Saturday, April 21, 2007
WOW! What a win! I watched this game amongst a bunch of moronic upstate New York Yankee fans. These are people who claim A-Rod is clutch. These are people who claim Ortiz is NOT an MVP. These are people who claim that the pitching problems of the Yankees are "not a big deal." These are people who made fun of the green Red Sox jerseys worn by the Sox to honor Red Aurbach. These people are scum, in a sports sense. And watching this win surrounded by dejected Yankee fans made it even sweeter for me.
Going into last night's game, I felt like it was the one the Yankees had the best chance to win.. Pettitte vs. Schilling as opposed to no-name minor leaguer vs. Beckett or Matsuzaka. Pettitte's always been good against us, and that continued last night. He allowed a lot of baserunners, and a 2 run homer by Varitek, but we were never able to put up a crooked number on the board against him. I guess a 2 is crooked, but you know what I mean.
Schilling, on the other hand, was not very good. He usually isn't if his previous start was more than a 7 inning outing. I'm not blaming that, though. The Yankees have some good hitters and they were hitting Schilling. He "only" allowed 5 runs, but New York was hitting a lot of fly balls to the warning track, and you knew it was only a matter of time before they left the yard.
The game appeared to be over in the top of the 8th. Romero had a rough outing, allowing a run and leaving a jam for Kyle Snyder. Surprisingly, Snyder pitched very well to get out of it. Still, we were down 6-2 with 6 outs left, and we had yet to show much offensive proficiency.
Then the bottom of the 8th inning came. It was a team rally, and it was a memorable one. Mike Myers came in to face Ortiz, and possibly Drew if Papi didn't reach. But Papi did reach with a double.
Luis Vizcaino came in to face Manny. Manny walked. JD Drew grounded out, but managed to move the runners over to 2nd and 3rd. Lowell hit a single to left which scored Ortiz. 6-3 Yankees.
Then Torre brought in Rivera. At this point, I figured the rally would probably be stopped. Manny would probably score from 3rd with 1 out, but we'd still be down by 2 runs. But I know Rivera hasn't pitched since Sunday, and he blew a Save against Oakland. Plus, we've had a few memorable comebacks against Mariano in the past.
Varitek had a very nice at-bat against Rivera. He fell behind 1-2, but fouled some tough pitches off, staying alive. He then lined a pitch into right for a single which made it 6-4.
I moaned when Crisp stepped to the plate, but he redeemed himself for having a pitcher's batting average by hitting the first pitch he saw straight down the left field line, past the diving Mientkiewicz, and into the corner. Lowell and Varitek scored, tying the game, and Crisp rolled into 3rd with a triple.
The Yankees pulled the infield in with a man on 3rd, 1 out, and a 6-6 score. Cora took advantage of this and lifted a soft line drive over Jeter's head and into the outfield for a broken bat single. 7-6 Red Sox.
Cora was caught stealing and Lugo struck out, but the damage was done. Nevertheless, I still had a great deal of doubt about this game. During the rally, there were shots of Okajima warming up in the bullpen, not Papelbon. After getting 5 days off in between Saves to start the year, Papelbon had worked the past two days in a row, so he was unavailable.
But Okajima wasn't a bad choice. He was fresh, and even though he is a lefty and came in to face guys like Jeter and A-Rod, none of the Yankees had seen any of his stuff.
Hideki got Jeter to ground out to second. Abreau fell behind 1-2, got a very generous ball called on 2-2, and took the 3-2 pitch for a walk. Then came A-Rod, who already had two homers and a double in the game. Mister April got ahead in the count 3-1. Okajima made a great pitcher's pitch that skimmed the bottom of the strike zone to make the count 3-2. He then made another great pitch that jammed Rodriguez and was hit softly on a line to Cora. Kevin Thompson had pinch run for Giambi, and he came up with the game on the line. Okajima got ahead in the count and put him away with a strikeout to end the game.
A few thoughts on Okajima's Save. This was a guy we got and most people felt like he was just there for Matsuzaka to have a friend. But when you look at the state of our bullpen, this guy seems to belong here. I'll take him over Romero. Hideki is making $1,225,000 this season. He retired Jeter, and A-Rod. Jeter is making $21,600,000. Rodriguez is making $27,708,525. That's $49.3 million worth of offense sent down by Okajima. Hideki also should have gotten a called strikeout against Abreu, who makes a mere $15.6 million. The Red Sox are spend-crazy, but the Yankees spend money like it was going out of style.
Best picture of the game:
Man of the Game was, unfortunately, Alex Rodriguez. It's still April, so he had a good game. But he's still A-Rod, so he didn't do it against us in the 9th. Nevertheless, he had a great performance: 3/5, 2 homers, a double, 4 RBI, 3 runs scored.
Jason Varitek: 3/4, HR, 3 RBI, 2 runs
Hideki Okajima: IP, 0 R, 0 H, BB, K
Kyle Snyder: 0.2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, BB, K, 2 inherited runners left on base
Beckett vs. Jeff Karstens this afternoon. Karstens last pitched for Tampa Bay. Not the Devil Rays, the Yankees single A team down there. It was a rehab start.
The Sox also came from behind against the Blue Jays on Thursday night to win the series in Toronto. Tavarez pitched decently, allowing 3 in 5.1 innings. The Sox were behind 3-1, but scored 2 in the 8th to tie it, and 2 more in the 9th to win it. Manny had his first homer of the year, Timlin got the win, and Papelbon struck out 2 in the 9th for his 4th Save in as many opportunities.
Man of the Game for Thursday's 5-3 win was Roy Halladay who went 7.1 innings, allowing 2 runs.
Alex Cora: 2/4, triple, RBI, run
Vernon Wells: 2/4, 2 doubles, RBI, run, walk
Manny Ramirez: 1/3, 2 run homer, 2 RBI, 2 runs, walk