A-Rod drove in two in the ninth with a home run, which was an absolute bomb by the way, to tie the game and sent it into extras. In the eleventh, Mark Teixeira hit a “wall scraper” to win the game down the left field line. Wow! What an exciting game but there is plenty more about this game that made it spectacular.
AJ Burnett and Nick Blackburn both threw outstanding games; Burnett went 6 innings and Blackburn went 5.2 each giving up a run. Burnett gave up five walks which could’ve led to some pretty bad happenings for the Yanks but he got out of it like both teams did over the course of the game. Blackburn gave up three hits and walked two while striking out three. Overall, the starters threw a pitchers duel that was exciting to watch. They always are, waiting to see who makes the first mistake that will cost them the game.
When Joba Chamberlain and Phil Coke combined to throw a perfect seventh inning I thought the Yanks were gonna cruise to another win with the way the bullpen was pitching. Yeah right! Phil Hughes came in to pitch the eighth and that is where everything went wrong. He was chased after only getting two outs after he gave up two hits and a walk which led to two runs. It was a tough performance from Hughes and the Twins took the lead going into the final inning.
This is where I picked up the game on the radio on my way home from the movies with some friends. I figured out that the Yanks were down 3-1. It was killing me how the Yankees might end up losing to the Twins. It was terrible. But then it all happened. Mariano Rivera finished the eighth and got out of the ninth with no more damage. This was the time for the Yankees to hit there stride. And they did. Teixeira got on base and Alex Rodriguez brought him home with a bomb to the bullpen. The game was tied and we almost won it in the ninth too. Swish almost hit one but it was a few steps short of the wall.
In extras, it was pretty close with each team making their fair share of mistakes, pitching and fielding. In general, the pitching only made a few mistakes to let guys get hits but the biggest one was when the Twins’ Joe Nathan threw the ball to second to try and pick off Brett Gardner and he threw it into the outfield. Gardner shimmied over to third and was immediatley the number one priority for the Twins’ defense. But Gardner made a mistake too. On a line drive to the middle of the infield, Gardner took off towards home. But he didn’t realize it was hit right at Orlando Cabrera and Gardner was doubled off at third. That killed me.
The Yanks were unable to capitalize in the tenth but when Mark Teixeira came up in the eleventh, he came threw and hit a bullet down the the left field line that hit the top of the wall and bounced into the stands for the homer. The game was finally over and the Yankees won again. Just like I predicted they would. It was a great game that was not only going have every one on the edge of their seats, but it was key to the outcome of this series. Now the Yankees don’t necessarily have to win on the road they can have the comfort of playing another game at home if they are unable to win in Minnesota, which won’t be an easy task.
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.
C’mon. You can’t not be thinking sweep right now. The Yankees have totally dominated this series, giving the Red Sox nothing. Nothing at all. The pitching has been STELLAR, the offense has been great, the bullpen (probably the biggest reason we lost so many games to the Sox earlier in the season) has been good as well, and the momentum of the Yankees has left the Red Sox in the dirt. As I said a few days ago, I don’t think the Yankees know how to lose.
CC started the game going the first half of the game without giving up a hit. Obviously everyone was thinking about the possibility of a no-no and, well… who couldn’t? CC ended up only giving up two hits, and two walks in his 7.2 innings of work. He racked up nine K’s, excellent work. He had a nasty slider that got a few guys out and made them look really foolish. The bullpen kept up the consistency that was far from anywhere near New York at the beginning of the season and Phil Hughes and Nate Robertson combined to go the rest of the game only giving up two hits and no walks (both hits credited to Robertson).
Such a sight to see. The Yankees beating up on the Red Sox. Just like it ought to be. Well, to all you Red Sox fans out there. Here’s something positive that you can take out of all this. You’re only 5.5 games out of first. At least you can say that you are in better position than the Orioles to make a run. The O’s are 22.5 games back. That’s a pretty good thing, right?
