Remembering an August series with Boston

Running on the Sox
Quick musings on Hughes' inning

On August 18, 2006, the Yankees started a five-game series with the Red Sox with a rare Friday doubleheader. As usual, the two teams were battling it out atop the AL East. The Yankees, at 70-48, were a game and a half up on the Red Sox, though they had dropped the previous two games to Baltimore and were 4-6 in their last 10. The Sox, too, were 4-6 in their last ten. Yet none of that mattered on the afternoon of the 18th. All that mattered were the five games at hand, surely a series which would determine the fate of the AL East.

What followed was one of the most memorable Red Sox series in recent years. The Yankees offense stepped up, putting up double digit runs in the first three games of the series, taking them all. They put up an eight spot on Sunday to take that matchup, and then finally won a light-hitting affair on Monday, 2-1 to cap what has been dubbed the modern Boston Massacre. Five games, five Yankees wins. On the morning of August 22, the Yankees woke up to a 6.5 game lead, one they would not relinquish.

At the time, I could hardly believe those four days and five games actually happened. The two teams seemed evenly matched. They’d been atop the division all year. If you told me on Friday morning that either team would win all five, or even four of those games and I’d have said you were nuts. Beyond nuts. That you didn’t understand the ebbs and flows of a season, and more than that the anyone-can-win-any-game nature of baseball. Funny how things work out sometimes.

On August 6, 2009, the Red Sox head down to the Bronx, two and a half games down in the AL East. Both teams have spent time atop the division this year, and the series is critical for both. Again, if you tell me that either team will take all four, I’ll say you’re nuts. Two teams of this caliber shouldn’t have many lopsided affairs. In fact, they’ve had too many already this season.

Yet I can’t shake the notion of the Yankees burying the Red Sox right here. A sweep would put them six and a half games up, exactly how many they were ahead after the Boston Massacre. While it’s not quite as late in the season, it’s late enough for a team like the Yankees. That would be an enormous cushion that they could build on in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, the Red Sox would be scrambling for the Wild Card.

It’s not likely. It’s not really necessary, either. Considering their eight-game deficit to the Red Sox already, the Yanks would do well to take three of four. Still, it’s almost impossible to not think back to those four euphoric days in August 2006. They turned the season in the Yankees’ favor. We can only hope the next four games have a similar effect.

Running on the Sox
Quick musings on Hughes' inning
  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    Play today, win today, das it.

  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

    I was posting at another board (one that Stryker still uses) and I remember ranting and raving before this series at how awful the Yankees were playing and how I thought they’d be out of first by the end of the series, etc. I absolutely loved being wrong and that series was my best on field memory of ’06.

  • Tony

    “Hughes took Joba’s job in the pen.”

    Francesa’s excuse for why his “Joba will be back in the bullpen by August” proclamations fell flat. Not because Joba has the best ERA on the staff, just because Hughes took his job.

  • manimal

    Ill never forget the Boston Massacre of 2006. I was in Greece and went to a internet cafe every day to catch up on some stuff and check up on the Yanks. My brother and I went totally apeshit when we found out they swept the sox in 5 games in Boston and I got the wierdest looks from other people sitting around me.

  • acb

    haha should be funny watching yukalis play left field

    • Zack

      did they officially announce that?

      • acb

        its on pete abes blog victor martinez is catching to

      • manimal

        yep. and no V-tek

        Ellsbury CF
        Pedroia 2B
        Martinez C
        Youkilis LF
        Ortiz DH
        Drew RF
        Lowell 3B
        Kotchman 1B
        Lowrie SS

        • Johan Iz My Brohan

          Tha Sawx luv der versatiluty

          Seriously though, that still is a decent lineup. I was hoping Nick Green would play LF like he did yesterday, but it will be odd seeing Youk out there? I wonder if Tex could still play out there like he did earlier in his career. Probably not though.

        • A.D.

