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April 27, 2007
Final: Red Sox 11, Yankees 4
The Yankee party line -- at least as put forth by their fans and media sympathizers -- is that last weekend's Red Sox sweep at Fenway Park was meaningless. The Yanks' starting rotation was depleted by injuries and many of their regulars were sidelined. Wait 'til we're healthy, they all said.
Interesting to see what they'll be saying tomorrow.
With their everyday lineup in place and their best starter, Andy Pettitte, on the mound, the Yankees seemed poised to snap their six-game losing streak tonight at Yankee Stadium. Instead, Pettitte was gone by the sixth inning, Mariano Rivera was again routed by the Red Sox in the late innings, and Boston coasted to an 11-4 victory tonight, handing New York its seventh straight loss.
The fans and sympathizers were also crowing about how the Yanks weren't shut down by Daisuke Matsuzaka last weekend and that he wasn't as good as advertised. They may be saying the same thing again; after all, he almost imploded in a four-walk, three-hit fourth inning.
But when the game was in the books, Matsuzaka had his second win in five days against the Yankees. Unlike all the Yankee pitchers, he was at his best when he got the lead; after falling behind 4-2, he retired the final seven batters in faced and turned the game over to his bullpen in the seventh with a 6-4 lead.
Leading 2-0, Matsuzaka opened the fourth by walking three consecutive batters -- Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi and Hideki Matsui -- loading the bases with no out. Jorge Posada blooped a single to left field with no out, and Johnny Damon and Derek Jeter delivered two-out RBI singles, putting the Yankees in front, 4-2.
It had appeared Matsuzaka might escape with minimal damage when, after Posada's single, Robinson Cano struck out swinging for the first out and Doug Mientkiewicz popped out for the second out. But Damon took a defensive half-swing on a 3-and-2 pitch and dropped a soft liner into right field in front of a charging J.D. Drew, scoring two runs and making the score 3-2.
Derek Jeter followed with a ground single to right, driving in Posada and making it 4-2.
Thankfully for Matsuzaka and the Red Sox, the next batter was the struggling Bobby Abreu. He flied out to Manny Ramirez in left field on a 2-and-0 pitch, ending the inning. After making that out, Abreu was 1-for-his-last-21.
Matsuzaka threw 41 pitches in the torturous 35-minute half-inning.
The Sox came right back in the top of the fifth against Pettitte, though. Julio Lugo walked with one out and stole second. He moved to third on a single to left by Kevin Youkilis and scored on a single to center by David Ortiz. Ramirez then walked, loading the bases.
Drew struck out for the second out, but Lowell walked on five pitches, tying the score at 4-4. Then, with Jason Varitek batting, a pitch by Pettitte in the dirt got past Posada, allowing Ortiz to score with the go-ahead run.
Varitek eventually walked, re-loading the bases, and manager Joe Torre lifted Pettitte in favor of Scott Proctor. Proctor retired Coco Crisp on a fly to center for the final out.
Matsuzaka had had a similarly rough inning recently in Toronto, walking three batters and allowing two runs in a 2-1 loss, but he had bounced back in that game with three final, dominant innings. And, similarly, he retired the side in order in both the fifth and sixth innings after his teammates had given him the lead.
The Red Sox increased their lead to 6-4 when Lugo homered over the left-field fence with one out in the top of the sixth.
Matsuzaka was lifted after the sixth, having thrown a season-high 117 pitches. He allowed five hits and four runs in his six innings, with four walks and seven strikeouts.
He was replaced by Mike Timlin, who held the Yankees scoreless despite a one-out single by Jeter.
The Sox added on against the fourth Yankee pitcher of the night, Jose Vizcaino, in the top of the eighth on back-to-back, one-out doubles by Dustin Pedroia and Lugo (third hit of the night), making the score 7-4.
Hideki Okajima came on in the bottom of the eighth. He allowed a single by Giambi, then bobbled a potential double-play grounder back to the box by Matsui. He was able to get the out at first, as Giambi took second. Posada struck out on a sharp breaking pitch for the second out, and Cano flied out to end the inning.
The Yankees turned to Rivera in the ninth and he was just as ineffective as he was last Friday night, when he blew a 6-3 lead as the Red Sox rallied to win the opener of the three-game weekend series. He was touched for three consecutive one-out singles, by Lowell and Varitek and Crisp, as the Sox added another run and made it 8-4, then walked Pedroia to load the bases. He was lifted after his 21-pitch performance in favor of lefty specialist Mike Myers, who was brought in even though the Sox had a right-handed hitter, Lugo, at the plate.
