Saturday, June 02, 2007
YANKEES BUNGLE AND BOBBLE THEIR WAY TO DEFEAT
Teams like the Red Sox find ways to win. Teams like the Yankees find ways to lose.
The Yankees blew three leads in this game, which started out as a pitching duel then devolved into a battle of middle relievers.
The Sox scored their first run with a nice mixture of power ball and small ball. Pena hit a double off the Monster in left-center (a homerun pretty much anywhere else), was moved to 3rd by Crisp, then scored on a Lugo groundout to tie the score at 1-1.
In the 4th, the Sox began a rally with an Ortiz walk and a Ramirez double. Youkilis was stepping up to the plate when it started pouring. The umpires called for the tarp to be placed on the field. Just as the ground crew was done placing the tarp, it stopped raining heavily. But a 28 minute delay ensued.
The game finally continued, and neither starting pitcher looked all that sharp after it. Youkilis walked, Lowell singled to left to drive in a run, then Varitek grounded into a double play. On the play, Lowell took out Cano, but not at second base, about halfway in between 2nd and 1st. Cano did a good job to make a good throw to first while being sacked by the blitzing Lowell, and the play was clean. Unlike A-Rod's elbow to Pedroia, Lowell attempted to break up the double play while Cano still had the ball. It's kind of like the roughing the passer rule in the NFL. Lowell was taking down a QB who had the ball, A-Rod was taking down a QB who had already thrown it.
In the 6th, Schilling lost his edge. He allowed a single, then a walk. Posada deposited a ball into the alley between the RF grandstand and the bleachers to give the Yankees a 4-3 lead. Lopez came in and allowed a double and a single to make it 5-3 in favor of the scum.
But Mussina had nothing in the bottom of the 6th. Lowell and Varitek hit back-to-back homeruns to tie the game at 5-5.
Pineiro came in to pitch the 7th and immediately gave up a homerun to Jeter, which gave the Yankees the lead again. But he settled a bit, and Okajima ended the inning by getting Posada to fly out.
The bottom of the 7th inning was a comedy of errors for the Yankees. Nobody was warming up in the pen and Proctor was left out on the mound. Ortiz hit a 380 foot fly ball to right which could have been caught by Abreu, but he looked lost near the wall. Manny was intentionally walked, then Youkilis was unintentionally walked. By now, New York finally had some bullpen action going. Lowell hit a double play ball to Cano, but the Yankee second-baseman made a bad throw to Jeter at 2nd. The throw took Jeter off the base, and toward center-field. Somehow, Jeter pirouetted around and threw a ball to first. The throw was off (and late), and carried Mientkiewicz back behind the bag. Lowell arrived at the same time, and Mike's thigh plowed into Doug's head, jerking his neck forward. Mientkiewicz fell to the ground in pain, and the Sox all advanced a base, making the score 7-6. Doug was taken out of the game and is at Mass. General as a precautionary measure.
Varitek was walked intentionally, then Pena hit an absolutely perfect double play ball to Jeter, but he muffed it and everybody was safe. Crisp hit a blooping fly ball that dropped in front of Cabrera for a single. 8-6 Sox. The Fox announcers actually did a good job of analyzing something interesting on the play. Varitek was at 2nd, and had to hold up because it was unclear whether or not Cabrera would catch the ball. This meant that Cabrera could have thrown to third for a force out. A run would still score, but the situation would be a runner on 1st and 2nd with 2 outs, instead of the bases loaded and 1 out. However, NOBODY WAS COVERING THIRD! HAHAHAHAHA! Alex Rodriguez was wandering around the infield like he was lost, and Scott Proctor was doing laps around the mound. Lugo hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Varitek, and Pedroia hit a single to right to score Pena. 10-6 Sox.
With Okajima in, the game was pretty much over. The only drama was Kevin Youkilis' last plate appearance, in which he walked, ending his 23 game hit streak. But, he did walk three times.
The Man of the Game is Mike Lowell who went 3 for 4 with a homer, a double, 4 RBI, a walk, and a tackle. He also may have screened a bit on the second Jeter error. And, he made a great barehanded play in the field.
Melky Cabrera: 3/4, 2B, HR
Hideki Okajima: 1.1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, K
Jorge Posada: 2/4, HR, 3 RBI
During the rain delay, an interesting bit of news began to circulate. Clemens will not be able to pitch on Monday due to "a fatigued right groin." I don't know what a fatigued groin is. It's not pulled, or strained, or extended, or aching, or sore, or tender. Does he have a tired right groin? An exhausted, just want to have a beer and take a nap right groin? Whatever. Those are the chances you take when you sign a 44 year old pitcher.
Lots of horrible Tim McCarver remarks, but one that stuck out was when he was talking about Youkilis and his good batting-eye and his ability to take pitches. "You take like you hit." I got a headache trying to figure out that one.
This picture is funny. I know most athletes give each other congratulatory pats on the backside, but the look in A-Rod's eyes is weird. It's like he's eying up a piece of meat. Shudder.
And can Ben Affleck be banned from Fenway Park? Nothing against Ben, but I'm sick of seeing his face sitting in the front row. The guy's an attention whore. You know, I've never seen Matt Damon at a game, but I'm sure he's probably been to hundreds of them. He just wants to see some baseball, I imagine. But Affleck wants TO BE SEEN, seeing some baseball. He probably goes up to the press box before games and tells the announcers where he'll be sitting. Hell, the guy even had a cameraman sitting right behind him, filming him for some reason.
Big rubber game tomorrow night. Pettitte vs. Beckett. Can't wait.