Game 24 – Red Sox
Red Sox 7, Yankees 4
It’s Yankee Fan’s turn to curse the baseball fates. One day after Kei Igawa limited the Sox to 2 hits in 6 innings of emergency relief, the Sox’ stopgap starter bested the Yanks’ putative ace yesterday in the Bronx. Other than one bizarre three-batter mini-stroke, Julian Tavarez fairly well owned the Yankee lineup in his 5+ innings. Alex Cora homered and tripled as the Sox roughed up C.M. Wang, and Mike Lowell managed to catch and throw several baseballs without endangering himself and others.
The Sox bullpen took over after Tavarez left in the 6th, allowing only one run in 4 innings. Hideki Okajima continues to be extremely impressive against both right and left-handed opponents, getting out of a little jam in the 6th by whiffing Jason Giambi, and then striking out switch-hitter Jorge Posada to open the 7th. All told, Okajima struck out 4 in 2 impressive innings of work to lower his ERA to 0.71. Domo arigato, indeed. Mike Timlin gave up a homer to Derek Jeter to get my nerves jangling, and then gave up a single to Bobby Abreu to bring Alex Rodriguez to the plate as the tying run. I’d been Tivoing (I’m new to this, having just got the Tivo last week – is Tivoing a word?) the game on and off, and was sorely, sorely tempted to just fast forward through the A-Rod at-bat with my hands over my eyes. Timlin induced the suddenly mortal Rodriguez to hit an easy grounder to Lowell (and thank God it was easy) to trigger the 5-4-3 twin killing and end most of the suspense. I’m happy to know that the final at-bat of A-Rod’s almost-immortal April was a rally-killing double play.
Jonathan Papelbon “struggled” slightly, allowing a leadoff double to Jason Giambi before retiring the next three batters with ease to seal the series victory for the good guys. Papelbon’s now pitched 9 1/3 innings this season, allowing 2 hits and striking out 15. That smell you’re picking up is the candle I’ve lit in supplication to the baseball gods for a full season of good health for Paps and his right shoulder.
Manny and Papi homered in the same game for the first time this season, both going deep to right to bookend the Sox’ scoring. Manny’s 2-run blast in the top of the 8th put the Sox up 4 runs and gave me and the rest of the idiot Nation some sense of calm. Old habits die hard, even against a momentarily crippled Yankee squadron. I remember vividly, though, that the Yankees started 10-15 two years ago, and that team still won the division. Let’s save the grave dancing for a few months, shall we.
I don’t know why we at MLC keep doing things that reveal our ignorance, but I conducted a little thought experiment yesterday after Papi’s homer in the top of the 1st gave the Sox an early lead. “They haven’t done much in the early innings this season”, myself said to myself. Later, mysameself went online to validate that anecdotal musing. As it turns out (painfully, once again, to my sense of self-worth), the Sox are 4th in the majors and 2nd in the AL in first-inning runs, with 21. Where do we find people this dumb?
Off day today before the A’s come to town. In an unusual departure from Sox form, the pitching staff doesn’t really need it, but the regulars sure could. Everybody from Coco Crisp to J.D. Drew to Lowell seems a bit worn down. And I can use my new magic Tivo machine to catch up on back episodes of The Office. Win-win Monday in my house.