Well, before I get to the Yankees-Red Sox recap, I’ve got to let my thoughts be heard on a few other things that happened yesterday around the MLB.
Most baseball fans know Chase Utley. The second baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies. He’s got that good defensive record, a strange power source from a second baseman, and a great mind for the game. Yeah, him. But he wasn’t playing in Sunday’s matchup between the Phils and Mets. Eric Bruntlett filled in for him and made his presence known in an unusual way. In a game that had so many unusual scenarios, Bruntlett made a play that only one other person has done before. But that was just the end of everything that happened yesterday.
The Phils scored six runs in the top of the first off of Oliver Perez. But Perez didn’t make it out of the first inning. He was facing Pedro Martinez, who was making his return to NY after being cut by the Mets this past off-season. Pedro had a 3-0 count and manager Jerry Manuel came out to pull Perez. An unusual happening. A pitcher getting pulled in the middle of an at bat. Strange.
Well, the Mets eventually got out of the inning. Then they had a little fun of their own. To lead off the bottom half of the inning, Angel Pagan hit a shot to the left center gap that sent Shane Victorino running to the wall. The ball got wedged under the wall and Victorino thought he could get away with calling it as a double. But the umps didn’t think it that way. The umps didn’t make the call and the left fielder picked it up and threw it in. This whole time, Pagan had been running the bases and wound up with an inside the park homer. The ball was wedged underneath the wall but it wasn’t so badly wedged that it would take some work to get it out and that it should have been a double. The umps made the right call. Strange.
Later in the game, Jeff Francoeur, the Mets’ right fielder, made a great sliding catch to rob Eric Bruntlett of all people of a base hit. At first the umps called Bruntlett safe as he went on to third as Francoeur was unaware of the call. Then the umps met and reversed the call after both Francoeur and Jerry Manuel argued the call. It was another crazy moment that was obviously a catch when the replay showed it. Strange.
Now, the biggest highlight of the game was Bruntlett’s play in the bottom of the ninth which ended the game. With runners on first and second, Jeff Francoeur (there seems to be a recurring theme of players being involved in multiple strange plays) stepped up to the plate. He hit a liner with a full count up the middle. With the runners in motion, Bruntlett had been moving to cover second base. The ball was hit right to him on a line. He snagged it, tagged second base, and tagged David Murphy who was on first at the start of the play. An unnasissted triple play to end the game, the first in the NL history, second in MLB history. Strange.
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OK so back to the Yankees-Red Sox game. Last night, the aces of the two clubs faced off in the rubber match of the series. It was set to be a great pitcher’s duel, as was Beckett’s and Burnett’s not to long ago. And it was a really good game. The Yankees opened up the game with two runs early. The first was on a Derek Jeter solo shot and the second on Hideki Matsui’s first shot of the night which was also a solo shot. The Yankees scored two more runs on the Red Sox in the third inning, neither on homers. Then, Robinson Cano homered in the fourth, and A-Rod homered in the fifth to drive in two more. Matsui hit the final Yankee homer in the eighth which was another solo shot. A home run barrage, as Yankees.com puts it, lit up the sky in Boston as the Yanks rolled to an 8-4 victory. Sweet Sweet Victory.
The Red Sox did score four runs but CC kept them at bay most of the night. The Yankees did jump on top early and that was a big advantage for them as the game went on. The Red Sox tied the score in the second but the Yankees went back ahead and never looked back. The Sox didn’t leave the yard once in the game, surprisingly. The lack of the long ball in a game dominated by the long ball is probably what did the Red Sox in.
CC finished the game with eight strikeouts as all his stuff was dominant. Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera were successful out of the ‘pen as they finished the game off. Beckett finished with five K’s on the night, not bad. He also gave up all five homers though. Not good.
So let’s take a look back at the series that was. Game One:
The Yankees score 20 runs against Brad Penny and the REd Sox. Another terrible outing for Penny who would later be pulled from the starting rotation to make room for Wakefield who is coming back soon. Another home run happy game sent many bombs flying through the Boston sky. The Red Sox had their fair share of runs too. They just weren’t able to make up for what the pitching let up. Too bad. They scored 11 runs.
