After Saturday's loss on the road to the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team's fourth loss in a row to a National League opponent, Kevin Youkilis told the media the following:
"Interleague play is an advantage to the National League teams. We build our team around the designated hitter. For us, we’re at a disadvantage. A lot."
This excuse-making infuriated me, and it is time for me to rant on the topic.
First of all, I made my annoyances with MLB having different sets of rules for each league clear in a previous post. Because of that, I am not going into how idiotic that fact is. I'll try, at least. However, what I will go into is everything that is wrong with what Youkilis said. First of all, I hate when people make excuses about anything, especially professional athletes, but I'll get to that later. The thing is, he isn't even right about the AL being at a disadvantage.
I know it is a popular side to take, and it does make sense. The National League is used to playing under with the pitchers hitting, so they have an advantage at home. Then, when they travel to an AL park, they can insert a position player, who is an improvement over their pitcher. For American League teams, they must get rid of their DH when they travel, and that ruins the way they build the team. However, this logic is just awful. First of all, when people say these things they act like NL pitchers are far superior with the bat than AL pitchers. That is far from the truth; they both suck. I'd say when you match up lineups in an NL park, its a wash. Both teams basically have an automatic out in the nine spot. However, when a National League team travels to an American League park, AL teams can trot out DHs like David Ortiz, Travis Hafner and Vlad Guerrero. On the other hand, the National League will be sending out utility infielders and fourth outfielders. That gives the AL a tremendous advantage. Look at the records since interleague started. The AL has a convincingly better record, and enough time has gone by to realize that the AL does indeed hold the advantage in interleague.
However, even if you disagree with me and agree with Youkilis that the NL holds an advantage in interleague, it should have never been said anyways. This whole situation now make Youk look like a cry baby, complaining about rules after the team lost two in a row to the Pirates. I know he was asked the question, but he easily could have said that the team just needs to play better and not worry about the rules. Boom, done. Now, he is opening up a whole can of worms. The fact is that the Red Sox played poorly, and lost to an inferior team. It had nothing to do with an advantage, it just meant that they played worse baseball two out of three games in Pittsburgh. I know, it's a novel concept.