Coming into this weekend’s series, I was hoping for at least a split even though just one win would have guaranteed that the Yanks remained in first place come Monday. After Thursday’s offensive orgy and Friday’s epic 2-0 marathon win, the Yanks took care of business in a much more professional manner in Saturday’s matinee.
It all started where it should, with the guy on the mound. CC Sabathia came out shoving mid-to-high 90′s heat backed by a knockout slider and a changeup that appeared to stop in midair. Working on a perfect game into the fifth and no-hitter into the sixth, Sabathia didn’t run into any real trouble until the seventh, when Victor Martinez walked and Kevin Youkilis singled to open the inning. A strikeout by corpse of David Ortiz and a GIDP later, the threat was neutralized. Sabathia was everything the Yanks could have hoped for yesterday, striking out nine against two hits, firing 123 pitches to record the first 23 outs of the game. He was simply awesome.
The Yanks’ bats looked predictably flat following the 15-inning affair that ended just 15 hours prior to first pitch, but they gave Sabathia all the cushion he would need. Mark Teixeira singled in Melky Cabrera in the third for a quick 1-0 lead, then Jose Molina tacked on an insurance run with a sixth inning sac fly. A third run came in when Nick Swisher looked too happy taking a bases loaded walk to pass the baton in seventh, and the Cap’n capped everything off with a two run jack in the eighth. It traveled the bare minimum to right, clanking off the very bottom of the foul pole.
Think of this series as a market correction. The Red Sox weren’t going to beat the Yankees all 18 times they played this year, it just wasn’t going to happen. It’s been a long, long time since we could say the Yanks have won back to back games against Boston because of their pitching, but that’s exactly what happened. The Sawx have managed just eight hits over their last 24 innings, none for extra bases, and just four by people not named Jacoby Ellsbury. It all adds up to a 5.5 game lead in the division with eight weeks to go.
The Series wraps up tomorrow and will be a smashing success regardless of what happens. Andy Pettitte takes on Jon Lester in ESPN’s Sunday Night Game. Not even Joe Morgan can ruin what went down over the last three days.
Triple-A Scranton (4-3 loss to Lehigh Valley)
Kevin Russo: 0 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Reegie Corona: 0 for 3, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Austin Jackson: 3 for 5, 1 3B – picked off first … first three hit game since July 11th
Shelley Duncan: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K – threw a runner out at the plate from RF
Juan Miranda & Yurendell DeCaster: both 1 for 5 – Miranda doubled, drove in a run & K’ed twice … DeCaster scored a run & K’ed
John Rodriguez: 1 for 3, 1 BB, 1 K
Colin Curtis: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 K
Chris Stewart: 2 for 3, 1 BB
The Ghost of Kei Igawa: 6 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 6-10 GB/FB – 62 of 94 pitches were strikes (66%) … allowed a pair of homers, running his season total up to 19 in 121 IP (1.41 HR/9)
Edwar Ramirez: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 5-0 GB/FB – 16 of 22 pitches were strikes (72.7%)
Well, that was a satisfying win, wouldn’t you say? How about CC Sabathia, I hear he can’t pitch in big games.
Anyway, here’s an open thread for everyone to chill out and relax in on a Saturday evening. The Cubs and Rockies are on MLB Network at 8pm, and the Mets will try to avoid another K-Rod blown save in San Diego starting at 10pm tonight. Talk about whatever your heart desires here, just be nice.
Swish keeps passing that damn baton.
I don’t understand … where have all the Sox trolls gone?
In the span of six days, the Yankees won games in which Mark Buehrle, Roy Halladay, and Josh Beckett started for the opposition. That’s pretty good for a team scrutinized for beating up on mediocre competition and folding against stronger opponents (not that it really matters). They enter today’s game with plenty going for them: winners of five straight, holders of the best record in baseball, and to top it off are 4.5 games up in the AL East.
The pitching matchup today favors the Yankees as well. They’ll send out CC Sabathia, working on an extra day’s rest after a tough start in Chicago. It started off dicey, but CC calmed down and mowed down the Sox in the middle innings, holding down the fort so the Yankees offense could do their thing. He’ll have a chance at redemption against the Red Sox, who got to him in the eighth after he tossed seven brilliant innings last time around. If he pitches like he did after the third last week, the Yanks will be sitting pretty.
Taking the bump for the Sox is Clay Buchholz, who was recalled from AAA after the All-Star Break. He’s had some struggles in the early goings, hitting 5.2 IP twice and 4 IP in his other two starts. In fact, he hasn’t pitched six innings since August 4, 2008. That’s not good news for the Sox, who have used their bullpen a lot over the past four days. They need length out of Buchholz so they don’t have to dig into the pen again and hurt the team for tomorrow’s series finale.
Despite Buchholz’s relative ineffectiveness in 2009, you can’t count him out for this game. It’s the same deal as Scott Kazmir in the middle game of the Tampa series. He’d been struggling as well, but we know he’s not a bad pitcher. Ditto Buchholz. He’s not a bad pitcher by any stretch, and he knows how important this game is for his team. Lose it and they guarantee losing at least three out of four, with the chance for a sweep tomorrow night. It’s probably the most important start of his young career, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him step up and force a second straight pitcher’s duel.
