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August 30, 2007
Game story: Yankees 5, Red Sox 0
BY SEAN McADAM
Journal Sports Writer
NEW YORK –- Like a storm whose full impact can’t be measured in the short-term, it was too soon for the Red Sox to assess how much damage the Yankees inflicted with their series sweep, capped by Thursday’s 5-0 shutout.
If the Sox hold off the Yankees – their lead has been sheared to five with 28 to play – these three games will be viewed as merely demoralizing losses. If, on the other hand, the division title has been put back in play and the Yankees have been emboldened by their wins here, then the impact will obviously be much greater.
But Thursday, as they trudged out of Yankee Stadium, this much was unmistakable: the Red Sox lost an opportunity here.
''Oh, no question,’’ agreed Curt Schilling, the losing pitcher.
An opportunity to put the Yankees out of the running for first place in the division was squandered. So, too, was a chance to worsen their rivals’ wild-card chances and help ensure that they won’t have to meet them in the ALCS in October.
''We lost,’’ said Schilling. ''We lost and got out-pitched three days in a row.’’
Only three days ago, the Red Sox led by eight, and the Yankees were reeling from a poor road trip that ended with an embarrassing 16-0 loss in Detroit the night before this series began.
But whatever edge the Sox had in momentum quickly dissipated.
''Both teams played exactly the opposite of how they had been playing before coming into the series,'' Schilling said. ''We didn’t play well (in the series) and they did.''
Schilling kept the Sox close, allowing only two solo homers, both to Robinson Cano – one in the third, another in the fifth. The first came on a fastball, the second on a hanging splitter.
Chien-Ming Wang, meanwhile, held the Sox hitless through six innings before the Sox showed some life in the seventh. Kevin Youkilis reached first when Derek Jeter’s throw from short pulled Jason Giambi off the bag.
With Giambi holding Youkilis on at first, Mike Lowell drove a pitch to right for the first hit of the afternoon for the Red Sox.
J.D. Drew then hit a roller to third. Alex Rodriguez charged the ball and attempted to tag Youkilis, who eluded the third baseman’s glove and advanced to third as Drew was thrown out at first.
The Sox thought they had runners at second and third with just one out. They were wrong.
The umpiring crew gathered and overturned the call, ruling that Youkilis had gone out of the baseline – replays indicated he had stepped on the infield grass – and the Sox were reduced to one baserunner (Lowell at second) and two out.
Terry Francona stormed from the dugout and got himself ejected for the fifth time this season. When Wang fanned Jason Varitek for the third out, both the inning and the afternoon were effectively over. .
''I know it’s a judgment call,'' Francona said. ''What upset me was it was (second-base umpire) Derryl Cousins’ call and it was overturned by (third-base umpire Mark Carlson) without as good a view. That was frustrating. I think they should have used the (opinion) of the umpire with the best view.''
Explained Cousins: ''On the play, we had a little lack of communication. I had a safe call for no tag. Carlson was making the call on (being) out of the baseline. We just had to get together to make sure we had it right.''
The Yankees piled on with three more off Hideki Okajima in the eighth and now head into the final four weeks with potential paths to October.
Asked to assess how the race had changed in the last 72 hours, Francona said: ''I look at it that we lost today and we’re not very pleased about it …We need to show up and play the games and whatever our record is at the end of the season, that’s what it will be.''
That bit of Zen mastery may not do much to ease the angst felt by Red Sox fans who viewed this week as an opportunity to put the Yankees in the rear view mirror – permanently. But from where the Red Sox now sit, the Yankees are very much visible.
''We’ve spent all year playing it one at a time and turning the page,'' said Schilling. ''Now we’ll see how good we are at doing that.''
Posted by Art Martone at 6:33 PM | Permalink
Red Sox journal: Chamberlain reignites the rivalry with two high-and-tight pitches to Youkilis
BY SEAN McADAM
Journal Sports Writer
NEW YORK – The Red Sox and Yankees, it seems, can’t get through a series without some bad blood surfacing.
