One of last night’s starters left the game with the following line: 2.1 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 3 K. Ask anyone who didn’t see the game, from either New York or Boston, and they’d say it was Chamberlain. No brainer. But it was Jon Lester who surrendered the runs. A liner off the knee ended his night early, though he likely would have exited soon thereafter anyway. He’d thrown 78 pitches and allowed 11 baserunners. It was one of his worst starts of the season, and it set the stage for a Yankee victory.
As with Burnett’s and Pettitte’s last starts, the Yankees were looking for some improvement from Joba this time around. They got it. He lasted six innings, breezing through the first three by retiring the Red Sox in order. He struggled a bit in the second half of his appearance, but nothing big. He left a pitch up that any hitter with power should have driven, and left one out over the plate for David Ortiz. Those were his only blemishes on the evening.
Beyond the stellar first three innings, Joba showed something in the fifth. He got himself into a jam by allowing a single and a double, and then worked his way out of it without allowing a run-scoring grounder or sac fly. The only reason it wouldn’t be considered impressive is because the first two outs came at the expense of Jason Varitek and Alex Gonzalez, who went a combined 0 for 7 on the night with four strikeouts. I still think it’s impressive. There are just so many ways for a team to score with a runner on third and none out, even with crappy hitters at the plate.
The rest of the game belonged to the offense. As if their 14 hits and nine walks weren’t enough, the Yanks also swiped seven bases — A-Rod three times and Jeter twice. They came to bat 21 times with runners in scoring position and collected hits seven times. Only three of the 14 hits were for extra bases, but the Yanks made them count. A-Rod’s homer put the Yanks up 3-0 early, Robinson Cano’s double set them up later in the inning, and A-Rod’s double in the sixth gave them all the breathing room they’d need. The rest of the night, singles and walks worked just fine.
The Yankees got everything they could have wished for in this game. They beat Boston handily, and Joba pitched well. The team had a plan going in, to run on Jason Varitek, and they executed. Everything seemed to fall into place, and that’s always welcome against the Red Sox.
Question: should Girardi run out the A or the C lineup tomorrow? You don’t want to sit back after you just battered the Sox, but on the other hand you want to rest your regulars as much as possible. Jorge’s probably sitting or DHing because of the day game after the night game (and I bet a shiny penny that Cervelli starts behind the plate), so Joe could choose to start Hinske and others rather than his main guys, hoping that CC holds down the Sox and his bench guys can muster a few off Dice-K. It’s a late-afternoon affair, 4:00, and you’ll have to deal with Tim McCarver on the FOX broadcast. So glad I’m going to this one.