Apr
10

In rare Fenway shutout, Yanks fall to Sox 4-0

By

On a chilly Sunday night with rain falling by the late innings, the Yanks’ bats fell silent at Fenway Park. For just the fourth time since Pedro Martinez arrived in Boston, the Yankees failed to score a run in Beantown as the Red Sox won the rubber match of the three-game set 4-0. While CC Sabathia, without his best stuff, held the Sox to just a run, Josh Beckett was absolutely masterful, and the Yanks will head back to the Bronx at 5-4 on the young season.

Beckett on the black

Yankee fans know what Josh Beckett can do. We remember the 2003 World Series, and those of us who could stomach it watched Beckett put on a pitching clinic during the 2007 playoffs as well. Every now and then, Beckett reminds baseball why his stuff once made him a guy with tremendous potential, and tonight was an every now and then.

With a fastball averaging over 93 miles per hour and touching 94 at times, Beckett pounded the edges of the strike zone as though he were threading a needle. He threw first-pitch strikes to 18 of the 27 batters he faced, and he issued just one free pass all game. The Yanks’ bat, struggling right now and particularly vulnerable with A-Rod on the bench, could do nothing about it. That’s just one of those days where you tip your cap to the opposing pitcher and move on to the next game.

For Beckett, this game places him in a unique position. Since 1998 when the Red Sox acquired Pedro, Beckett is the only Red Sox hurler to take part in two shutouts against the Yanks in Fenway Park. Brian Rose, Mark Guthrie and Jim Corsi did it on May 19, 1999; Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe struck out 15 combined en route to a 3-0 victory over Mike Mussina on May 30, 2001; and Josh Beckett, Manny Delcarmen, Ramon Ramirez and Daniel Bard sent down the Yanks quietly on June 9, 2009. For what it’s worth, the Yanks reached the World Series in the three previous seasons in which they were shut out in Boston.

Key Moment: The wild pitch that wasn’t

The Yankees didn’t have many offensive chances tonight, and their third-inning rally that fell short proved to be a turning point. Eric Chavez singled with one out, and Russell Martin reached when a fastball grazed his jersey. During Brett Gardner‘s at-bat, a ball squirted behind Jason Varitek, but Chavez froze at second.

A few pitches later, Brett Gardner hit a grounder up the middle, and Dustin Pedroia, who had shaded up the middle, grabbed it, stepped on second and threw to first. Inning over; rally over. Had Chavez and Martin moved up on Varitek, not a strong defensive catcher, Gardner’s grounder either would have driven in a run or would have gone through as Pedroia would have been shading more toward the second base hole. The complexion of the game changed as Chavez stayed at second. It was a little moment but one with a large impact.

CC bears down

On the mound, CC Sabathia wasn’t sharp tonight. He threw first-pitch strikes to just 15 of the 30 batters he faced, and the Red Sox pounded grounders up the middle off of him all night. Yet, despite four walks and 14 base runners, he kept the Yanks in the game. He now has a 1.45 ERA on the season and is 0-1. That will begin to correct itself soon.

Random Notes
Joba Chamberlain, pitching on back-to-back days and for the third time in four days, wasn’t sharp. He came in to protect a 1-0 deficit and got pulled after the Sox plated a pair on a Marco Scuatro hit. In the 8th, Freddy Garcia made his Yankee debut and gave up a run on a David Ortiz double to deep center that would have been a home run three years ago. After the game, Joe Girardi spoke a bit about his late-inning bullpen usage. Had the Yanks’ relievers kept the game at 1-0, Rafael Soriano would have pitched the 8th. I wonder whether Soriano should have come in with a few runners on base and Joba in trouble. Soriano, a former closer, can be a fireman out of the pen, but in the early going, Girardi has deployed him in the 8th inning only and with a lead.

As Sweeny Murti noted, no Yankee starter had a 1-2-3 inning this weekend. The Red Sox’s slumping bats made this series look closer than it could have been, and it’s proof that, despite a 2-7 start, the Red Sox are far from out of it.

With A-Rod out of the lineup, only two starters ended the game with OBPs over .340. The Yankees are clearly struggling to get on base and have been able to mask that deficiency by hitting 18 home runs this season. Soon, the on-base percentage will climb, the homers will slow and the runs will come. It’s early yet.

WPA Graph and Box Score

ESPN has the box score while Fangraphs has the rest.

Up Next

The Yanks have Monday off as they travel back to the Bronx. The first-place Orioles come to down for a three-game set beginning Tuesday. A.J. Burnett will face Chris Tillman at 7:05 p.m., and you can get some (really cheap) seats on RAB Tickets.

