Monday, April 19, 2004

Games 9-12 - Red Sox
Holy Shit!

Red Sox 6, New York Yankees 2
Red Sox 5, Yankees 1
Yankees 7, Red Sox 3
Red Sox 5, Yankees 4
Record: 7-4

You see the post immediately below this one? The one about the miserable 6-9 slots in the Sox order, and about how a split was going to be nice? Whoever wrote that is an imbecile. A very pleased imbecile, but an imbecile nonetheless. Throw out Crespo's 0-for-4, and those scrubeenies went 5-12 with 3 RBI and 2 runs scored, including both the game-winning run and RBI when David McCarty scored on Gabe Kapler's two-out single in the bottom of the 8th. Bronson Arroyo shook off some early shakiness to post 6 innings and keep the Sox in the game, and his teammates scrapped back from a 4-1 deficit, scoring single runs in each of their last 4 turns at the plate to catch and pass the Yankees.

It bears repeating that games in April don't mean that much, but I'd rather be the Red Sox today than the Yankees. New York came to town with every advantage; better pitching matchups, a healthier lineup, and a more-rested bullpen. The Sox - without their All-Star shortstop, starting rightfielder, and No. 5 starter - took 3 of 4 games and looked like the more complete team in doing it. The Yankees will certainly hit better than they did in this series (though that can't take away the fact that Alex Rodriguez' first series on the big stage yielded as many errors as it did hits), but they've got questions in their starting rotation, and their bullpen was outpitched by that of the Sox.

The baseball season is a long slog, and I'm certain that this Yankee ballclub will remain a force over the long haul - they've just got too much talent. I'm equally certain, though - for the first time I can remember - that this Sox team will be right there with them. I cannot overstate my level of confidence in the Sox pitching staff - once today's game was tied, I was dead sure that the Sox would win, because I thought they had the advantage once the game got to the bullpens. And I was right.

This was a game, and a series that the Yankees should have won. In the immediate past, they would have won it, and easily. In the embryonic stages of 2004, the Sox are getting the bounces, and making the plays. Color me happy.

Several things stand out from this 4-game set, in no particular order:

1. Mike Mussina is toast.
2. I'm really enjoying the Mark Bellhorn era.
3. Heard Curt Schilling on the radio after Saturday's game, happy about the win but angry with himself for only going 6 1/3 innings. Love this guy's game, his sense of accountability, and his guts.
4. Alan Embree flat out blew Hideki Matsui away with the bases loaded on Friday night. Three straight fastballs killed a potentially back-breaking rally and added to my belief in this bullpen.
5. Manny is hammering the ball - even his outs today were smoked. This could be a mammoth season for the flaky one.
6. A-Rod has quieted the critics who say that he should be playing shortstop instead of Jeter in a most creative manner.
7. The Sox, and Derek Lowe, get a pass from me for the lone loss in the series. Lowe was rusty, the Sox were flat, and even so, Mark Malaska and Phil Seibel were a real bright spot - role players filling their role perfectly.
8. So, Kevin Brown - these guys are a little tougher than the Devil Rays, no?
9. Cesar Crespo is Spanish for "Now batting for your Pawtucket Red Sox".
10. I hope Keith Foulke can pitch as many innings as it appears Terry Francona will ask him to.
11. Is that last sentence even in English? Forget it, he's rolling.

And finally, where is Whitney, and how did the Mets do this weekend?

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