CC shuts down Sox as Yanks’ Magic Number hits one

Saturday Night Open Thread
Robinson Cano doesn't like it when you call him lazy

When Mariano Rivera struck out Mike Lowell, the potential tying run, to end the Yanks’ 3-0 two-hit shutout of the Red Sox, a nail-biter came to a close, and the Yanks moved one step closer to wrapping up the division title. With the victory, they improved to 8-9 against the Red Sox after starting out the year 0-8. It was the third time this year the Yanks shut out the Red Sox, and as their Magic Number hit one, the Yanks clinched at least a tie for the American League East title.

It didn’t have to be a nail-biter, though. The Yankees had ample opportunities against Daisuke Matsuzaka, and while a Robinson Cano solo home run would hold up, Johnny Damon‘s two-out, two-run single in the 8th was the team’s only hit with runners in scoring position in 15 ABs. Luck might have been on Matsuzaka’s side, but Sabathia was on the Yanks’. The big man out-pitched some bad Yankee luck.

In nailing down his 19th win, Sabathia was simply masterful. He was perfect for 3.2 innings and gave up just a single to Mike Lowell in the 5th. His final line — 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K — tells the story: pure dominance.

Sabathia had all of his pitches working. His fastball was in the mid-90s while his change sat in the mid-80s. He had the slider working as well, and later next week, he’ll try to be a 20-game winner for the first time in his career. “He’s that horse we haven’t had around,” Johnny Damon said after the game.

For Sabathia, this start caps a string of 10 outings of sheer dominance. Since giving up 5 earned runs to the White Sox on Aug. 2 — but still drawing a W — Sabathia has been every bit the ace. He is now 8-0 in those starts with a 1.62 ERA. He has 80 strikeouts in 72.1 innings and has walked just 18. With October on the horizon, he is clearly the ace that the team has needed in October.

On the other side of the ball, the Yankees’ afternoon was a bit frustrating. They had runners on in every inning but the 7th, but they could not do anything with it. In the third, with two on, Alex Rodriguez struck out but walked in front of Victor Martinez for an obstruction call and an inning-ending double play.

In the fifth, after Matsuzaka walked Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira, A-Rod swung at the first pitch. It went all of 15 feet, and Martinez beat Derek Jeter back to the plate for a fielder’s choice. Hideki Matsui then swung at the first pitch and lifted a foul pop. The Yanks’ big boppers approached their ABs poorly after two straight walks. Bad baseball. Bad luck.

The Yanks grabbed the lead in the sixth when Robinson Cano lifted his 24th home run of the year into the left-field seats. For Cano, it was his 199th hit, 100th run scored and his 80th RBI of the season. With a lead, the Yanks never looked back. They plated two insurance runs in the eighth after Phil Hughes struck out two in the top half. While Mariano Rivera ran into a spot of trouble in the ninth, Mike Lowell swung through the last pitch of the game, and the Yanks were winners against the Red Sox once again.

“CC, Hughes and Mo pitched a hell of a game,” Jose Molina said. Indeed they did.

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Saturday Night Open Thread
Robinson Cano doesn't like it when you call him lazy
  • Dela G

    great fucking win

    i just rewatched the entire game and it was great to see CC “out-duel” Dice-BB

  • Dela G

    i believe they are 8-9 against the red sox now by the way, not 7-9

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Fixed.

      • Dela G

        thanks my brotha

  • Rockdog

    Probably a stupid idea, and it goes against conventional wisdom, but should the Yankees think about pitching CC more often on extended rest (like an extra day). It just seems like he is even better with a little more rest.

    • zs190

      Doesn’t strike me as that smart. CC is an ace, you want your ace to pitch in as many games as possible (without hurting himself in the process or getting too worn out) and give you a chance to win as many games as possible.

      No reason to give him extra days and reduce the number of games he starts. The little bit of edge you MIGHT gain would mean a couple extra starts for Mitre and Gaudin, I think it’s easy to see that it probably wouldn’t help Yankees win more games.

