“What’s the matter with Jeter?” Petey Goods asked me as soon as I walked into McQuade’s. “I don’t know. What’s the matter with him…” I replied, not thinking he really had a beef with Jeter. If Petey Goods was going to point a finger at somebody, I would have thought it would be Cano. Or Giambi. Or Hughes or Kennedy. “He’s not doing anything,” he said, walking away. Apparently his beef was (is) with Jeter. Noted. The Rumble brothers, Brian and Mike, were at the back table with Sean, Dale, Mikey Juice and the Big Boy, taking down two plates of steak tidbits (one Cajun, one not), two plates of chicken tidbits (one mozzarella, one cheddar), two plates of wings (one spicy and the other one for Acc), two trays of sliders (burgers and pulled pork), and a plate of calamari just for giggles. I was struggling to keep up with those guys, as usual. All the while we watched a game that absolutely nobody in the place had any confidence in.
First of all, has there ever been a worse debut for anybody in a Yankee uniform than Chris Stewart tonight? I can’t say I know what it was that kept crossing him up with Phil Hughes, but whatever it was it was awful. Michael Kay, Al Leiter, and Flash Flaherty all seemed to think it was Hughes’s fault. Okay. It’s just that I’ve never seen that kind of a mess before, regardless of who was pitching or catching. The most infuriating thing was when it cost them a strike, an out, two runs, and possibly the game. Two strikes on Sheffield in the third inning. Hughes dropped a beautiful knee-buckling bender right into the zone. Strike three, sit down Sheffield. Except that Hughes and Stewart were crossed up again. So Stewart stands up, not thinking it was going to break, and the thing breaks right down and almost hits him in the jock as it bounced away. Home plate umpire Mark Wegner, just as out-of-sorts as Stewart, just stood there. Everybody in the booth waited for the out call until Michael Kay said, “I guess that was a ball? I know the ball got away, but that looked like it was right over the plate.” Leiter and Flash agreed. No call. A ball it was. Next pitch: kaboom. Two-run homer. And then we eventually ended up losing by…….right…
Look, I know Hughes has been miserable. But I do have some thoughts. Two things have stuck out for me. First, I remember very vividly having the same thought last year – he can’t put people away. He jumps out to two-strike counts on everybody, and then they proceed to get a piece of everything he throws. Foul, foul, foul, then he throws a few balls, then he either walks them or he has to groove one. He clearly has electric stuff, but the heater in particular isn’t quick enough to put anybody away. Everybody hangs around. Gets his pitch count way up. The other thing is just one man’s observation. The guy just doesn’t get a single call out there. I get it. He’s a rookie, and he doesn’t pound the zone enough so that any umpire will give him the benefit of the doubt. But dude, they just will not call his bender a strike. It’s a beautiful pitch. He throws it just the way Boomer did. Twelve to six. But they just will not give it to him. In the minors he had 66 walks in well over 100 games. Here in the majors he’s got 42 walks in 19 games. He’s not really throwing the ball a whole lot differently, boys. Put these two things together and you’ve got high pitch counts, hitters waiting him out, and finally, pitches grooved right down the plate. Not good.
While we’re on the subject, my thought is that Ian Kennedy is wearing a different uniform by the all-star break; chum for a veteran arm. I’m not saying I’m in favor of it, I’m just saying I think it will happen. I’m also not saying I’m not in favor of it, by the way.
Also while we’re at it, if The Boss were still in charge, the first call after Allie and Posada hit the DL would have been to Barry Bonds. Believe it. And admittedly, it would probably have taken about thirty seconds after his theme music started as he strode up to the plate for me to get the puke taste out of my mouth and start cheering for him. I would still think he was a cheater, a jack*ss, an illegitimate record-thief, and an all-around scoundrel. But what can I say. I root for the uniform.
The Yankees futility with runners in scoring position has been so striking that it actually exposes a hole in the whole batting-average-with-runners-in-scoring-position stat. I think the Yankees were something like 4-for-their-last-32 with runners in scoring position at some point tonight. I kind of lost track, so that might not be right, but I think it’s close. And that’s a .125 batting average. But the story is actually worse. First of all, two of the hits didn’t score anybody. One, an infield hit in the hole at short with Damon on second, didn’t even move the runner to third. And further, two (at least) of the outs were actually double plays; one with bases loaded and one with runners at first and third. So when you’re looking at it from a team perspective, it would probably make more sense to calculate run-scoring hits with runners in scoring position against outs. In that case, the two hits that didn’t score runs would be treated as a non-at-bat, and the double plays would correctly be counted as two outs. So you see my point here. For practical purposes, the Yankees were actually closer to 2-for-32 (take away the two at-bats for the non-run-scoring hits and add back two for the extra outs in the two double plays). And that’s a .063 batting average. That’s .063…. The good news is you know where I stand on this. I’m a law of averages kind of guy. Generally the team runners-in-scoring-position batting average is similar to the overall team batting average. That means they have their hits coming to them. They’re due. So due.
So the jubilation and expected success of coming home has been offset by losing both Allie and Posada. This is going to be a major struggle. From a quality-opponent standpoint, they are in the teeth of their schedule. They just need to keep hanging on. Hughes and Kennedy will just have to keep piling on those wins. Or, you know, get one…. Either way….
All of that said, if you give me one guy to stand tall in the middle of this, I would probably take Andy Pettitte….
“Are you seeing what Joba’s doing?” I asked Tony Sherry on the phone in the eighth inning. “It’s unprecedented,” he replied. “I’m also watching uh… Did you ever see that show Rules of Engagement? It’s with – who’s that little short guy?“ “David Spade,” I said. “Right. It’s not that bad,” he says. Now, if you know Tony Sherry, you know how to decipher these conversations. He wasn’t watching Joba, he had no idea the Yankees were on, and Mrs. Tony Sherry was probably at the controls of the remote, sticking him with whatever show she wanted to watch instead of what was important. Rules of Engagement…. One of those complete girl shows that purports to be a guy show because the guy characters say ridiculous things before they are set straight by their wise significant others… Come on dude…. “Dude, stop your clownery. If you’re going to play hooky from the Yankees, at least have the decency to watch Waiting for Guffman on IFC…” I said. Besides, the Yankees are about to hit in the ninth. Your boy the Ferocious Lion made the nice-nice happen with Johnny Damon on first with two outs before.” “Which one’s Waiting for Guffman?” he says….. Come on dude…..
