the Yankees must scrape by with the likes of mediocre back-end pitchers like Darrell Rasner, and the recently signed Sidney Ponson -- who wears out his welcome at every stop. The Red Sox, meanwhile, counter with high-end pitching prospects to trade or develop -- such as Clay Buchholtz or Craig Hansen.

The Red Sox were a force during the first 20 years of the last century as well, winning five championships by between 1903 and 1918. Epstein has them positioned for a similar run. For Yankees fans, a new world order indeed.

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