    • whozat

      72 innings in 10-11 starts, with an ERA below two, and you want fewer starts that might be a little better, plus more starts by the 5th/6th guys?

  • http://phabfour.blogspot.com/ Double-J

    Heh, I love reading the ESPN boards.

    “Sox don’t care about these games, the Yanks will choke in October when it matters!!!!111!11!”

    Another great win, let’s keep this momentum rolling through to the playoffs! Sweep!

    • dan

      For even more comedy check out Dan Shaughnessy’s take over at the Globe. Fukking priceless.

      Here

      • uncle stevie

        this guy gets paid to write this garbage ? Im sure if they werent trying to win they wouldnt have pitched Lester….What should we expect though from a guy who patterns his look after Ronald McDonald ?

        • Big Pink Lips

          Dan Shaughnessy is the man! (on crack)

          The starting lineups told you everything you needed to know about the respective approaches of these rivals. Yankees manager Joe Girardi, burning his guys in a manner like Don Zimmer (circa 1978), put out his best nine players along with the winningest pitcher in baseball (tied with Adam Wainwright going into yesterday’s games). Jorge Posada wound up being a late scratch because of an injury, but the point was made. Girardi used his big guns. The Yankees are going wall to wall to clinch the division (magic number 1) and the best record in the American League, ASAP.

          The Red Sox, meanwhile, are using these final days to get some rest and tune up for the playoffs. Terry Francona started Rocco Baldelli in right, Jed Lowrie (hitting .158 entering the game) at short, and Brian Anderson in left. Chris Woodward played short in the eighth and dropped a throw from Victor Martinez that led to a pair of unearned runs. If not for four hit batsmen (two each side), this could have been March 18 at City of Palms Park.

          The message from Boston was clear: everything is settled. The Sox are going to win the wild card. They are not going to challenge the Yankees for home-field advantage. Let Girardi wear his guys out. The Sox are getting ready for the playoffs. Call it Tito’s rope-a-dope.

          “The mind-set is to manage everything to win,’’ Francona said. “It’s not just one thing. We want to show up and play the game right and be cognizant of what we are trying to accomplish.’’

          Occasionally, this means giving a guy like Jason Bay a day off when the Yankees are taking your lunch money. It means keeping your bench sharp. It means giving the big guys a rest. It means thinking big-picture.

          • steve (different one)

            this is insane. absolutely insane.

            the yankees have tons of off days recently. and there is still 7 games left in the season to rest guys.

            and there will be off days between the end of the season and the start of the playoffs.

            and there are plenty of off days DURING the playoffs.

            this is spin, plain and simple.

          • OldYanksFan

            Look, the guy is correct in the situation of looking at JUST THIS SINGLE game, without really knowing Yankee lineups of the past 2-3 weeks. We know Girardi is resting guys, is looking to see what some guys can do, is playing both Gritty and Guzman, and in general, managing for the PS. Hell, there are even complaints on many boards (which I don’t agree with), that Girardi pulled back too soon, and that we should have been going balls-to-the-wall these last 2 weeks.

            However, this game, we put in our Ace lineup (although Po was a late scratch). CC pitching? Well, we ain’t gonna screw with the rotation just to give Shaughnessy less to work with. Fortuitious for his little article.

            A Lot went south for the Sox this year. I didn’t expect to win the Divison by 6 or more games. What this article really says is “Red Sox… we’re lucky to be in the playoffs this year”. (Anybody notice an 11 game losing streak by TB and also a big choke by Texas?)

            So they are happy with 2nd place. And while the WC is at a slight disadvantage during the PS, the team that stays healthy and gets hot is still the team that wins.

            The Yankees are the best team in baseball in 2009.
            162 games will prove it.
            While I (of course) want to get a ring, the PS in baseball just determines the WS winner, NOT the best team in baseball. MLB has purposely set it up so the best team doesn’t mostly Win, so they can say parity is working.

            So the Sox will get their chance at a ring…
            But the best team has already been determined.

  • AndrewYF

    You can say the Sox might have a hard time beating the Angels with Varitek or Martinez behind the plate, but how the hell are the Angels going to win anything with that horrid bullpen?