Myers walked Lugo, making it 9-4. Another run scored on an infielder grounder by Youkilis, giving the Sox a 10-4 lead. Ortiz, whom Myers was acquired to retire, singled to left, driving in another run, making it 11-4. The few remaining Yankee fans at Yankee Stadium gave a large mock cheer when Myers retired Ramirez on a grounder to short, ending the inning.
Youkilis had blasted a two-run home run to left field in the top of the third, giving the Red Sox a 2-0 lead. The homer followed a leadoff single to right by Lugo.
The Red Sox put a pair of runners on base in the top of the first against Pettitte (one-out walk to Youkilis, two-out single by Ramirez) but failed to score.
Matsuzaka sandwiched strikeouts of Damon and Abreu around a one-out single by Jeter in the bottom of the first, then retired Rodriguez on a dribbler to third for the final out.
Crisp, returning to the lineup after five games off because of a strained oblique muscle, singled to left with two outs in the second in his first at-bat.
Giambi singled to left leading off the second inning for the Yankees, but Matsuzaka stranded him there by retiring Matsui (fly to center), Posada (liner to center) and Cano (strikeout).
The Yankees made a mini-run at Matsuzaka in the bottom of the third, putting runners on first and second after a one-out walk to Damon and an error by Lugo on a grounder by Jeter. But Abreu grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Posted by Art Martone at 11:05 PM | Permalink
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Lester done after outstanding outing
Jon Lester just closed out the fifth inning where he threw 25 pitches (16 strikes). The left-handed reached 84 pitches (56 strikes) and allowed just three hits with six strikeouts and no walks.
He was efficient and had command of the strike zone in only his fourth start this season.
Lester is slated to start again for Pawtucket on Wednesday before the Red Sox make a decision whether he'll join Boston or continue with the PawSox. Because he's been so good, it's likely he'll join the Sox' rotation.
His first and last pitch last night registered at 94 miles-per-hour.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 8:47 PM | Permalink
| Comments 1
Lester threw 10 pitches (6 strikes) in the top of the fourth inning. He allowed a two-out single, but quickly picked the runner off to end the inning. He's up to 59 pitches (40 strikes).
The man looks sharp.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 8:27 PM | Permalink
Lester is strong again in the third
In the third inning, Lester faced four batters and threw 12 pitches (9 strikes). He recorded two strikeouts and the only base runner reached on an error by PawSox third baseman Chad Spann. Lester has thrown a total of 49 pitches.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 8:13 PM | Permalink
Lester's second inning just as strong
Lester faced four batters in the top of the second and threw 22 pitches (15 strikes). He surrendered a single up the middle to Buffalo's Joe Inglett.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 7:58 PM | Permalink
Lester sharp in first inning
Jon Lester retired the side in order and threw just 15 (10 strikes) pitches against the Bisons in the top of the first inning at McCoy. The young left-hander was given a standing ovation when he took the mound.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 7:36 PM | Permalink
Tonight's PawSox game is on!
The Pawtucket Red Sox versus the Buffalo Bisons game tonight at McCoy Stadium will start at 7:30. The tarp is off and the grounds crew is cleaning up the field. Red Sox lefty Jon Lester will make his scheduled rehab start for Pawtucket. He's slated to throw six innings or 85 pitches, which ever comes first.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 6:43 PM | Permalink
Separation of Duties
Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia is struggling at the plate.
But it hasn't affected his defense. Thursday night, for instance, Pedroia made all the routine plays, gobbling up seven ground balls, including five in a row at one stretch. One of them was a tough play to his left, which he turned into an important forceout at second in the seventh with the Sox down by only one run.
"That's expected (from Pedroia). That's part of what makes him a good player. He knows how to play the game," said Francona of Pedroia's ability to separate his offense (.184) from his defense.
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 5:02 PM | Permalink
Yankee Lineup at full strength
When the Red Sox swept the Yankees in a three-game series last weekend in Fenway Park, New York did not have its impressive lineup intact.
Not that anyone was suggesting things would have been different, but the Yanks were missing several key cogs because of injury. And in losing to Toronto on Thursday night, while others had returned, New York was missing shortstop and captain Derek Jeter (sore leg).
But tonight, the lineup has its relentless look to it.
Hideki Matsui, who missed the entire series, returned earlier this week as did catcher Jorge Posada, who suffered a bruised thumb in the opener at Fenway and was limited to three innings and three plate appearances in the series.