Triple J, I did get my split. But I actually blew it, as I didn’t realize that the series in Cleveland was actually four games. I thought I was looking for a split in the final game in Chicago plus the three in Cleveland. So we actually went 2-3 in that stretch. But you know what? I have to tell you – I’m pretty psyched. This is that time of the year, and it happens every single year, when some crazy teams start out hot because their schedule is pretty stress-free for the first month or so. Another one of those things that often goes unspoken is the role that the schedule plays in organizing which teams are in what place at what point. All year long you hear the talking heads waxing on and off about which team is “playing great baseball” and which team is “struggling…” Then they generally go into a bunch of on-the-field reasons why the team has or hasn’t been winning. The truth is that often you can tell in a second by the look of the schedule. The Yankees just finished up a stretch in which they have played 18 of 20 games on the road. A brutal stretch made worse because they had to move last week’s games to Baltimore because of the Pope’s visit. And that’s not even the whole story. Except for one day off in Chicago last week, the Yankees have played a game every single day this season. And except for that same day off in Chicago, every single one of their getaway days has been a night game. Every single one. And in one of those games they flew from New York to Kansas City after a night game to play a day game for the Royals home opener. So what does this mean? It means they were consistently arriving in places at 5 or later in the morning needing to get up, be at the ballpark, and play a ballgame. And in this 18 of 20-on-the-road-stretch, they have played 12 games against the Boston, the White Sox, and Cleveland.
I point all of these things out for a reason. I’m not sure what the immediate future holds for the Yankees, but I can say this. They are in a pretty good position right now. After this crazy stretch, they are exactly one game out of first place in the AL East. And they have played more road games than anyone in baseball, by at least three. Tampa Bay, by contrast, is one of those teams that the talking heads are falling in love with. Baseball Tonight had James Shields on the phone last night asking him “what’s different” about these Rays, while the whole ESPN crew all gushed about all of the reasons that the Rays are for real. Now look, I don’t know anything. They’ve got a few nice young players. And maybe they are for real. But did anyone think to mention that as of right now the Rays have played 17 games at home and exactly 8 on the road? Might have been a relevant point in that conversation, no? And we’ve talked about the Red Sox. As the BPS has pointed out, so many people were willing (hoping?) to anoint them early, but they’re not as good as they think they are. They have been stuck with some injuries, but they are also, as the BPS pointed out, on the back end of 19-of-26 at home. And they should be a lot better off than they are. In fact, the Yankees, for all of that tough stretch and all of the time that Jeter, Allie, Jorge, etc haven’t been on the field, are the only one of those teams in the AL East that doesn’t have a losing record on the road. They lost two walk-off games in this stretch, which will happen. It’s inevitable. But generally the walk-offs will even themselves out at home. One game out after all of that. Not bad. Not bad at all. Now they need to make hay at home. Although, in fairness, it’s not like they’re going to get handed a bunch of wins. As they finished up this stretch tonight, they are, yet again, headed out of town to play another game tomorrow. This one, at least, is at the Stadium. Against Detroit though, a team that has come roaring back after a puzzling start. And then they’ve got their annual “glaring disadvantage” games against the Mets. Six brutal games a year against a usually-good opponent that will pull out all of the stops to beat them. But as annoying as that is, it’s worse for the Mets. Look at their collapse last year. Do the Mets lose the division if Philly has to play six games against the Yankees and the Mets get to play six against Baltimore? Let me help you out. No. Do the Yankees lose the division if the Red Sox have to play the Mets for six instead of the cupcake Braves, who didn’t even make the playoffs last year? Not as clear cut, but you see what I mean. The fans love the excitement, MLB loves the hype, but you really couldn’t ask for a worse situation for the Yankees and the Mets. In any case, this is it. The Yanks need to stretch things out. Plain and simple. But as of right now the Yanks have held up extremely well for where they are.
I loved the Molina trade last year. Loved it. Obviously, it is proving crucial right now. Molina is an excellent defensive catcher. He just can’t really hit. I’m hoping for .250. Hopefully everybody else can pick it up. But given that Posada’s out for a while, you couldn’t have asked for a better back-up. I only hope Chad Moeller clears waivers.
I couldn’t disagree with Girardi more on this business of sitting the Ferocious Lion against lefties. Two games in a row. It’s madness. The guy is a hitter. An rbi machine over the last few years. Get him in there.
Speaking of sitting, Girardi doesn’t seem enamored with Wilson Betemit or Shelley Duncan. Those guys seem to be in the doghouse. I guess we’ll have to see how that plays out.
Home again home again. Let’ hope we make it count.
“Do you remember what you said to me that night in the garden Charlie? You said ‘it’s not your night kid.’ Not your night?! On my night I could have taken Wilson apart!! Instead he gets a shot at the title and what do I get? A one-way ticket to palooka-ville…“
- Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy in On the Waterfront
When I finally flipped the game on I figured it would be in the sixth or so. It was well after 10pm. But when I got to the basement I flipped on the TV, Baseball Tonight was on ESPN, as it had been when I turned the TV off last night. And lucky enough, the Yankee highlights were on at that exact moment. I can see in the graphic that it’s 3-0 Yanks, but Orestes Destrade had a different take. “This was just a bad, bad break for the Yankees,” he said. ‘What now,’ I was thinking… “They finally got a really solid outing from Hughes,” he continued, “And they’re continuing the momentum with the bats, and then the rains come.” Aha, I thought. They’re in a rain delay. Too bad that they couldn’t get this thing in with Hughes on the mound. The kid is a solid pitcher. He’s bound to bust out of this little funk he’s in. Maybe this was the night. But again, the rains.
So they were right. This was a bad break for the Yanks. But it was evident right from the start that this was not their night. First of all, it’s not realistic to expect that you’re going to go into Chicago and sweep the White Sox. The Yankees had gotten some breaks to take the first two. And with Boston losing their second in a row this afternoon, the Yanks were playing with house money tonight. But even with all of that said, they still got out of the gate on fire. They scored some runs, got huge two-out hits, and Hughes was money. On the last point, it’s definitely worth noting that home-plate umpire Paul Emmel had a very wide strike zone. For the first time, Hughes wasn’t getting squeezed out there, and you could see his game elevate because of it. But that was when Karma got them. The rains came, and things immediately went south. First of all, Girardi didn’t take any chances. He did not let Hughes go back out after the rain delay. This had big implications, not just because you’re going to have to try and patch the game together with the bullpen, but because the bullpen was already thin. And this was very likely to put a lot of pressure on Andy Pettitte to lug a ton of innings tomorrow, as the bullpen was bound to be laid bare. So they went to Ohlendorf, and things didn’t go well. There were some hard hit balls, there were some bloops, there were some bad plays, and there was some luck. By the time the smoke cleared, the Sox had scored 5 runs. For what it’s worth, I had no issue with Ensberg throwing home to try and cut down a run. I liked the play. A good, hard, aggressive play. Unfortunately the throw was wide, or he would have had him. Paul O’Neill astutely made the point that because Bruney wasn’t available and the bullpen had been all over this series already, Ohlendorf was left out there longer than he ordinarily would have been. As I was watching the game, I turned to the missus and said out loud, “This game is over.”