          Interesting that they choose to put Youk out there instead of Kotchman

          • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Kotchman has never played any position but 1B. Youk has played 2 in the OF, 18 in LF (and has played most games at 1B/3B and even a couple at 2B). Youk is clearly the more versatile defender.

            • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              “Kotchman has never played any position but 1B. Youk has played 2 20 in the OF, 18 in LF (and has played most games at 1B/3B and even a couple at 2B). Youk is clearly the more versatile defender.”

    • jsbrendog

      he’s only played 18 game in lf and that was bakc in 06…

      hre played 2 games in rf last yr…

      this could be a beautiful disaster.

      • jjyank

        Had a -2.6 UZR in those 18 games too, if anyone’s curious.

  • yankeegirl49

    I dropped my daughter off as a freshman at college that Fri afternoon. We found a local bar (in Miami) to watch the first game. She kept talking sweep and I kept trying to tell her how unlikely that was. Shows you how much I know…

    • Kiersten

      Crazy, same thing happened to me…

  • 27 this year

    I went to India for a month long vacation and when I came back, I looked at the standing and the Yanks were way ahead of the Red Sox and said what the hell happened? I was at the airport and a customs officer answered by question with a newspaper showing the final score of the series. My jaw dropped.

  • acb

    i bet youkalis is better in left field then johnny damon

    • Sam

      Erroneous.

    • whozat

      Having seen him out there a couple of times, he’s not.

      I wish it was a day game. The sun is KILLER out there.

      • Drew

        That’s exactly what I thought, the sun would be fun for Youk.

        • jsbrendog

          well, while it would be fun to see that saturday what with the shadows and all cause of the late start, i hope tonight is such a disaster they wouldnt risk putting him out there again.

        • Chris

          Eh… he’d just pull that dead squirrel over his eye to shield the sun.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      i bet youkalis is better in left field then johnny damon Jason Bay.
      Fixed.

  • VO

    That was the first year I started paying attention to the Yankees, and ever since that series I have seen at least 1 inning of every game (whether it would be encore or gameday).

  • Sam

    I’m probably in the minority but I’d be happy with a split. Baby steps.

    • 27 this year

      At the very least, the Yanks need to win one and they keep a lead in the AL East exiting the series but I think a split is good. The Yanks should win tonight and Saturday when teh pitching matchups are in their favor. Beckett and Burnett is going to be tough since Beckett has been pitching well lately and Lester is a good pitcher.

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

        definitely split. i’d be happy winning 6 out of the next four.

  • Riddering

    As pumped as I am for the series, I just want the Yankees to win tonight. That’s all I’m asking for…this afternoon.

    But the memories of ’06 will keep me warm for the rest of the workday.

    • Johan Iz My Brohan

      1 at a time baby! 1 at a time!

  • Russell NY

    I have a shirt that I bought outside Yankee Stadium that says “Boston Massacre” with the scores listed on the back from this series. Love it.

  • jsbrendog

    if they’ve won the first 3, and are winning monday, i would love to hear some “who’s your daddy” chants fro my couch. yes i know, that was pedro, but still. if we swwep, or even take 3 of 4 at this juncture, we would indeed be their daddies. or papi’s if you will.

    • Hughes Your Daddy

      Just change those chants to “HUGHES YOUR DADDY” after Hughes mows down the heart of their line-up!

  • Hova

    This is a must-win for the Yankees tonight. The Red Sux are rolling into Yankee Stadium losing two straight and we’re feeling good winning three straight.

    Joba will be the stopper tonight. Red Sux winning streak against us ends tonight.

  • Charlie

    youkilis can play left field?? he’s starting there tonight, v-mart catching, and kotchman at first

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Isn’t LF the easiest to play out of the 3 positions?
      Anyways Youk could probably be better than Bay in left.