On paper, the only weak link would be the Yanks' number nine hitter, Doug Mientkiewicz.
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:57 PM | Permalink
Manager Terry Francona was asked this afternoon if he was surprised to look at the standings and see the lordly New York Yankees in the basement in the American League East.
"How can I answer that? No? That's tough for me to answer. They're a good team. How good are they going to be? That's why you play the games. It's so early. They haven't hit their stride yet, obviously. I hope they don't hit it for another three days," he said.
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:53 PM | Permalink
Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek has been learning some Japanese phrases to help him communicate with Daisuke Matsuzaka.
But in the heat of battle, Vartiek doesn't have to rely on his mental recall for vocabulary. Much like a football quarterback, Varitek is wearing a cheat sheet of phrases on his arm during games.
Dice-K has been learning English, too, and on the field it's getting easier and easier for the communication to flow smoothly.
"Dice-K knows baseball terminology," said manager Terry Francona. "He's a very bright kid. He's picking (English) up fast."
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:49 PM | Permalink
Grand Slam -- Seat on the Bench
Wily Mo Pena snapped out of his offensive funk on Thursday night with a ringing double and an abolutely crushed grand slam, giving the Sox a 5-2 win over Baltimore.
And the Yankees are starting a left-hander tonight, Andy Pettitte. In his history, Pena has hit left-handers much better because their breaking balls are moving into him. It's the right-handers' breaking stuff, moving away from him, that especially gives him trouble.
But manager Terry Francona still elected to go with Coco Crisp in center tonight because Pena isn't exactly known for his leather, either.
"Yeah, I certainly thought about (playing Pena)," said Francona. "(But) it's a big outfield. We can always pinch-hit him, but when you've got a pitcher like Dice-K going, it's important to have defense."
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:43 PM | Permalink
New York City radar
Here's the radar image from New York, courtesy of our friends at Weather Underground. Sure looks like they're going to play, doesn't it?
Posted by Art Martone at 4:37 PM | Permalink
Coco Crisp, who has missed the last five games because of tightness in his left oblique, is back in center field tonight.
Crisp tested his side in Baltimore, taking batting practice on Wednesday and Thursday in the indoor cage, and he convinced manager Terry Francona that he was able to return to the lineup.
Francona said he knew this morning the teams were going to be unable to take batting practice on the field because of the rain, so he told Crisp that if he had any apprehensions about playing to let him know so he wouldn't have to change his lineup once he got to the park in the afternoon.
Crisp convinced him he was ready.
While it was likely Crisp could show signs of rust at the plate, Francona preferred him playing in the spacious center field in Yankee Stadium rather than Wily Mo Pena.
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:37 PM | Permalink
Red Sox-Yankee Lineups, April 27
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:34 PM | Permalink
Sox Streakers for April 27
From the team's official game notes:
-Mike Lowell has hit safely in 12 straight games, during which he is 17 for 46 (.370) with 3 doubles, 4 home runs, 14 RBI and 9 runs scored.
-David Ortiz is 20 for his last 61 (.328) with 5 home runs and 18 RBI.
-Jason Varitek is 7 for his last 21 (.333) with 2 home runs, but has also fanned 7 times in the last three games.
-Kevin Youkilis is 8 for 22 (.364) with 6 walks over the last 6 games.
-J.D. Drew is 1 for his last 12 and 4 for his last 22.
-Julio Lugo is 0 for his last 10 and 4 for 35 (.114) in the last 10 games.
-Manny Ramirez is 1 for 16 in his last 4 games and 9 for 53 (.170) in his last 14 games.
Red Sox vs. Andy Pettitte
-J.D. Drew, 6 for 11 (.545), 2 HR
-Kevin Youkilis, 1 for 2, 0 HR
-Manny Ramirez, 25 for 62 (.403), 3 HR
-Jason Varitek, 15 for 39 (.385), 1 HR
-Wily Mo Pena, 3 for 8 (.375), 0 HR
-Julio Lugo, 4 for 11 (.364), 0 HR
-David Ortiz, 9 for 25 (.360), 1 HR
-Mike Lowell, 1 for 4 (.250), 0 HR
-Coco Crisp, 1 for 7 (.143), 0 HR
-Alex Cora, 0 for 2
-Dustin Pedroia, 0 for 2
Yankees vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka
-Jason Giambi, 2 for 3
-Doug Mientkiewicz, 2 for 3
-Derek Jeter, 1 for 3, 1 HR
-Robinson Cano, 1 for 3
-Alex Rodriguez, 1 for 3
-Johnny Damon, 1 for 4
-Bobby Abreu, 0 for 3
-The Red Sox have won the last five meetings with the Yankees, their longest streak against New York since July 31, 1999 to May 26, 2000 (six games).