Categories : Game Stories

77 Comments»

  1. ZZ says:

    “I wonder whether Soriano should have come in with a few runners on base and Joba in trouble.”

    Don’t be ridiculous. Joba is the seventh inning guy and Soriano is the eighth inning guy.

    • Jim says:

      On Eric Chavez not moving…was I the only one who watched GIRARDI’S GOLDEN GUY GARDNER throw up the stop sign? Gardner had the look…Chavez had no angle. And the double plays and lack of stolen bases from the GOLDEN GUY…is this Bubba in disguise?

  2. Pat D says:

    Didn’t the Yanks get shut out in Fenway in one of those early 2009 games?

    Well that worked out ok in the end.

    • A-Rod's Wingman says:

      It’s besides the point shitty loss, they had the chance to basically burry Boston this weekend and blew it in a couple of bad losses. It’s early but a Sweep would have been a pretty difficult hole for them to crawl out of.

      • Going 162-0 would be pretty sweet too.

        There’s no denying that the Red Sox got off to a bad start, but of the two AL East teams that started 1-7, Boston was the slumping one. They’re going to be good; they’re going to compete for the AL East title. A Yanks’ sweep would have been fantastic, but it’s not realistic to expect or to say they blew it.

        • A-Rod's Wingman says:

          Blew an early chance to bury Boston seven back early in the year…sure a seven game deficit isn’t impossible to crawl out of, yet unlikely.

          • Pasqua says:

            The reality of a sweep was relatively small, and far from a given. To say they “blew” a chance to build a seven game lead is ridiculous. They had a chance, and Boston won two games. That’s it. They “blew” nothing.

          • Sweet Dick Willie says:

            While being up 7 is obviously better to being down 7, for a team of Boston’s caliber, making up 7 games over 153 games is entirely plausible.

            The ’64 Cardinals made up 7 games with only 10 to play.

  3. A-Rod's Wingman says:

    Positives: None.

    Negatives: The offense got shut out, CC missed spots let and right, and Joba blew up. 4-0 loss but felt like a 40-0 loss. They gotta win CC’s starts, and worst of all Beckett looks like he might be back…if the Red Sox get a good two starter with that offense they’ll be pretty tough.

  4. BigBlueAL says:

    Gardner/Tex/Posada/Granderson all hitting below .200, Jeter hitting .206 and Swisher hitting .219.

    Thats alot of slumping at the same time.

  5. Jake Jarmel says:

    Just like you can’t keep trotting Hughes out there to get shelled, you have to move Jeter and Gardner down to 8-9 in the lineup! Girardi is scared to do anything bold. He’s got two ace relievers and they just collect dust in the pen when they could have been used to keep it 1-0.

    • dave says:

      Moving Gardner down to ninth is correct. This utility player should not even be in the starting lineup.

      • Josh S. says:

        I’m all for starting Andruw Jones in LF and having Gardner come in as a defensive replacement / pinch runner. Maybe a little competition will get one of them going.

  6. ZZ says:

    It really is sad what has happened to baseball managers. It has become just a mindless position in regard to in game strategy. They have almost uniformly transformed into GPS Navigation systems. Every decision is just basically scripted from the start. And it is very unlikely to ever change. The toughest part of the job is gaining the respect and commanding a clubhouse and the people who would actually be willing to do some in game innovative thinking are not going to be able to do that aspect of the job.

    The use of closers, eighth inning guy, seventh inning guy. It really is mind boggling. What in the world is a seventh inning guy? It’s amazing how these made up designations outweigh leverage when it comes to bullpen management.

    • It’s also the fault of the GMs/ownership who refuse to hire anyone except former players, who are locked into one line of thinking. I’m sure Brian Cashman and his research teams know about leverage indexes and the idea of using your best reliever by situation and not inning, but are they going to tell Girardi to do that? Are they going to convince the Steinbrenners to hire a stat geek to lead the team? Doubtful.

      • Jenny says:

        They actually used to do that (“using your best reliever by situation and not inning”).

        Here’s a box score from the fabled 1978 come-back season with Goose pitching 3 relief innings.

        http://www.baseball-reference......9100.shtml

        It wasn’t unheard of for the Yanks to bring in their best reliever (Sparky or Goose) in the 4th inning.

        But some time during the 80s the orthodoxy changed. The New Testament adopted by flock only uses the best reliever to close. And like most religions, there was never any scientific explanation for the change.

        • Goose always pitched multiple innings though. It really wasn’t a case of using the best relievers in the highest leverage sitaution, it was more “bring in my closer when it’s a save situation in the 7th inning” wasn’t it?

    • BigBlueAL says:

      This has always been the reason Ive never been a big Girardi fan and have come across here at times as a Girardi hater.