In the ninth inning Thursday, Yankee rookie reliever Joba Chamberlain threw two consecutive fastballs over the head of Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis, leading to Chamberlain’s immediate ejection by home plate umpire Angel Hernandez.
''If that young man was trying to get our attention,'' said Terry Francona, ''he did a very good job. I can’t read someone else’s mind – you’ll have to ask him (about his intent).''
''It is what it is,'' said Youkilis after the game. ''Two balls over my head at 98 mph, I don’t know. Who knows? All I know is that this is the second time [he’s had an incident with the Yankees]. Scott Proctor threw up around my head (back in April). Coincidence? I don’t know. [Chamberlain’s] got a 0.00 ERA and control of the strike zone.''
Yankee manager Joe Torre was adamant Chamberlain wasn’t throwing at Youkilis, saying the youngster, pitching in the ninth inning against the Red Sox for the first time, was nervous. ''The umpires have be schooled somehow so they have a better sense of the game,'' said Torre.
''It’s sad that it happened,’’ said Chamberlain. ''There was no maliciousness behind it. I’m out there trying to win games. I have too much respect for the game.''
Crew chief Derryl Cousins came out and spoke to the media, explaining why Chamberlain was ejected.
''There’s more than a little bit of history between these clubs,'' he said. ''Those were two pretty nasty pitches the young man threw. Up here, you need to be a little better throwing strikes and we just had to put a lid on it before there was a problem.''
The teams, of course, meet three more times from Sept. 14-16 in Fenway.
''It will be interesting to see how that plays out,'' said Youkilis.
Francona furious at MLB
Francona was livid that Major League Baseball sent a security agent into the dugout in the bottom of the second inning Wednesday night to check on his uniform.
Francona has been given multiple warnings about wearing pullover tops instead of the standard-issue uniform top. He’s explained to MLB officials that he wears the pullovers to keep himself warm, since, even in the middle of summer, he often feels chills because of side effects of some blood-thinning medication he takes.
MLB officials have suggested that he wear the uniform top underneath the pullover, which Francona has been doing. He showed that to MLB Vice President Bob Watson an hour before Wednesday night’s game.
But in an apparent effort to make sure that he hadn’t discarded the uniform once the game started, MLB sent an RSA (resident security agent) into the dugout, who pulled Francona into the runway leading to the dugout and examined the uniform.
''That’s about as embarrassed as I’ve been for baseball in a long time,'' fumed Francona. ''When Derek Jeter is on second base and I’ve got someone asking to check my uniform, I was a little perturbed . . . I asked him, ‘Can this wait a second?’ He told me no.
''Unless this guy can put on a bunt play, he ought to stay out of the (expletive) dugout.’’
When asked if the Sox had any avenue to appeal the action, Francona said: ''I think all the cursing I did to the guy up in the tunnel was appeal enough.''
Ramirez expected to be sidelined for a week
Manny Ramirez is scheduled to be examined again Friday by Red Sox physicians. Privately, the Sox are expecting that Ramirez will be out another week.
Kielty ready to return
Meanwhile, Bobby Kielty took some swings in the cage yesterday morning to test his back and reported improvement. Kielty came out of Tuesday night’s game because of back spasms, then was sent back to the team’s hotel in Manhattan Wednesday so his back wouldn’t stiffen while sitting in the dugout.
''I took some swings and felt better,'' said Kielty after the game. ''I feel better.''
Kielty added that he expects to be available Friday night when the Sox host the Orioles.
Here and there
-- Mike Lowell extended his hitting streak to 11 games with his single to right in the seventh. Lowell has three hitting streaks of 10 games or more this season
-- Lowell’s hit was the first off Chien-Ming Wang, who no-hit the Sox for the first six innings.
-- Ironically, Francona had been asked why, with Ramirez out, he had Lowell hitting fifth instead of cleanup. “(Wang) has been tough on Mike,’’ said Francona. Before yesterday, Lowell was hitting only .158 (3-for-19) against Wang.