But amazingly, it wasn’t. The Yankees continued to pluck away with the two-out clutch base hits. Finally Morgan Ensberg tied it up with a phenomenal at-bat, battling with two strikes to poke one through the middle to score Abreu.
So there are the Yankees in the top of the ninth trying to scratch a run across. Jenks goes 2-0 to Posada. And the third pitch was way off the plate for ball three. Whoops. Strike. How many times are we going to see this? A cowardly ump running away from what he’s supposed to be doing, calling balls and strikes, and instead continually evens the counts out so that there are more opportunities for a ball to be hit into play. I’m not him, of course, but it again looks like a guy who is afraid of being blamed for calling a walk and loading the bases with one out. Which is basically where Posada should have been. That third pitch was quite clearly a ball, and the count should have been 3-0, with Jenks one pitch away from loading the bases with one out. But instead, not only does the ump level the count a bit, but now he’s set a strike zone for balls out of the hitting zone. So what did Jenks do? He threw the exact same pitch to the exact same location. And why not? He had Paul Emmel trapped. So what did Posada do? He swung, predictably, as he knew a strike call was coming, and hit into a double play. End of inning. Thanks Paul.
Enter Joba. Two things about his outing. First, he couldn’t get his fastball over, so he threw breaking ball after breaking ball. With two strikes, both Quentin and Crede were waiting for the breaking ball and they both got it. Interestingly, both pitches were great pitches, and the two of those guys probably both got lucky, as they both just stuck their bats out and happened to poke those balls to where the fielders weren’t.
So that’s the breaks. Just wasn’t our night. I hate to leave on a sour note, but I would hate even more to end this brutal road stretch on a sour note. So here’s hoping we can take game one in Cleveland.
It hit me just as I was walking into the living room. Vino recognized it right away as well, as per his comment. Not sure how I missed the one key piece of information yesterday as I wrote off the Moose before the ball was even in his hand. I couldn’t believe I didn’t see the angle. But I’ll get to that.
There was some great dialogue in the booth tonight on the YES broadcast. I yawned my way through David Cone’s first few broadcasts, as he seemed to me to be reticent to go outside the box even a little bit. Nothing was a bad play, nothing was a bad call, nothing was anybody’s fault. Strange, because he was always known to be a cerebral guy as a player. Very tuned in to the game, wasn’t just going to give you the standard sound bite, could speak on any topic; by all accounts he was a guy who could have a good baseball conversation. Tonight he was leaps and bounds better. Tonight the YES viewers, specifically this YES viewer, learned something new. First, David Cone taught us how “scuffing the baseballs” works. We’ve all heard the term and are familiar with the concept, but he gave some good insight as to what the ball does when it is scuffed in which areas. I, for one, found it an insightful lesson, and well demonstrated by Cone in the booth with a baseball. He also went into another topic, one that I found particularly fascinating. We here at the BPS are always talking how the umpires affect the game. Cone mentioned that most teams will keep a stat called “Umpire ERA.” Along with this, there are tear sheets on each umpire in the league – who is a homer, who favors the pitcher, who favors the hitter, etc. Now that’s the kind of info that broadcasters apparently all know but are usually loathe to give you. I always have to wonder why. I always come back to the idea that they all feel like they have to maintain this charade that every game is won and lost on the field. Umpire ERA. Of course. It tells you plenty, especially when you start to see trends show themselves over the course of a few years. You could also trend some of the things that we have talked about on the BPS, like the ump who is afraid to “affect the game.” Great work by David Cone in the booth tonight with Paul O’Neill and Michael Kay.
The Chicago White Sox are a pretty good team. The middle of their lineup is scary. Thome’s been a thorn in the side of the Yanks for years; Konerko went from Dave Kingman (lots of bombs and ribbies with a .235 BA) to a serviceable power hitter in a few years time. Jermaine Dye is a patient hitter with lots of power. And I have to say – I don’t know that there is a guy in the league other than Manny and Ortiz who makes me more uncomfortable in a big spot than Orlando Cabrera. I really have to scratch my head and wonder how he doesn’t hit .375 ever year, because he always seems to hit .475 against the Yanks. So put them all together and the White Sox can play. They can get you. You saw it in the eighth inning tonight. Before you knew it, they were right on top of the Yanks, closing the gap on what had been a 6-1 lead. You really do see the value of having Joba and Mo. If you don’t have one or both of those guys available, you might blow those games and you might not. But you will almost certainly shred your bullpen in the process. So then you head into tomorrow night’s game, and then Cleveland, with a skeleton crew. And that creates a cycle that’s tough to break. All of that said, this is a good series win for the Yanks. The White Sox are a first place team. And all of this without Allie Rodriguez.
If the Yankees can manage to split the next four games, they will have had, in my opinion, a successful 18-of-20-on-the-road stretch. Playing division rivals, legitimate contenders, et al without a break and on the road is a difficult proposition. If they could walk out of that with their record north of .500, they will be in good shape. But they need to split the next four….
So back to what I started in the opening paragraph. What hit me as I was walking into the living room to un-pause the DVR and resume watching the game after dinner (chicken cutlets, rice, salad) was that I failed to factor in one key point. Moose, as anyone who reads the BPS knows and as Vino pointed out in his comment today, is Sean’s boy. Usually I call it out before the Moose starts, and not only did I fail to do that this time, but I failed to realize that the Moose wasn’t going to let the BPS’s own Sean down today. Not today. Because today at 2pm, Sean’s wife gave birth to a baby girl. And tonight at 11:17pm eastern daylight time, the Moose presented her with the gift of a win on her very first day as a Yankee fan. Silly me. There was no reason to worry about the Moose tonight. Tonight, the Moose went out there on a mission. And he was brilliant….