      • JobaWockeeZ

        …3 outfield positions

      • Charlie

        if you know how to play it off the monster it should be real easy to play LF in Fenway, there’s not much ground to cover

        • jsbrendog

          these games are in ny

      • Slugger27

        i played OF in HS and all thru college… CF is the easiest

        balls dont slice when theyre hit to CF… when u play the corners, the balls are hit with more spin and u have to break towards the line on just about anything since all hit balls break towards the foul line… its tricky

      • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        “Isn’t LF the easiest to play out of the 3 positions?”

        You know… I’m sure you and everyone knows this… But we tend to talk about the outfield like it’s easy to play, and that’s inaccurate. Is left field less demanding/difficult than center? Sure, of course. But if you’re not an outfielder, moving out there could be very difficult. It just depends on the player’s ability and experience, some guys can play out there and some just aren’t cut out for it the same way some aren’t cut out to play any other position. Just because we tend to think of guys who play LF as the poorer defenders on the team doesn’t mean anyone can run out there and do a good job of it.

        If Youk can go out there and give them decent innings in LF, good for him and good for them. It can definitely be tough to be sent out to LF after playing 1B/3B for years. (Let’s hope it’s not so easy a transition for him.)

        • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Ok I just saw Slugger27’s comment, above. So maybe opinions differ on which OF position is harder to play. Just wanted to acknowledge his opinion on that part of what I said above, since he has some experience with it. My overall point still stands, though.

    • Charlie

      ah, looks like someone already mentioned that

    • http://www.twitter.com/wahbjo01 Jordan

      Youkilis -15.1 UZR/150 in 18 games in LF.

  • Klemy

    I have such high hopes for tonight…will be glued to the TV for this one. I wish I lived in near the city to attend this one.

  • james

    I would love to be there to hear the crowd when they announce the “the DH hitting 5th “dirty” david ortiz!” The crowd is gonna lay it on them so bad, after all the crap that they put a-rod through….get ready david….get ready

    • jjyank

      As much as I want to take the high road, I agree with you. As I mentioned before, I go to school in Sox territory, and I have taken an immeasurable amount of crap about “the Yanks are the poster boys for PEDs” kind of talk from Sox fans over the past few years. It feels so good to hear their silence now.

      • jsbrendog

        but the whole issue isnt that he took peds. EVERYONE TOOK FUCKING PEDS.

        it is not even that he lied about it. MOST PEOPLE LIED ABOUT IT.

        it is about the fact that after taking peds and lying about it, he WAS THE MOST HYPOCRITICAL DOUCHE NOZZLE EVER and said anyone caught should get a full season suspension (OH THE HYPOCRICY) while hiding behind all the drug tests he has passed SINCE 2004 (of course a yr after he failed)!!!!

        i would much prefer to hear a chant of LIIIIIIIIII-AAAARR

        or HY-PO-CRITE, HY-PO-CRITE

        or just old time fav ASSSSSSSSSSSSS-HOOOOOOOOOOOOLE

        please, dont just be one of those ig’nants just yelling you did steroids. so did probably at least HALF of the players on the field tonight.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          please, dont just be one of those ig’nants just yelling you did steroids.

          Like people in Oakland did to Giambi? Massive fail.

          • jsbrendog

            yup, peeps be ig’nant

        • YankFan

          But he hasn’t done steroids. He’s still looking into it. He will get back to us about what happened.

          /Sarcasm’d

          Truth – he’s trying to get his lies straight.

          • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Ha, totally. THIS part is what’s pissing me off about this whole thing. He’s being upfront and just wants to get the information before he says anything? If he was going to be so upfront and honest, he’d just tell the team and the press what he was using, wouldn’t he? The only reason to find out exactly what got caught by the test is so he knows WHICH PED (of, presumably, numerous) he has to admit using.