      All I heard when the Yankees hired him as their manager was about how they finally will have a great in-game manager and a new-school/modern manager who will use all these stats and stuff to make the best moves possible.

      There are still a bunch of manager worse than Girardi and Ive come to respect Girardi a bit and understand that you can do alot worse than having him as your manager. But Im still really disappointed in the type of manager he is due to the expectations of him when he was hired.

  7. Jenny says:

    Youk looks gritty in the photo

  8. That photo of Youk totally reminds me of an old promotional poster for a seaside town near where I grew up in Lincolnshire, UK.

  9. Meat Loaf says:

    CC’s last two starts prove to me that he is easily one of the top 5 pitchers in baseball. Even with OK stuff he still limits the scoring. I don’t know what other pitchers can realistically do that regularly. I’m not saying that pitching like crap is okay, but in two consecutive starts with a lack of command he still kept his team in the game.

  10. bexy on another computer says:

    the Yankees have won one April series in Fenway in the last 35 years, and it was last year. That is kind of insane.

  11. Jenny says:

    I hate to see people blame Girardi for this loss. There are times to dump on Girardi, but tonight.

    This is one of those games when the other side had better pitching. I mean is it Girardi’s fault the team only got 2 hits?

    • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan says:

      Yeah, I saw some Girardi blaming last night. I don’t understand how this loss could possibly be blamed on Girardi.

  12. Jerome S. says:

    Last year:
    “ZOMG Brett Gardner’s a tank!”
    Now:
    “Get this utility player out of the lineup”.

    -___________-

    • Riddering says:

      Nine games is all we need to know that Gardner is a shame to the Yankees’ lineup.

    • dave says:

      AMEN Jerome. This little leaguer is exactly that! All the know it alls on this site said I was crazy when I said he would hit in the .230′s this year.

      You make him hit the ball and this is what you get. He does not have the offensive ability to be an everyday player.

      He is a great pinch runner and defensive replacement. THAT IS IT and anyone who thinks different is just plain blind or ignorant.

      • pat says:

        So what happened last year? All luck?

      • Pat D says:

        First of all, I think your sarcasm detector needs some fine-tuning.

        Secondly, I said towards the end of the year last year that I wasn’t a full believer in Gardner because he would have to prove that his success last year was not a fluke.

        So far, he has not done that. But guess what else? IT’S BEEN 9 STINKING GAMES!! I’m not giving up on him yet.

  13. Slappy White says:

    love the pic of that jackass sliding while the ball was still in the outfield

  14. Monteroisdinero says:

    Biggest concerns are Hughes and Jeter.

    Jeter is a singles hitter now and he can’t catch up to the fastball and can no longer drive the ball. He needs to guess better I guess.

    Gardner having no power? He doesn’t need to. I think he will get better but I have little hope for jeter and am ready for Nunez to play 1-2x a week.

  15. Mike says:

    Look we need to face facts. Jeter is fading. We just have to be patient and ride it out for another 3 years.

    I don’t know about you guys. But without Arod in the lineup. I just had a bad feeling… Arod is the muscle in that lineup..

    but tip of the cap to Beckett he pitched a great game. Lets forget it. In the grand scheme of things the sox only picked up one game on us.. Time to move on to Baltimore

  16. Monteroisdinero says:

    Hopefully Phil has Rothschild have figured out something to get the velocity up. They are working on his lower body mechanics and apparently had a good bullpen yesterday. Perhaps if he drives with his legs a bit more and is not so straight up at his release point he can find the extra 3-4 mph he needs.

    Hughes said he is completely healthy.

    • Klemy says:

      I hope that’s true, because he’s been painful to watch so far. If he can bring the velocity back up, there is no reason not to think he’ll do well.

  17. Riddering says:

    Last night’s game was less fun than a WASP baby shower but it was just one game. The only things that concern me so far this season are Jeter’s production and Hughes’ velocity. The rotation as we have seen it, outside of Hughes, has been solid. The lineup and bench are exciting to watch.

  18. Josh S. says:

    Sucks to say, but watching Jeter right now is painful. Sure it’s only been 9 games, but I’m just not optiministic at all that he can turn it around. He’s really a liability out there. I’m sure he’ll come up with a few big hits this season, and he’ll hit that 3,000 milestone probably sometime in June/July. But, really, it’s just sad to see how diminished his skills are. His hits are just lousy ground balls that are finding holes – he’s not hitting anything hard. I’d love to be wrong and see him turn it around, but he’s not someone I want to see hitting at the top of the lineup anymore. I guess we’ll see what happens.

  19. king of fruitless hypotheticals says:

    Alternate caption:

    Youk performs in ‘Glee: The Black Swan Years.’

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