    • Salty Buggah

      Yea, its atrocious.

  • Salty Buggah

    Remember when some posters were panicking about being swept by the Angels and Boston?…yea.

    Since Texas won, this assures us that Bahston can’t clinch in NY tomorrow, but we can. Then we will PARTAY!

    • thurdonpaul

      thats great that Texas won :)

    • Sean Serritella

      It feels really great that the Yankees control their own destiny.

  • Klemy

    Greta pitching performance today.

    Little frustrating watching so many failures with men in scoring position, but a win is a win. Just hoping they get this out of their system before the playoffs start.

  • Kiersten

    I have an idea: just pitch ZZ every day in the playoffs and then we don’t need to worry about AJ/Joba. Zing!

    100th win + AL East title is going to be pretty sweet (and I say is, not would, cause they’d better kill Byrd).

  • JSquared

    One of the more exciting games i’ve been to, even though it didn’t feel necessary to win, but it’s nice to shut out the red sox.

    CC!!!!

  • JackISBACK

    Johan WHO?!!!!!

    What a performance by CC. And watching the game, I felt he got squeezed at times by the umpire who seemed blind half the time anyway.

    I sure hope we can clinch it today, against the Sox. However, can we please get Gardner to play over Melky? Please? I seriously have no faith when Melky comes to the plate. Atleast if Gardner can somehow get on, its almost like a double with his base stealing abilities. And we know Gardner plays better defense.

  • JackC

    There’s certainly a chance I’m wrong, but I THINK the Yanks haven’t clinched a tie for the East. In fact, technically, I don’t think there can be a tie for the East. Of course they’re going to win the division (hopefully today) but I think, if the sky were to collapse and the Yanks lose every game from here on out and the Sox win every game (including today), they would finish with an equal record. However, as they’d both be in the playoffs (Texas couldn’t equal or surpass their records), they wouldn’t bother with a playoff, but reward the division title to the team with the better head to head record which, as this scenario includes a Sox win today, would be Boston.

    Having said that, lost in all the division title talk is the meaningless but nonetheless cool fact that a Yankee win today would mean, after an 0-8 start, they would’ve tied Boston for the season series.

    • http://steves steve s

      You are 100% correct. The Yanks have not clinched a ‘tie”. If the Yanks lose every remaining game and Bos wins every remaining game Bos wins the division due to better head to head record (this is exactly what happened in 2005 with Yanks being credited with winning the division even though they finished with same record as Bos). Of course this post would be better made by The King of Hypotheticals but hypothetically speaking it is quite accurate.

  • Zack

    This win guarantees that Boston finishes with a below .500 on the road for the season (39-41 with 1 game left).

  • steve (different one)

    The Yanks’ big boppers approached their ABs poorly after two straight walks. Bad baseball. Bad luck.

    i would agree that Matsui approached his AB poorly after A-Rod made an out on the first pitch.

    i disagree that A-Rod “approached his AB poorly”. there are 2 equally valid lines of thinking here: one, Matsuzaka is wild, let him fall behind again, or two, Matzusaka is going to throw a cookie on the first pitch to not risk falling behind with the bases loaded.

    Gameday says it was a fastball right down the middle of the plate a little above the knees. i don’t see how a hall of fame hitter swinging at that pitch is “bad baseball” simply b/c the results weren’t there.

    • steve (different one)

      epic fail on my part, Gameday says it was a change-up.

      but i think my point still holds. A-Rod was expecting a pitch down the middle and he got one, he just guessed wrong on the pitch type. since that is the approach he takes sometimes with obviously great success, i can’t fault him for that.

      and maybe that’s why A-Rod can’t seem to figure out Dice-BB? he’s just not picking up his change up.

  • DontChaKnow

    After the game John Kruk and the rest of the Baseball Tonight crew concluded that the Red Sox were a far superior team with no holes whatsoever and that the Yanks are no built for the post season.

    • Zack

      Tek is resting his shoulder for the postseason, thats why he lollypops it down to 2nd

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