-- Hideki Okajima was charged with three runs in the eighth as the game got away from the Sox. The three runs were the most against the lefty in an appearance this season. In fact, the three runs equaled the amount of runs that Okajima yielded in the first two months of the season.
-- The Sox dropped to 29-13 in days games and saw their three-game winning streak in day games snapped.
-- Thanks to a pulled oblique muscle, the Sox will miss Baltimore ace lefty Erik Bedard twice in the next 10 days. Going into yesterday, Bedard led the American League in strikeouts (221) and opponents batting average against (.212) and is tied for fourth in ERA (3.16).
Posted by Art Martone at 5:48 PM | Permalink
No-hitter over...fun just beginning
A single to right by Mike Lowell has ended Chien-Ming Wang's no-hit bid. Kevin Youkilis reached on an error by Derek Jeter, and Lowell singled him to second.
Then, J.D. Drew hit a roller to Alex Rodriguez, who missed a tag on Youkilis heading to third before throwing out Drew at first.
But....upon further review...the umpires huddled and decided -- correcntly, it seems -- that Youkilis has run out of the basepaths, and he was ruled out.
Terry Francona emerged from the dugout like he was spring-loaded and in no time, was run, his fifth ejection of the season.
NY 2 BOS 0, bot 7
Posted by Sean McAdam at 3:12 PM | Permalink
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In This Afternoon's Performance, the Part of Dave Righetti....
It's the bottom of the sixth in the Bronx and your Red Sox are hitless against Chien-Ming Wang.
Like Roger Clemens the night before, Wang has had his problems with control, walking four. But he's yet to give up a hit.
The closest so far: a sparkling play by Jason Giambi, who went diving to his right to take a hit away from Dustin Pedroia with two gone in the third.
This marks the second time in as many games that the Sox have been held without a hit through five innings.
Curt Schilling has pitched pretty well, escept where Robinson Cano is concerned. Cano has two solo homers to account for the only two runs of the game.
NY 2 BOS 0, through 6
Posted by Sean McAdam at 2:56 PM | Permalink
Lineups for the finale
Dustin Pedroia 2b
Coco Crisp cf
David Ortiz dh
Kevin Youkilis 1b
Mike Lowell 3b
J.D. Drew rf
Jason Varitek c
Eric Hinske lf
Alex Cora ss
Curt Schilling p
Johnny Damon lf
Derek Jeter ss
Bobby Abreu rf
Alex Rodriguez 3b
Hideki Matsui dh
Jorge Posada c
Jason Giambi 1b
Robinson Cano 2b
Melky Cabrera cf
Chien-Ming Wang p
Posted by Sean McAdam at 12:50 PM | Permalink
Sox Streakers for August 30
-Mike Lowell has a team-high 11-game hitting streak, during which he is 19 for 40 (.475).
-Mike Timlin has surrendered just two runs in 20.2 innings since the All-Star Break.
-Julio Lugo is 2 for his last 18.
Red Sox vs. Chien-Ming Wang
-Dustin Pedroia, 3 for 3 (1.000), 2 2B
-Manny Ramirez, 13 for 22 (.591), 2 HR, 4 BB
-Eric Hinske, 10 for 20 (.500), 4 2B, 2 HR, BB
-David Ortiz, 12 for 24 (.500), 3 2B, 2 HR, 5 BB
-Kevin Youkilis, 7 for 18 (.389), 3 2B, 6 BB
-Alex Cora, 5 for 16 (.313), HR
-Coco Crisp, 5 for 17 (.294), 3B, BB
-Julio Lugo, 6 for 28 (.214), 2B, 5 BB
-Mike Lowell, 3 for 19 (.158), 2B, 3 BB
-Jason Varitek, 1 for 12 (.083), HR
-Bobby Kielty, 0 for 3
-J.D. Drew, 0 for 6
-Wang is 4-4 with a 4.78 E.R.A. in 10 career appearances (nine starts) against Boston. This season, he is 2-1 with a 4.50 E.R.A. in three starts.