The Red Sox stole the Yankees’ thunder for game two as they burst out with another 14 runs compared to the
Yankees’ Nick Swisher’s single run. Swish hit a solo shot to left to score the only run for the Yanks on the day. A very disappointing loss for the Yanks and a touche to the REd Sox was all that was in me for Saturday.
Then came game three which I just talked about. A very exciting series that was truly a back and forth one. Great to watch and I’m sure, as always, it was great to play in for both teams. No fights broke out which was good for the teams. I don’t think either could afford losing anyone right now, especially the Red Sox who are in the Wild Card race and don’t have that big of a lead anymore. It was a clean series that was fun to watch as a fan. Especially since the Yankees won.
There were clearly doubts about the Yankees’ offense’s ability to score runs during the Red Sox series. But man, maybe they were just saving it to make their cross town rivals look really bad… not to mention their ace. Yeah. The Yanks demolished the Mets in the Subway Series finale, 15-0. The series was split one game apiece but the Yanks broke that split with authority as they did everything right in the rout of the Mets.
AJ Burnett took the mound and man, was he STELLAR… for the most part. He went seven strong innings, giving up four hits and four walks. No runs. He shutout an injured, but still powerful Mets offense. His curve was filthy and no one could lay off it. Alex Cora struck out after going up 3-0 in the count. Burnett used the curve to strike him out as Cora chased. His fastball was also very good. Clocking in at 95-96, as usual, Burnett was just dominating Mets’ batters. He struck out Carlos Beltran on a low fastball that got Beltran fired up. Jerry Manuel came out to defend his player and got booted. It was an intense couple of minutes… just joking, it wasn’t really that intense. So Burnett was really good today… there you go.
The offense was also very good. I mean c’mon… the score was 15-0. Robby Cano and Hideki Matsui both hit monster shots for round trippers. Francisco Cervelli had a big game at the plate, as well as behind it. More on that later. Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon, Melky Cabrera. They also had big games. Mark Teixeira went 1-4 on the game and wasn’t really that much of a factor. Same with A-Rod, who went 0-4. But that’s alright since everyone else contributed a lot. He was fine.
So, Francisco Cervelli. How ’bout this kid. He is batting under .200 when he is called up to the Majors. But the Yanks didn’t bring him up for his bat. They did so for his play behind the plate. Both behind the plate and at the plate, Cervelli showed that he was ready to play. He had a great offensive game and really controlled the game behind the plate. In the top of the third, the Mets threatened with the bases loaded, but Cervelli guided Burnett, a veteran, through the next three at-bats and got three straight outs. He was such a big presence behind the plate that I am so glad we have. During an Alex Cora at-bat, Cora was up 3-0, as mentioned before. Cervelli got up, very wide, and gave Burnett a big target for his fastball. He nailed it. This just showed me that Cervelli is indeed a professional. He was STELLAR.
So everything was going extremely well for the Yankees today. The pitching was STELLAR, the offesne definitely did their job in scoring some runs, and the DEFENSE played extremely well as well. Johnny Damon made a nice running catch in the outfield. The infield played good D and didn’t allow anything into the outfield on the ground. And definitely the defensive highlight of the game was on a ground ball up the middle by Reed. Ramiro Pena, fresh off the bench, got to the ball, shoveled it to Robinson Cano at second and Cano made the bare handed grab and threw it to first to complete the double play. As this happened I was thinking, “that’s on top plays tomorrow.” Derek Jeter also made a nice double play in the game. too. Cano got a ground ball and threw it to Jeter who made a perfect leap over the hard slide of Gary Sheffield and made the throw to first. It was another nice defensive play that doesn’t always get recognized in the box scores. Well, it gets recognized here.
It was great. I loved to watch them play so perfectly. As I write this, the Phils-Red Sox game is headed to the ninth and the Phils are up 11-5. This is good for us because if the Phils hang on, we’ll get another game back in the AL East standings.
Great win guys!
Go Yanks… Go Phils