            I’ll take it even further… If, hypothetically, he really just took something from GNC and mistakenly triggered the failed PED test, wouldn’t his logical and reasonable reaction to the whole issue initially have been “wow, I never thought I took any banned substances, I’m going to find out what triggered the test and get to the bottom of this?” That would have been the reasonable response of someone who unknowingly ingested something in that manner. But there was NO denial or explanation of any kind on his part. Instead, he just said “yeah, I failed the test, I’m going to be completely upfront with you all AFTER I find out what triggered the test-result.” I don’t know… leads me to believe he has to figure out which PED he got busted for, since he was taking more than one, rather than that he got busted for mistakenly putting a substance into his body unwittingly. He knows exactly what he was using, he can be upfront and discuss it without finding out exactly which substance he happened to get busted for, if we’re talking about being truly honest and upfront.

            His story/reaction, and the treatment of such by the press, has been ridiculous. What a fucking joke.

      • Johan Iz My Brohan

        Brookline High School? (assuming you are a high schoool student…)

        Good xc/track team, one of my schools regional competitors every year.

        • dkidd

          brookline high alum: mike wallace, conan o’brien, and theo epstein

  • jjyank

    Ahh the Boston Massacre. I moved into my dorm freshmen year just weeks after that happened. Considering I go to University of Vermont (solid Sox territory), I had a lot of ammo right off the bat. Good stuff.

    …can a brother get a 4-game repeat?

  • lily-bk

    this post doesn’t scream the word confident for the yankees. because the yankees did it to boston in 06 it’s going to come back and haunt the yankees this year. this is just has the feeling of a horrible 4 games for the yankees!

    • Slugger27

      ur a tool

      • lily

        no im realistic

    • Riddering

      That’s insane troll logic!

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Have you ever said a positive thing about the Yankees? Just wondering.

  • Kiersten

    Love this blurb on boston.com:

    We’re almost three years removed from that epic five-game sweep at the hands of the Yankees at Fenway Park, and suddenly it seems we’re on the cusp of witnessing it all again.

  • pete

    you jinxing fuckmouth

    • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      I kinda love this comment. (Sorry, everyone who might think I’m a relatively reasonable person.)

      • jsbrendog

        it sounds like something out of anchorman 2.

    • SS

      IETC

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

        +a s#itload!!! <3 u pete!

  • Ellis

    I was just thinking about this Boston Massacre series today as I read this quote this morning in Tyler Kepner’s article in the NYT:

    “From 2002 through 2008, the Yankees and the Red Sox played 145 times, including the playoffs. The Yankees won 75, the Red Sox won 70. No team won a season series by more than three games”.

    Am I misreading that? he’s simply wrong, right?

    • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      About which part?

      • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Oh, is this part tripping you up? “No team won a season series by more than three games.”

        He means all the games between the two teams in any one particular season, not a particular series (i.e. a 3-5 game set). A season series, like the 2007 or 2008 season series.

        • TomG

          I misread that reading the article this morning as well.

    • YankFan

      I think that year, like a few other years, Boston won the first few series of the season & the NYY came back to win the series in the second half. They always finished around .500 head-head.

  • DCR

    The weirdest part of that series was that the Lidle vs Wells game ended up 2-1.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Well, after scoring 47 runs in the first three games, I’m sure the Yanks’ bats were tired.

  • http://twitter.com/Hopjake Jake H

    I remember that series. Man it was crazy. I loved it and talked a little smack to a few guys I knew who were Sox fans.

  • Peedlum

    I was in Boston and at that Sunday night game (lots of rain delays, went into extra innings) at Fenway in my Yankee hat. Other than a 2 year old booing me on the T on the way into the city from the ‘burbs (where we drove by starting pitcher schilling’s house the night before and saw the big “I’m not really patriotic, I just have a lot of guns” American flag hanging over his driveway) not one person said a thing to me at breakfast, at the bar, at lunch, at the bar again, on the way into the stadium, at the game (way back in the bleachers under the Hancock sign), or after. I half expected to get stabbed but I think that series broke their backs and the fans as well. It was awesome. Hope the Sux fans are quiet again after this weekend.

    • Peedlum

      Woops, the Saturday night game.