I leaped off the couch. The missus, seated next to me patiently waiting to watch the DVR replay of American Idol, was doing her absolute best to feign interest in whatever it was causing this sudden reaction. The boy, seated next to her in his bouncy seat, looked eminently less interested. The thing that had slightly piqued the missus’ interest was that it didn’t seem to make any sense. She’s watched enough baseball, or watched me watch enough baseball, to have a feel for what represented a big moment. And this didn’t seem to be it. It was a called strike on a 2-0 pitch from Boone Logan to Johnny Damon in the top of the 7th. I was indignant. “That wasn’t even close,” I screamed. “You can’t do that…. This count should be 3-0 with one out. That call changes everything,” I continued. The missus, although still doing her best, was a lot less convincing at feigning interest. I think it was all she could do to not blurt out, “Now you really have to be kidding me dude. Nothing happened. What could you possibly so psychotic about now….” But good or bad, I was p*ssed. In actuality, I thought home plate umpire Jerry Meals was going to call the second pitch a strike. It was borderline low and away. He called it a ball. Made the count 2-0. Then came the third pitch. Waaayy outside. Called strike. This is what set me off. It’s not just that with two on in a one-run game you’re taking a 3-0 count and making it a 2-1 count. It’s the way you’re doing it. Even if Jerry Meals was reconsidering his second ball, it’s not like the NFL or the NBA. You can’t hand out a make-up call on the very next pitch. Once you do that, the pitcher has you trapped. Once Boone Logan got that call, catcher A.J. Pierzynski cleverly called for the same pitch three more times. It was a ball, it was unhittable, and it was not a pitch that anyone should be swinging at. This is why it’s so crucial that an ump doesn’t fall into that trap. He just called a strike. Now he has to keep calling it. And the pitcher, catcher, batter, and umpire all know it. So Pierzynski kept calling it, Logan kept throwing it, and Damon kept swinging at it. First for strike two, then a foul ball, and then a weak tapper over the mound that just happened to give Johnny enough space to beat it out. Bases loaded. Shortly thereafter I found myself getting more and more annoyed with Boone Logan. They pulled him after his one batter, leaving him in the dugout sulking and feeling sorry for himself. Michael Kay noted on the YES broadcast that Logan was “really fuming.” Now neither Michael Kay nor anyone at BPS have any idea what was going through Logan’s head, but it looked all the world that he felt he was the victim of terrible luck, “making his pitch” to Damon and suffering a weak infield hit as the outcome. Then the camera continually panned back and forth to him in the dugout, pacing around, hoping for a serendipitous bail-out from the forces of karma. And the whole time I’m thinking – ‘Dude, you should consider yourself lucky you even got that far. You got a huge gift from Jerry Meals. By rights you should have been 3-0 on Damon and you probably would have walked him anyway. And you certainly wouldn’t have been able to throw those last three pitches way off the plate and force Damon to swing. So knock off the woe-is-me, stuff.’
So with all of that as prologue, imagine how juiced I was when Bobby Abreu put on the Braveheart kilt and led the forces of justice over the forces of doom. Beautiful. Great win. Great gift for Wang. You can argue this was a cheapie, and you might be right. But when you hold a team to 3 runs in 6 innings on the road and you have bats like the Yankees behind you, you are going to give your team a chance to win every time. So I’ll take it.
Vino and Triple J, we got right down to it on the Joba question, didn’t we? I’m still uncommitted on this, but do I genuinely think the outcome of this game could have been different if it was Farnsworth coming in there in the seventh instead of Joba? Probably…. Might have been the difference maker. Nice that we’ll never have to know.
Joseph, nice to see you back commenting. We missed you dude. So I’ll answer your question. In a word, yes. I’m not a talent evaluator or anything, but I know that every single baseball prospect list I’ve seen has Phil Hughes rated higher than Bucholz. Sometimes not even close. And he’s two years younger. But what that means, who knows. Time will tell. You need to take your Red Sox hat off and be objective at times, as do I with my interlocking NY.
Unfortunately, we are giving up our grasp on this series and any chance of moving a few games over .500 any time soon by throwing Moose out there tomorrow. I’m hoping he makes it through the fourth inning. I predict he won’t. Javy Vazquez is awful too, but at home he’ll be barely good enough.
Unless, of course, the Yankee bats continue whatever it was they were doing tonight. A guy can hope….
I tried not to look. Honestly. Sometimes you just don’t want to know, especially when you’re not feeling good about things. I’m talking about last Friday night. I was at Elia’s on Third Avenue with the missus as my sister was at home babysitting the boy. The missus, no longer constrained by the thou-art-pregnant rules, was ready to hit the feta in the Greek salad and the house white wine. And of course while we were at it, the Saganaki (fried cheese with lemon) was a no-brainer. And although the missus usually goes with the lamb ravioli as her go-to, she strayed from the script to do the swordfish special. I went with the Australian rack-of-lamb and Greek fries, over the lamb youvetsi or the mousaka. Tony Sherry and Mrs. Tony Sherry usually join us at Elia’s, but Tony thought he was going to be out in Arizona shooting another commercial last weekend (yup, amazingly, you have probably seen Tony Sherry in a few commercials on TV), so Mrs. Tony made other plans. Turns out he was stuck at home out of luck. At one point he considered tacking on, third-wheel style, just for the saganaki. So as I was finishing up the Greek pressed yogurt with honey and walnuts, which I’ve determined I may have a slight addiction to, and the missus was polishing off her ek-mek and dessert wine, I accidentally glanced over at the TV at the bar. I could make out the graphic “Player of the game” on the screen as they flashed a clip of Daniel Cabrera delivering a pitch to Bobby Abreu. ‘This is it,” I thought to myself. If this is a replay of Bobby Abreu smashing the ball, the Yankees won. If he strikes out, they lost. Whiff. Dammit. I lost my appetite. Good thing I was almost done. If I was Acc, I would have ordered another entrée….
The Yankees are at an interesting crossroads at the moment. They have been largely unspectacular early in the year. What else is new… They have gotten a lot less than they had hoped from the back end of the rotation (and by “lot less” I mean exactly one win), and they have gotten anemic hitting, to the point where they were at the very bottom of the league in offense-related stats up until a few games ago. They are in the middle of an 18-of-20 road stretch, and so far they’ve missed a chunk of time with Posada, Jeter, Joba, and now Allie Rodriguez. Frankly, the idea that they are even at 10-10 is a hands-down miracle.