Yankees vs. Curt Schilling
-Wilson Betemit, 1 for 2 (.500), BB
-Bobby Abreu, 14 for 37 (.378), 4 2B, BB
-Jorge Posada, 14 for 37 (.378), 4 2B, 2 HR, 4 BB
-Robinson Cano, 9 for 25 (.360), HR, BB
-Hideki Matsui, 9 for 27 (.333), 2 2B, HR, 3 BB
-Derek Jeter, 13 for 48 (.271), 2B, HR, 2 BB
-Johnny Damon, 7 for 26 (.269), 3 2B, HR, BB
-Melky Cabrera, 4 for 15 (.267), 2B, HR, BB
-Jason Giambi, 8 for 33 (.242), 2B, 4 HR, 2 BB
-Alex Rodriguez, 9 for 39 (.231), 2B, 4 HR, 2 BB
-Jose Molina, 0 for 3
-Schilling is 7-6 with a 4.84 E.R.A. in 22 career appearances (17 starts) against New York. This season, he is 0-1 with a 7.00 E.R.A. in three starts against the Yanks.
-Mike Timlin's next appearance will be the 1,000th of his career, making him one of only 13 pitchers to reach that milestone.
-The Red Sox are 5-12 in one-run games since June 26.
-The Red Sox are 29-12 in day games, the best record in the majors.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 11:55 AM to Projo Sox Streakers
Projo SoxTalk with McAdam: Back to the old anemic offense
Sean McAdam joins us from Yankee Stadium for today's edition of projo SoxTalk. Click here to listen to the full audio file. Today's topics of conversation: can this team succeed without Manny Ramirez? Terry Francona's decision to stay with Beckett into the seventh last night; Curt Schilling's keys to success today; the Yankees' playoff hopes getting better and better; Julian Tavarez vs. Clay Buchholz; and who might get called up from the minors in the week ahead (aside from Jacoby Ellsbury, Brandon Moss and Buchholz).
Here are some excerpts from Sean's comments:
Life without Manny: "Certainly a six-game lead with 30 to go is fairly comfortable, but if Manny is out indeed for an extended stretch, it's going to be a little bit more difficult, there's no getting around that."
On staying with Beckett: "I don't have any problem with him going out for the seventh. In fact, as angry as Beckett was for leaving that curveball out over the middle of the plate for A-Rod to hit out, he still said he felt strong and good and could have finished the inning."
On potential call-ups: "Certainly [Royce] Clayton. That was the reason he was signed, to give them an experienced middle infielder down the stretch if anything were to happen to Cora, Lugo or Pedroia. Clayton is someone who could play either position and has done so for a long time in the big leagues. ... Kevin Cash. Doug Mirabelli is eligible to come off the disabled list this weekend, but Cash will stick around to give them the flexibility of a third catcher. Maybe one other pitcher ... but for a team in contention, they would not want to have too many people hanging around here who aren't going to be useful."
Posted by Mike McDermott at 11:25 AM to McAdam
Baseball Today: Thursday, August 30
WELL-PLACED ROCKET: He wasn't the Roger Clemens of old, not with five walks, a hit batter and only two strikeouts through six innings. But he wasn't old Roger Clemens, either, and he was good enough, writes Sean McAdam, to win the battle of Texas gunslingers with Josh Beckett as the Yankees made it two in a row over the Red Sox last night, 4-3. The Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy was impressed, and the New York Daily News' John Harper said it showed Clemens (above, AP Photo) could still be an important cog going forward for the Yanks. The New York Post's Mike Vaccaro adds it's exactly what they need.