-This is the biggest first-place lead this early in the season for the Red Sox since 1995 -- which was also the last time they won the division.
-The Red Sox and the Rangers are the only teams in the major leagues without a blown save; Boston relievers are 8 for 8 while Texas relievers are 3 for 3.
-Relievers Jonathan Papelbon, Hideki Okajima and Brendan Donnelly have allowed opponents just 1 run on 5 hits in 23.1 combined innings with 30 strikeouts. Opponents' batting average against Papelbon, Okajima and Donnelly is .067.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 3:19 PM to Projo Sox Streakers
Projo SoxTalk with Steve Krasner: Yanks, Wily Mo, Beckett
Steve Krasner, who unfortunately was stuck in the airport in Baltimore, took five minutes to join Art Martone on today's edition of Projo SoxTalk. Click here to listen to the audio file.
Today, Krasner and Martone discuss the Yankees' surprising decision to start 20-year-old Phil Hughes (are they panicking?), the Orioles' highly questionable decision to throw fastballs to Wily Mo Pena (Krasner doesn't think this means that the powerful outfielder has really turned a corner), and how Josh Beckett has made himself a 5-0 pitcher. We also speculate on whether they'll be a game tonight in the wet, wet Bronx.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 11:50 AM to Krasner
Baseball Today: Friday, April 27
Thank heavens it's a new dawn in the baseball world . . .
THAT'S A DAY OF OUR LIFE WE'LL NEVER GET BACK: Sock-gate was Topic First, Last and Everything Else around here yesterday. (projo.com) Hey, at least it got Sheryl Crow off the talk shows.
A MILLION TIMES NO: Curt Schilling, whom Steven Krasner said "emphatically refused to discuss the latest controversy surrounding his bloody sock'' with reporters in the Red Sox clubhouse yesterday, finally weighed in on the topic on 38pitches.com. He goes off on the media -- to be fair, he limits it to what he calls ''an entire subset of media whose sole purpose in life is to actually be the news, instead of report it'' -- and then completely buries the lead by putting this in the last paragraph:
''[I'll] wager 1 million dollars to the charity of anyones choice, versus the same amount to ALS. If the blood on the sock is fake, I’ll donate a million dollars to that persons charity, if not they donate that amount to ALS. Any takers?''
This story's explosion yesterday actually was a very interesting lesson in modern communications, but there's no way I could adequately analyze it in the time and space I have here. The mystery, to me, was how Gordon Edes could have been aware of Thorne's comments -- generally, the sound of the TV broadcasts is muted in the press box, and if it wasn't, Edes wouldn't have been the only reporter to hear it -- but come to find out it was old friend Allan Wood who heard it first and sent the word out to Edes and several other sports writers. A global village, indeed.
THE LAST WORD: Seth Mnookin thinks it was fitting that all this happened in Baltimore. (sethmnookin.com/blog) You'll have to click the link to find out why.
OH, YES, THE GAME: Wily Mo Pena got Red Sox Nation off his back, at least for a night. (Yet another talk-show topic compromised; drat!) The most interesting part of Steven Krasner's story, however, is where he relates Pena saying he hit a slider but Orioles pitcher Chris Ray responding no, it was a fastball. "Pitch recognition,'' writes Krasner, ''may have something to do with Pena’s troubles.''
ARMAGEDDON II: At least that's how Yankee Universe is viewing this weekend, especially after Phil Hughes didn't live up to the role of savior last night. (New York Daily News) The always honest Johnny Damon cut through corporate Yankee-speak when he said, ''There's going to be panic soon, if the winning doesn't start.''
FAR EAST FLOP: Kei Igawa is now ''baseball's most expensive long reliever''. (New York Post)
BELIEVE HALF OF WHAT YOU SEE, SON, AND NONE OF WHAT YOU HEAR: Jayson Stark isn't buying Alex Rodriguez' proclamations that he'll never leave New York. (espn.com)
KREMLIN-WATCHING: George Steinbrenner has become so publicly elusive that reporters -- like SI.com's Jon Heyman -- are searching for clues the way the State Department would analyze Soviet politics by who stood where on the podium during May Day celebrations. (sportsillustated.cnn.com)
-- ART MARTONE
Posted by Art Martone at 7:08 AM | Permalink