There was some noise from Hank Steinbrenner over the weekend that he wanted Joba in the rotation. I don’t really agree or disagree, but let’s frame the discussion. The point isn’t that Joba can come in and put out a fire to contribute almost every day, rather than once every five. The point, or the question, actually, is which of these two things is greater – the games that Joba shuts down in the eighth inning that otherwise would have been lost, or the number of wins that he could give you in the rotation that would otherwise have been lost. That’s the key. Nobody likes to sweat through Kyle Farnsworth teetering on the ledge, but how many games are actually lost because the Farnsworth’s and Bruney’s cough it up in the otherwise-Joba eighth inning? A few, definitely. But if you look at the numbers, it probably isn’t that many. They may make you sweat a bit more, but the season isn’t about peace of mind, it’s about the result. So the next part of the question is how many additional wins would Joba get you in the rotation than either Mike Mussina or Ian Kennedy? The fifth starter, be it Moose or Kennedy, will probably be looking at 10 or 11 wins (Moose was 11-10 last year). How many would Joba get you in addition to those 10 or 11? Would he be a phenom and get you 20? Or is 16 more realistic for a very good first year in the rotation? So that’s the decision the Yankees need to make. If you figure Bruney and Farnsworth might lose 3 or 4 games for the Yanks out of that eighth inning, and you think Joba would win 5 or 6 more games out of the fifth starter slot, the numbers say he should be a starter. If you think Bruney and Farnsworth will lose 4 or 5 out of the eighth inning (to simply blow the lead wouldn’t count here – the Yankees need to lose the game for this to have relevance; winning is the goal here) and Joba would only give you 3 or 4 more wins as a starter than Kennedy or Moose, then it would make sense to keep him in the bullpen. Of course, you could argue that there is the psychological element. It is unnerving to know that it’s getting late and Joba and Mo are looming. So that’s why I’m undecided here.
The Red Sox seem to be finding their early-season miracles. Things are going to get more ominous for the Yankees before they get better. While the Yankees are going through 18 out of 20 on the road, the Red Sox are in the middle of 19 out of 26 at home. Their staff is basically identical to the Yankees. Beckett is the ace, better at his best, certainly, than Wang, but more inconsistent over the last four years. Dice K is no Pettitte; Wakefield and Moose can both thank the fact that they have solid-hitting teams behind them to buy them some wins; Hughes has more potential than Bucholz, but for now they will both find their way through their first full seasons. Lester probably has more potential than Ian Kennedy, but most baseball insiders are saying that the Red Sox badly overestimated his value, foolishly refusing to include him in a deal with Coco Crisp to get Johan Santana. The Yankees had no such delusions with Ian Kennedy. He was always in play. All four of the kids, from what I have seen, are getting squeezed mightily by the umpires this year. Looks like they’re going to have to earn it. The difference in the Yankees and Red Sox this year has been the offense. First of all, I loved the Sean Casey signing. He fits perfectly with their scheme. Takes a lot of pitches, good eye, great defense. Lowell’s been out and they haven’t missed a beat. It reminded me of when the Yankees got John Olerud in 2004. And every Yankee fan alive knows it was no coincidence that Olerud got hurt at the end of game three of that ALCS and the collapse began in game four. The question for the Red Sox is who loses playing time when Lowell gets back? I say Lowell. I think the Sox got lucky with him last year, with his season numbers well above his career averages. Plus it’s tough to come off an injury and get back into the swing. Nice problem to have, though. On the down side, they are riding a home wave right now, and they have needed a few miracles to be where they are. And those have a habit of evening themselves out. They do this every year. And their bullpen is a problem. So this season is not a foregone conclusion.
Last thing on the Red Sox. The YES broadcast team relayed a story the other day about Kevin Long, the Yankees’ hitting instructor, and a conversation he had with Manny Ramirez last week as Manny took BP at 11am. The point of their story was, “What a hard worker is; Manny is out there at 11am!” But I think they missed the broader point of the conversation. The way they told it, Long asked Manny why he was jawing with the ump the night before (Wednesday). He explained, they said, that it was a contract year and he couldn’t afford to give away at-bats. Now again, this story was third-hand, but why didn’t anybody ask why it was okay to put his team’s chances at a win in jeopardy by risking getting thrown out because he doesn’t want to “give away at-bats” in a contract year? And I was there that night. He wasn’t just jawing; he was wagging his finger in Tim McClelland’s face. Sitting in the stands, we couldn’t believe McClelland didn’t toss him. And a few days later, he did get thrown out of the game for arguing balls and strikes. What a d*uche…
The long, lonely road continues….
It’s a bit dated now, unfortunately, but it’s still kind of funny. A few years back, on the way to a Yankee game, actually, the Sherry brothers and I formulated a stand-up comedy routine. It consisted of exactly two jokes, neither of which had absolutely anything to do with the other. The second one, the kicker, was somewhere between “The Aristocrats” and punching someone in the face, so I won’t take the BPS in that direction. And at the time we thought that the first one was one of those jokes that doesn’t make you fall over laughing, but does leave you nodding your head with a smile on your face saying, “Nice…” We later realized there wasn’t anything the slightest bit funny about it, but because the second joke comes in like a werewolf, your post-joke perception is skewed to think the first was sort of funny as well. So as a routine, we still think it worked. Anyway, the relevance has gone out of it somewhat as its subject has slipped from the front pages of the celebrity magazines, but you can still appreciate it. It goes like this: “Hey J-Lo…… You’re Puerto Rican and you’re from the Bronx…. I think we got it….” (Cue the laugh track, pause, and on to the second and final joke…..)
On to the game. Mike Mussina has always been something of a strange cat. Part cerebral, part weird, part great baseball pitcher. But this needs to be reigned in right now. How many times does Manny have to beat him for him to smarten up? It’s just pure stubborn silliness, and it’s costing us games. Dude….you went to a three ball count and you weren’t getting the outside strike. Walk. Him.
Larry Vanover was no better calling balls and strikes tonight than Tim McClelland was last night. They are the slow-call crew. The Red Sox were punched out on a few really dicey calls last night, and for whatever reason, Larry Vanover just handed Papelbon a big fat Christmas present tonight in the ninth inning. There was Private Pyle-pelbon, having already coughed up two runs, going to a 1-1 count on Matsui. He then threw the next two pitches six inches and one foot off the plate respectively. So that’s a 3-1 count, with the possibility of a walk looming and the tying run coming to the plate in the form of former Red Sock Johnny Damon. That’s why people show up. Except that Larry Vanover called two of the worst strikes I’ve ever seen. The last one, the one that ended the game, was not even close in a remote way. Tough way to end the series. It would be one thing if it was still 7-0. But dude, in a 7-5 game? Come on… Hey, I know the Red Sox are still squirming about some of the calls last night, but that was really out of school.