A MUCH BIGGER LOSS: McAdam reports the Sox will be without Manny Ramirez indefinitely -- it could be ''weeks,'' according to a club source, though the same source also said it's more likely to be ''days'' -- because of a strained oblique muscle. That, coupled with Bobby Kielty's bad back, leaves the Sox shorthanded on the bench until Saturday, when rosters can be expanded to 40. (Putting either one on the disabled list immediately, in order to bring up reinforcements, would mean a minumum of 15 days on the shelf, and the Sox are hoping both will be back before then.) The notebook also contains items involving Saturday's starter (it'll be Julian Tavarez and not Clay Buchholz)
THE FATAL FLAW: While it certainly wasn't helped by the absence of Ramirez, the Boston Herald's Tony Massarotti says last night's feeble offensive performance could be a sign of the weakness that will sink the Sox moving forward.
DON'T ASK ME, BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW: One of the weakest links in the offensive chain has -- to the front office's dismay -- proven to be J.D. Drew, who's been about a quarter of the hitter the Sox thought they were signing. And Drew himself doesn't know why that is, or what to do to fix it. (Boston Globe)
COWBOY UP: Kevin Youkilis has also been struggling at the plate, which, FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reports, has led the Red Sox to look into reacquiring Kevin Millar. Rosenthal, however, adds ''talks have cooled'' and also reports it's uncertain Millar, who is playing every day in Baltimore and will be a free agent at the end of the year, would be willing to come to Boston as a part-time player.
A BREAK: The Sox won't be facing Oriole ace Erik Bedard this weekend (Washington Post), because Bedard is suffering from a strained muscle in his right side.
THE IMPORTANT STUFF: Terry Francona has had plenty of issues with Bob Watson, a vice-president of MLB's on-field operations, in the past; one of them, earlier this season, came when Watson overruled the umpires' recommendation that an opposing pitcher be suspended for deliberately throwing at a Red Sox player. So when Watson went into the Red Sox dugout last night to talk to Francona about wearing a jersey top, instead of the pullover he's worn since taking over as manager in 2004, Tito threw him out. (New York Post) And, you may have noticed, he wore the pullover last night.
OUT IN FRONT: Writing on ESPN.com, Howard Bryant says Francona has become the public face of the franchise as Theo Epstein and other front-office executives stay behind the scenes.
THE GREATEST INSULT: ESPN.com's Jim Caple, who grew up rooting for the Red Sox, says the 2004 championship has Sox fans acting like Yankee fans and he has no use for his former compadres. (''As soon as the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, Boston fans took on a swaggering, entitled persona, acting as if they alone invented sports fandom and behaving as if nothing else in baseball mattered but them.'')
DOWN ON THE FARM . . . The PawSox' season will end Monday -- no playoffs this year -- but it's ending on a good note for George Kotteras and Craig Hansen, who helped Pawtucket rally past Buffalo last night. (projo.com) Joe McDonald reports Hansen is still hoping for a September call to Boston even though he's struggled through a difficult, injury-filled season at Triple-A. (minorleaguebaseball.com) More likley to be summoned, writes Joe, are Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brandon Moss and Davern Hansack.
CARTER COUNTRY? It's unknown whether or not the Sox will call for newly acquired Chris Carter, but if they do, they'll be adding a life-long Red Sox fan to their roster. McDonald sat down last night for an interview with Carter prior to his first game at McCoy Stadium.
WHO'S LAUGHING NOW? The Dallas Morning News' Evan Grant thinks the Rangers did well in the Eric Gagne trade as he sings the praises of the players Texas acquired from the Red Sox.
WHO IS THIS GUY, AND WHAT HAS HE DONE WITH DICE-K? Kazuhiro Takeda, Japan's pitching coach in the World Baseball Classic, watched Daisuke Matsuzaka pitch against the Yankees on Tuesday and said ''it wasn’t even half of what'' Dick-K is capable of. (Boston Herald) Takeda spoke to Matsuzaka, who said he's ''quite tired'' -- the MLB season is longer than Japan's -- and is trying to conserve energy for the September stretch and the postseason.