The Sox are making the smart move today, trying to get their best offense into the mix. Youkilis is again in left, leaving room for Lowell at third, Kotchman at first, and Martinez behind the dish. That’s certainly better than any permutation with Varitek and Reddick in the lineup (though I do think Reddick can provide some pop, it’s better to sit him against CC). Both teams have a pitcher batting ninth, the Yanks with Molina and the Sox with Nick Green. All in all, it looks like the Yankees have the advantage with the lineup and with the pitchers.
And on the mound, number fifty-two, Carsten Charles Sabathia.
It is generally against my religion to miss any part of a Yankee/Red Sox game in mid-August. Yet, as 5 p.m. rolled around yesterday afternoon and I hadn’t slept in anything more comfortable than a coach seat on an airplane since Wednesday night in Jerusalem, I couldn’t keep my eyes open.
After a nap of nearly 4.5 hours, I woke up to check the score and saw a pitcher’s duel. The top of the seventh inning rolled around, and A.J. Burnett hadn’t allowed a hit since Jacoby Ellsbury singled to start the game. Exhausted and fighting a cold, I dragged myself out of bed to plop myself down on the couch. I assumed that some team would plate a run before too long, and I would be able to get back to bed.
Three hours later, I was still waiting.
As the game dragged on, it was a tense affair. Burnett left to a standing ovation in the 8th with the potential go-ahead run on base. Despite a close call on the Ellsbury stolen base, Phil Hughes retired Dustin Pedroia to keep the game scoreless.
The innings continued to tick by. One-two-three went the Yanks in the 8th. Down went the Sox in the 9th as Mariano Rivera continued this run through the AL. With the winning run on third in the 9th, Jorge Posada struck out swinging against Daniel Bard. “Free baseball,” Michael Kay said. Little did he realize just how much free baseball we would get.
The 10th, 11th and 12th innings belonged to Al Aceves. He allowed a walk and a single with two outs in the 10th but would retire the next seven Red Sox — three by the K — to keep the game moving. The Sox’s flame throwers fared just as well. Daniel Bard gave way to Ramon Ramirez gave way to Jonathan Papelbon gave way to Manny Delcarmen gave way to Takashi Saito.
In the 13th and 14th, I held my breath. It was nearing midnight, and I could barely keep my eyes open. The Yanks, though, could not lose this game. I had already invested far too much of what remaining energy I had left into watching it. After a 1-2-3 13th, Bruney ran into a spot of trouble in the 14th. But with two on, Jason Varitek made an out for the 6th time to give the Yanks a shot.
Here, the tide began to turn. Prior to the game, the Red Sox had DFA’d both Billy Traber and John Smoltz, Thursday’s sacrificial lambs, and Junichi Tawaza had been called up. Tawaza made headlines this winter when, as an amateur, he opted to sign with the Sox instead of any Japanese team. His Big League debut would be less than successful.
In the 14th, every Yankee hit Tazawa hard. Hideki Matsui blasted a liner into center that hung up just long enough for Ellsbury to snare it. Posada and Robinson Cano lined back to back singles, and Eric Hinske nearly won the game. In a spot of bad luck, J.D. Drew galloped into the right field corner, stuck out his glove and just barely snared the ball. It was the defensive play of the game and a stellar catch. The next hitter — Melky Cabrera — lined a ball down the right field line that went foul by a matter of inches. Bad luck again.
In the 15th, Phil Coke set down the anemic Red Sox in order, and I was a half-inning away from turning in. It was nearing 12:40, and my body was shutting down. I was so tired that, after Jeter singled to start the inning, I couldn’t get myself worked up over Johnny Damon‘s pathetic and misguided bunt attempt. Mark Teixeira struck out.
It was do-or-die for me and this game. Either A-Rod would win it or I would go to bed. Three minutes later, I was fast asleep with a grin on my face, and the Yanks had a 4.5 game lead in their pocket.
Via MLBTR, Robbie Cano, Brian Bruney, Mark Melancon, and David Robertson all cleared waivers yesterday, so they could now be traded to any team. AJ Burnett, Melky Cabrera, Al Aceves, Phil Coke, Sergio Mitre, Edwar Ramirez and Shelley Duncan represent the second group of players placed on waivers when they hit the wire yesterday. If anyone is claimed, the Yanks could do one of three things: a) pull him back, b) let the claiming team have the player and his entire contract, or c) negotiate a trade with the claiming team.
In case you missed it, the White Sox have apparently put a claim in on Alex Rios. They Jays have the opportunity to unload the $60M or so left on Rios’ deal by just giving him to Chicago, or they could work out a trade to launch a full blown rebuild. If nothing comes of it, they can just take him back like nothing ever happened.
Almost every player on every team’s 40-man roster will be placed on waivers this month. Teams will use this as an opportunity to gauge interest in their players, and create some flexibility for potential moves later in the month. For example, say the Yanks and Jays get close on a Roy Halladay deal in a few weeks, Melancon wouldn’t have to be placed through waivers again to be included in the deal. It’s just procedural, don’t get all hung up who gets put on waivers and who doesn’t. · (70) ·