Something I’ve noted, apropos of not-a-whole-lot. The Yankees bring out the worst in Jason Varitek. I’m not talking about his performance as a player, as I’m sure his stats against the Yankees are probably on par with his career stats, or slightly below, as any player’s might be against an elite team. I’m talking about something entirely different. Varitek is one of the media darlings of the Red Sox. The Red Sox in general are a media darling because of their positively broken history, but despite the team personality or how good they are, the first point on the things-the-media-likes-about-the-Red Sox-list is the same every single day. That they’re not the Yankees. That they are the arch enemy of the Yankees. The media, particularly the Met-friendly New York baseball media, have always had a mostly hate-hate relationship with the Yankees. And you can’t blame them. What’s to like about them? The winning, the spending, the parades, the hardware… It’s all a bit much to take, I’m sure. If you’re a Yankee fan, there’s nothing like it, of course. But if you’re not, well…. And a guy like Varitek is the media’s man-crush. A tough-enough guy; a guy who seems to show up in big games, somebody the other guys look up to. Broadcasters gush about the guy more than just about anybody this side of Grady Sizemore. There’s a lot to like about him as a player and as a guy to have on your team. And best of all, he is on the front line in the battle against the hated Yankees. But he has one major personality flaw. And I know this because I don’t really see the other Varitek. I watch Yankee games. I see the Varitek who plays against the Yankees. And that guy is the very embodiment of an inferiority complex. The guy I see focuses an incredible amount of energy constantly trying to prove to everyone in Boston and beyond that he’s not afraid of the big bad Yankees. And it manifests itself in a slew of petty jabs, whining, and tin-eared quotes. Like a few years back when the media asked him if the Red Sox were hitting Allie Rodriguez on purpose. “We don’t throw at .260 hitters,” he whimpered. What a dumb thing to say about a three-time (and counting) MVP who will most likely go into the Hall of Fame with baseball’s marquee record, the all-time home-run title. And a guy, I might add, who has never said a cross word about him. Especially when he himself is a .260 hitter. Can you imagine if any jack*ss was on record sneering about Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron being a “.260 hitter,” something both were at one point in their careers? What a careless, silly thing to say publicly. Or last weekend in Fenway, when the cameras caught him trying to kick dirt back at Posada when Posada was digging in at the plate. The replay showed Posada digging in the batter’s box without exaggerating any movement, not even noticing Varitek, but there was Varitek childishly acting like Little Lord Fauntleroy. Jon Miller brought it up on the ESPN broadcast, thinking they were kidding around. But when the replay showed that Varitek had a sinister look on his face, clearly not kidding, and that Posada didn’t even notice what Varitek was doing let alone respond in any way, Jon Miller retreated to, “I’ll just chalk that up to one catcher to another.” What he probably meant to say was, “I wonder why Varitek is acting like such an *sshole?” Maybe the best example was when he ran up to fight Allie (keeping his catcher’s mask on) and ended up playing Robin Ventura to Allie’s Nolan Ryan. And just in general he’s a different dude when he’s playing the Yankees; jawing with umpires, arguing balls and strikes, complaining when runners get called safe at home… I have to assume he’s not always like that if everyone gushes about him so. So what gives? Why all of the nonsense? With every petty, puerile moment, he seems to be screaming back to Boston, “See guys, see?!! I hate the Yankees!! I hate them! Just like you guys!! See??!! Did you see what I did to Posada?? I kicked dirt at him!! Did you see?? Cool right??!”
Hey Varitek….you play for Boston and you want everybody to know that you hate the Yankees…. I think we got it. Now stop acting like a child and starting acting like a captain, instead of just wearing a big goofy “C” on your jersey. If you need a lesson go ask Jeter. Or better yet, Posada…
“So are we going to do our usual ‘eat like man-sters’ or are we going to go half-speed and hit the Neptune diner on the way back?” Mikey Juice was soliciting me and the Sherry brothers for input as we drove up the BQE from my house in Brooklyn. It was an important decision, and it needed to be made early, because if you’re going to pace yourself, you have to know before you get to the shish-kebab lady on River Avenue. If the decision isn’t made at that point, you can expect that at least two guys are going to be walking up to the Stadium already a shish-kebab deep. The ultimate decision was to forgo the Neptune diner post-game and drop the hammer at the concessions. A wise choice, as it turned out. Although in truth I knew the odds of anybody pacing themselves were always long. Especially since the Big Boy was meeting us there, and there was no way he was going to go light on the snacks in order to pursue some pipe dream of mozzarella cheese fries at midnight. Which, as the game ultimately dictated, was when we would have ended up there.
We were running a bit late, so we heard the Abreu and Allie bombs in the car. Mike Sherry was brooding all the way into the Stadium, because John Sterling couldn’t stop gushing about the majesty of Allie’s bomb. As usual, I couldn’t care less about seeing the bombs, as long as they were winning. As we approached the Stadium, we could hear John Sterling on the loudspeakers saying that the Red Sox had loaded the bases with nobody out. “I wonder if this is going to be a slugfest,” I wondered aloud, piquing Mike Sherry’s interest. And I dare say that’s what we got.
I’ll caveat this a thousand different ways, but the Yankees sneakily crept up into a tie for first tonight. Not a great shocker, as they were probably supposed to win this pitching matchup, but a sort-of shocker, considering they were still, as of yesterday’s BPS, at or near the bottom of just about every meaningful offensive category. Doesn’t mean it will last, as for now, as I’ve said, the schedule will dictate to a large extent where everybody sits in the standings. But it did tell us a few things, I think. First, a friendly reminder from the Yankees that they are still the Yankees and the Red Sox are still the Red Sox. The rest of the world can hope and wish that the Red Sox are the new Yankees, but sometimes reality gets in the way. The Red Sox fought valiantly for a while, like the little guy who puts up a good fistfight in the street, only to get the beating a little worse in the end because of it. But ultimately, the Yankees served notice: never forget who we are or what we can do to you. I think we also got a reminder that there will probably never be a pitcher who can come in and be unhittable in this rivalry. I don’t care how good you are, you will get pounded at some point, and no one will be automatic. Pedro learned that lesson cold, as have Beckett, Pettitte, Cone, Wells, and Schilling. Red Sox fans, I think, had unrealistic expectations for Papelbon to be that guy last year, until Allie wiped the silly stare right off of his puffy face one drizzly night in Fenway. Yankees fans probably have similarly unrealistic expectations for Joba. Much was made of Okajima last year when he came in during the first series and shut the Yanks down, until the Yanks basically made him their punching bag late in the year. And he was last seen getting yanked in Fenway last weekend in the eighth with two on for Papelbon to pitch to Allie. Even the great Mariano Rivera has been no gimme against the Sox. That’s just how it goes. So now Hughes and Bucholz have both gotten their brains beat in. Call it initiation.