LOOKING AHEAD TO OCTOBER The Herald's Steve Buckley writes that Curt Schilling needs to make a good start today to build on the momentum from last week's performance in Chicago and begin laying the groundwork for the postseason.
FORGETTING WHAT HAPPENED IN APRIL: The Daily News' Mike Lupica says the Yanks are a different team than the one that struggled through the beginning of the year.
YANKS ARE WILD: The victory lifted the Yankees into a virtual tie with the Mariners for the wild-card lead after the Angels completed a three-game sweep in Seattle. (Los Angeles Daily News) Orlando Cabrera says the M's should forget about catching LA of A in the A.L. West race and focus on the wild card (Seattle Post-Intelligencer), and the PI's Art Thiel says that what they'll have to do after a three-game series that can only be described as ''a teamwide choke''.
CHANGING THE RULES: After watching the latest Kyle Farnsworth tightrope-walk -- a two-run eighth inning that nearly cost them the game -- the Yankees will amend the Joba Rules to allow Joba Chamberlain to pitch more often. (Both stories New York Post)
KEEPING THE FAITH: Mike Mussina has refused to talk to the media since being taken out of the starting rotation, but he had a long sitdown with Joe Torre yesterday, who explained the move and says he still thinks Mussina will pitch, and pitch effectively, for the Yankees. (New York Daily News)
DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR . . . SI.com's John Donovan thinks the Yankees' decision to replace Mussina in the rotation with rookie Ian Kennedy is a sign of desperation that many teams, and managers, feel this time of year.
BACK OFF A BIT: In a reader mailbag, SI.com's Tom Verducci says he's beginning to think the Yankees' Phil Hughes ''may not be a knockout No. 1 starter the way some have anointed him''. Still, he believes Hughes has more potential than the Sox' Jon Lester.
FORGET IT: While he may not return to the Yankees next year -- he wants to play center field, but the Yanks have given the position to Melby Cabrera -- Johnny Damon says flatly he won't come back to Boston. (Boston Herald)
THE RACES -- N.L. EAST: The Phillies have pulled to within three games after winning their third straight from the Mets last night (Philadelphia Inquirer) in a game that ended when C.B. Bucknor -- there's that man again -- called interference on Marlon Anderson for his takeout slide into second with two outs in the ninth, negating the tying run from scoring and ending the game. The Mets, as you can imagine, were just thrilled with the call. (New York Post)
THE RACES -- N.L. CENTRAL: Ben Sheets' return from the disabled list was everything the Brewers hoped as they beat the Cubs and moved back into second place. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Tony La Russa doesn't look so old or crazy anymore after getting the Cardinals back in the hunt, even though they lost last night and may be without Scott Rolen for a while. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
A MUCH-NEEDED BOOST: ESPN.com's Jayson Stark thinks Sheets' performance is exactly what the Brewers needed.
DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING: But ESPN.com's Gene Wojciechowski still believes the Cubs are in the driver's seat in the N.L. Central.
THE RACES -- N.L. WEST: The Diamondbacks and Padres are in a virtual tie after San Diego's 3-1 win over Arizona last night. (Arizona Republic)
IF YOU CAN HANDLE HIM . . . Rosenthal thinks Milton Bradley would be a solid addition to anybody's lineup.
QUICKLY: Esteban Loaiza was claimed off waivers by the Dodgers (Foxsports.com) . . . The Cubs are looking for help prior to tomorrow's waiver trade deadline but don't think what they're being offered is any better than what they have now (Chicago Sun-Times) . . . Giants reliever Vinnie Chulk has a circulatory problem that doctors may be related to chewing tobacco. (San Francisco Chronicle) Chulk has vowed to give up his chaw . . . Ervin Santana's poor performance against the Mariners Tuesday may mean the end of his stay in the Angels' starting rotation, at least for this season (Riverside Press-Enterprise) . . . Cole Hamels threw without pain, which is good news for the Phillies (Philadelphia Inquirer).
-- ART MARTONE
Posted by Art Martone at 6:58 AM | Permalink
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