This is the twelfth and final edition of the Red Sox vs. Yankees debate. We’ve made a trip around the diamond, gone through the rotation, and made our way out into the bullpen. Today, we’ll analyze the guys who call the shots. The guys who have three World Series rings as managers. The guys who have a collective .540 winning percentage. We are talking about Joe Girardi and Terry Francona. Which team holds the advantage in the catbird seat?

Managers

Red Sox: Terry Francona (939-843 career, 654-480 w/ BOS (2 WS in 7 seasons)
Yankees: Joe Girardi (365-283 career, 287-199 w/NYY (1 WS in 3 seasons)

Terry Francona will forever be linked as the manager that helped the Red Sox end their 86 year World Series drought. Francona, who was a scout for the Cleveland Indians in 2003, took the Red Sox managerial job in 2004 and hasn’t looked back since. During his seven seasons in Beantown, Francona has posted a .577 winning percentage and two AL pennants. Francona has never won fewer than 86 games with the Red Sox.

Joe Girardi didn’t exactly have immediate success like Francona did when he first took over. Girardi and the 2008 Yankees failed to reach post-season play  for the first time since 1995, causing a ton of drama within the Yankee organization and New York City. Many fans began clamoring for the recently departed Joe Torre. However, Girardi won the town over in 2009 when he led the Yankees to their first World Series title in nine years. The 2009 Yankees won 103 games, their highest total since 2002. The Yankees fell short of their World Series goal by one round in 2010, but expect Girardi’s #28 jersey to serve as a reminder for his players. Girardi has a career .591 winning percentage with the Bombers.

Verdict

Edge: Red Sox

My only gripe with Girardi is his continued reliance on that stupid pitching binder during games. I’m all about statistical analysis and playing matchups, but sometimes, a manager just has to go with his gut feeling. Managers didn’t have these statistical models 100 years ago and they found ways to get hitters out. I understand a manager consulting the binder every once in awhile, but it seems like Girardi looks at it every inning!

I like Terry Francona’s demeanor and his baseball IQ is one of the highest in my opinion. He has had constant success and he is well-liked/respected around baseball. Franconer gets the nod here.

Final Tally

Red Sox 9
Yankees 9

So after our twelve part series, we finish in a tie. I really believe that these two teams are really, really close as they enter 2011. The Yankees have a very, very slight advantage with their lineup and a large advantage in the bullpen, but the Red Sox outclass the Yankees with their starting rotation. Add in a new cast of characters, the return of some injured players, and the same old faces that you love to hate and I think we’ll see a brand new chapter of the rivalry this season. I honestly can’t wait.

I know some of the match-ups could have gone either way (first base, third base, center field), but I call’em like I see’em. I got a lot of mail from you Boston fans about my first base article. I believe that Adrian Gonzalez could have an MVP-caliber season. However, Mark Teixeira could put a similar season. Let’s revisit that article in a few months…Until then