Great night. Not a lot else to say. I was surprised that Tim McClelland, a veteran umpire took so much jawing from the Sox on balls and strike calls. I guess that’s to his credit, but by taking Manny’s finger wagging in his face, he only encouraged the always-whiny Varitek to jaw at him too.
The Yankee bats came alive, but the most encouraging thing was that they came alive when it was necessary that they come alive. They needed every run up until the eighth. It wasn’t just a pile-on-the-sacrificial-lamb night. The Yankees did what they needed to do to win. Nice to see. You certainly can’t argue the Red Sox tenacity, as they touched Wang and Ohlendorf for five consecutive hits in the fifth; seven total in the inning. It was impressive, I have to admit.
I think Timlin was wearing a t-shirt under his uniform tonight that said, “Property of Jason Giambi,” but I’m not quite sure.
So we stepped up and closed the deal in section 24 tonight. Brian Rumble and Peyron were also at the game, and collectively we brought home our first win of 2008. We are on the Yankees.com highlights when Giambi hit his double towards Manny, but if anyone was was watching the YES telecast (or ESPN telecast), we were right next to the Ferocious Lion when he made the catch right next to the wall. I was wearing a white sweatshirt.
And for the record, we did not go to the Neptune diner after the game. But we did stop in at the Dunkin Donuts on 31st Street in Astoria. A strawberry donut, a blueberry donut, and a bag of munchkins did the trick.
Great night, boys.
“You have to be kidding me,” I muttered to myself as the missus called in from the dining room that dinner was on the table. I paused the live action on the DVR and headed for the table. In an unfortunate turn of serendipity, Pettitte, who had wiggled out of big time jams in the first two innings, including one in the second when the Rays hit three consecutive singles on three consecutive pitches, was touched for two runs after he got two outs and two strikes on two different batters. And tonight, like last, I was sure as I sat down to my garlic & lemon chicken with broccoli and couscous that those runs were the beginning of the end for the Yanks.
Why do I find myself with so little confidence in this team? I think it has to be because they’ve shown an acute ability to fail every single time they have an opportunity to get the big hit. As a team they are still in the bottom five in BA with RISP, runs scored with RISP, and seventh-to-last in runs scored. Not as bad as last week, admittedly, but not too good. Not only are they not clicking, but there are too many questions surrounding the lineup. Is Giambi an everyday player on this team? Or does he belong on the bench waiting for his shot at a pinch-hit miracle? Is Ensberg still a major league player? Am I asking too much from Johnny Damon when I’m looking for .275 with 75 runs scored? Is he going to wind up closer to .250 with 50 runs scored? I’m not so sure we can look to a lot of these guys to live up to their career stats. Maybe I’m overreacting a bit. Too early to tell, I think.
The good news is that despite the inert start, they are sitting on a winning record. They have managed to find ways to hang on to wins that were in jeopardy, and they have managed to claw back to steal a few, particularly against Halladay and yesterday when they were the last man standing in St. Pete. The bad news is that I think this is the MLB “even it out” scheduling at work. One game separates the Red Sox and the Yankees, but the Red Sox are sweeping the Indians in Cleveland in dramatic fashion while the Yankees are hanging on for their lives against Tampa Bay. The Yankees need to start playing better quickly, or they are going to fall behind before the schedule inevitably begins to right itself when the Red Sox are sitting on Tampa and KC while the Yankees are flying from Detroit to Anaheim to Toronto. And although they’ve got some players slumping, the Red Sox seem to be in midseason form when it comes to yanking these games out their sox. The bad news for them is probably that they’re not as good as they think they are. As much as the media in general and their fans would like to believe the page has been fully turned, let’s not forget that we’re talking about a team that coughed and wheezed away a double-digit lead to the Yankees last year, lost nine of their last twelve games to the Yankees, and won the AL East by the margin of exactly one miracle finish at Fenway in the second week of the season. This, then, earned them the right to a seven game series against the Indians, rather than a five, in which they did exactly what the Yankees did – lost three of the first four. To the victor go the spoils. They won it all fair and square, so by all means, shower the accolades. But don’t kid yourself. Schilling is gone, Beckett is back in a never-quite-healthy spell, and Dice K was never that good. And the kids are, well, kids. All of that said, their lineup is more settled, even without Ortiz, and their level of play is higher than the standings would indicate, particularly when compared to the Yankees. Ortiz is slumping, but even if he has an off year, he’ll come out of it to a large extent. His counterpart, Giambi, is doing his best Dave Kingman impersonation. He might hit 25 bombs while hitting .170. And Posada seems to have one of those mysterious injuries that have a nasty habit of sticking around for months. Until the Yankee lineup gets settled, you really can’t even compare these two teams. Even if Wang takes out the Sox again tomorrow and the two teams go into Thursday with identical records, it’s a house of cards.
Speaking of matchups, I have to ask Raoul what game he was watching. Dominating? Dude, you simply cannot call Beckett dominating last Saturday. Three runs in six-plus innings with Girardi and Manny the only thing standing between his getting out-pitched and hung with an “L” by Mike Mussina? He was hardly dominating dude. In fact, let’s nobody kid themselves here. There has not really been a pitcher on either side in this rivalry over the past ten years that has been consistently dominant. Beckett’s ERA against the Yankees since joining the Red Sox is what – over 5? He’s had his moments, like Wang did last weekend, but Wang’s been lit up by the Sox as well. Even Pedro, when he was the best pitcher on the planet Earth circa 1999 or so, consistently had problems against the Yankees, as Clemens, Pettitte et al did against the Sox.
Joseph – I agree 100%. I was looking for Joba in that at-bat against Manny. That was clearly going to be the game.
I will be in section 24 Wednesday night with the Sherry Brothers, Mikey Rumble, and the Big Boy. The gear is ready. The concession stands never really are.
That was my text to the Big Boy at 10:19pm Eastern Daylight time. It was the culmination of a furious half-hour or so or texting, starting when the Longoria bomb went over the wall to tie the game. Good, bad, or indifferent, there was nobody more surprised than me that the Yankees ended up winning that game.
The Yankees averaged six runs a game last season, and here we are, 14 games deep into this season, and the Yankees scored more than six for the first time all year. But we’ll get to that.
Tonight was a wild one. An odd one, actually, and not really in a good way. Sure, a win is a win, but if you have to choose from all of the ways to win a game, this might be the last. There is nothing elegant or comforting about blowing a 7-1 lead. I’ll tell you why it doesn’t really concern me though. This game is over and done in the seventh if Joba is available. No questions asked. With that part of your game gone, you just hope that in the three games he’s out you don’t feel the sting in the win/loss column. You’ve already felt it in the stat column, as Ian Kennedy suffered a hard-luck no decision tonight in an excellent outing, which was only underscored, I think, when the Rays reminded everyone there in the seventh that they can mash. This brings me to my keynote topic tonight.
In the spirit of comparisons, I think the Yankee/Red Sox series was a brilliant juxtaposition of two teams that have the gunpowder to get there. Now which team can fire it. It looks, again, like the season might hinge on one game here or there. The Red Sox find themselves in a position similar to the Yanks. They are down a major cog. Everyone can say whatever they want about Red Sox pitching, about defense, about whatever they want. The cold, hard truth about the Red Sox of this era is that it is all – all – about Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz. They have been the best 1-2 punch in baseball over the last five years, and not just good. Automatic good. Uncanny, never miss good. And with two very different styles. Ortiz came out of nowhere and rode his vials of HGH from getting cut by the Twins to being an unimaginably fearsome power hitter. Manny, who I do not believe has ever used a performance enhancing drug, nor do I believe he knows what they are or has ever heard of them, is just one of the best pure hitters you will ever see in your lifetime. Both shared a preposterous ability to produce in the clutch, Ortiz seemingly drawing from an enormous store of confidence while Manny enjoyed a complete immunity to nerves due to the fact that he purely, simply, did not care whether or not he won or lost. Either way, the Red Sox won without Beckett, without Papelbon, and with Schilling decidedly mediocre. They never won without Manny and Ortiz. The start to this season has been a brilliant example of this. Ortiz, who is suffering mightily, has watched Manny single-handedly win two games for his team to pick him up. If one is up, the other is down. When they are both up, only the Yankees can stop them.
So with that lead-in, I have a couple of observations from this past weekend. First, hubris. The Yankees have suffered from it on occasion over the last ten years, particularly when it came to the Red Sox. Saturday was maybe the best example. Why was Mussina pitching to Manny in that spot with two outs and first base open? Kudos to Girardi for admitting he made a mistake, but what was his thought process? I hope it wasn’t, as I submitted after Moose started the second game of the season, that he is reluctant to say no to a guy who was his more highly-regarded peer as a player? Did Girardi walk off that mound without Moose next to him because he was reticent to say, “Mike, I appreciate that you made a good pitch to Ortiz and you think you can get Manny out, but give me the ball and go take a shower. Now.” I don’t know. Joe Torre took a different approach. He would yank pitchers incessantly. Then he would go to his guys, like Scott Proctor. But neither would do what probably should have been done. Walk Manny. They never walk him. Or Ortiz. I know one hits behind the other, but there have been many opportunities over the years, Saturday being the latest example. I’ll tell you what else they don’t do. Brush them back. Never, with the exception of Clemens. Maybe it is hubris. “We’re the Yankees….we can get them out.” Great, dude. Walk him.
Interesting difference in styles between Terry Francona and Joe Torre. Jury is still out on Girardi, I think. Francona is always very mindful of the psychological game. You’ve seen him many times over the last few years take risks in order to “write the story.” Dice K is a great example. At least three times last year against the Yankees, and this year’s game makes four, Francona stayed far too long with an ineffective and mightily struggling Dice K to try and get him a win. On Sunday, 120 pitches deep after four and a third, he left Dice K in with two on and one out in the fifth. You could see what he was doing. If Dice K finishes that inning and gets the win, the story will be “Dice K battles for a win.” If you replace him just two outs earlier, the story is “Dice K is largely ineffective in a no-decision.” And it resonates particularly with Dice K, because there is such attention paid to the huge contract and the hype. One slight tilt and the story becomes “Dice K is a flop.” And that comes with ramifications. The toll that would take on the pitcher might cost him his confidence. So ultimately, I think there is a lot to it. Sure, you’re taking a chance. Giambi smashed his last pitch of the night with two on in that fifth inning; John Sterling correctly saying he probably hit it harder than he hit his bomb on Friday night. But the vicious wind held it up and saved Dice K’s night and justified Francona’s gamble. But look what you get. Last year most people recognized that Dice K’s ERA was way too high for someone who anyone was going to consider an ace. He managed 15 wins because he was playing for the team with the best record in baseball, a team that scored a ton of runs and bailed him out of losses countless times. His double-digit losses belie that. But there are those who still hold his 15-win house-of-cards as a reason he should be considered an ace. Thank you Terry Francona. Joe Torre would never do that. He was famous for yanking a guy with two outs in the fifth with a two run lead if his last batter got on via a bunt single or an error. You’re not gambling, perhaps, but perhaps you’re not building any confidence, either.
So who do you like – the Red Sox or the Yankees? The series over the weekend was basically even, with the difference being that Girardi learned a lesson not to pitch to Manny there. Both sides were handicapped, the Yankees without Posada and Jeter, the Red Sox without Lowell and a badly slumping Ortiz. You could throw Schilling in there, I guess, but I honestly don’t think the Sox are going to get anything out of his this year, so I’m going to throw him out the window until further notice. The Red Sox were at home, so they had a bit of an advantage there. If there is another point worth noting, it is probably that the Red Sox sent out their 1-2-3 starters (I hope nobody is going go to try and sell Wakefield to me as anything better than a fourth starter), and the Yankees sent out their 1, 3, and 4 starters, the difference being Pettitte. The Red Sox can’t compete with Joba/Mo, so the bullpen in a close game goes to the Yanks. The Red Sox have a pluckier offense, though, and that trademark resiliency, on display both Saturday and tonight. My verdict is it’s too close to call. Frankly, we’re not going to find out anything until the Yankee bats wake up. And if they don’t, well there’s our answer.
Glad to get one tonight. Kennedy deserved better. Hopefully this rouses the bats. Time will tell….