The offense last night was clearly good enough to get past the Red Sox, considering CC pitched his heart out. Well, in pretty much any other game, five runs is a good afternoon for a team that has their pitchers pitch relatively well. Derek Jeter helped out that cause late in the game with a two run homer to right. Of course it would be to right. Where else does anyone hit a home run to in Yankee Stadium. Mark Teixeira went 1-3 with an RBI and two walks. Robby Cano went 3-4 and scored a run. Jose Molina, filling in for Jorge Posada, went 1-2 with an RBI, a run scored, and a walk. The offense was definitely there yesterday and it was great to see another butt-kicking of the Red Sox handed out by the Yankees.
Tonight, the final game in the series has everyone thinking sweep. Right now, the way the series has gone so far, it looks like a no brainer. The Yankees have everything going right. The pitching, the offense, the defense. Everything is running smoothly. Tonight, Andy Pettitte and Jon Lester go at it and it’s a pretty good matchup. Both guys are second of the rotation guys. Both have good stuff and could easily be the top man in any rotation. They have their ups and downs. They will definitely put on a show but I still have my money on the Yankees sweeping the Sox. I said earlier before this series started that I thought the Yankees would win three out of four. But now I am totally thinking sweep.
Man, the Yankees can’t seem to pull out a win against either the Red Sox or the Angels. It’s bad enough that we were just swept by the Halos but now we’re three games out of first behind the Red Sox who are the second team we have been unable to figure out for the first half of the season. Yesterday, we sent CC to the mound in hope of stopping the sweep, but I guess that didn’t go over very well with the Angels because they still beat us. The final score was 5-4 and the Yankees unfortunately ended the first half of the season on a sour note. A sweep, not my idea of a good end to the first half.
As far as the Yankees go, they didn’t play all that bad. CC pitched all right going 6.2 innings giving up nine hits and three walks. He gave up all five runs that the Angels would get in the game. When he was relieved in the seventh, Phil Hughes came out from the ‘pen and continued his dominance from the ‘pen. He went the remainder of the game giving up two walks and striking out one. A STELLAR performance from Mr. Hughes.
The offense played pretty well too. Here are my top performers for the day:
Derek Jeter- 2-5, 1 RBI
Melky Cabrera- 2-3, 2 Runs, 1 RBI
Jorge Posada- 1-1, 2 RBI
Hideki Matsui- 0-1, 1 Run, 3 Walks
Phil Hughes- 1.1 IP, 1 K, 0 Runs Allowed
So, the All Star break is here and the Yankees are second in the AL East, three behind the Boston Red Sox. We’ve got some guys representing the Bombers in St. Louis for the game and I feel that the second half of the season is going to be a good one.
Now onto other thoughts running through my brain right now…
The Home Run Derby is tonight and I have a feeling it is going to be a good one. In the NL, there are a quartet of first base sluggers that are definitely give us a good show.
In the AL, there are a few guys that I don’t feel will last very long, not mentioning any names… Brandon Inge… cough cough.
Here are the rest of the AL contestants.
Albert Pujols will dominate the general competition sending balls into the stands left and right. Adrian Gonzalez will be the Josh Hamilton of 2009. He is the one guy that I don’t think is getting a lot of credit for being here. He is going to have a great derby. Fielder and Howard will do well in general but I don’t know if they will make it to the second round. Brandon Inge is out after the first round. Nelson Cruz will make a run as will Carlos Pena. I think Joe Mauer will have a good derby despite not being considered as much of a power hitter as the rest of the competitors (not including Brandon Inge). Mauer will make it to the second round but probably not much further.
After first round, guys still in it:
Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez, Ryan Howard, Joe Mauer
Gonzalez will use his high home run count from the first round to stay ahead of the pack and get into the finals. Pujols will continue to hit a ton of bombs. Mauer and Howard will fall despite having another round of good numbers. They won’t catch up to Gonzalez and Pujols.
After second round, guys still in it:
Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez
It could go either way and I think either guy will have a great chance at putting on a show and getting the victory. Personally, I would like to see Adrian Gonzalez win it because I think it would be nice to see him get credit for being the big power hitter that he is. He can go the other way better than any of the other competitors and that is why he is my favorite to win the event.
Overall, the Home Run Derby is an event for the fans and it is usually greatly enjoyed. I am looking foward to seeing this one. It’ll be a great time.
The Yankees-Red Sox series is pretty much the only thing on my mind among everything else baseball. Obviously it is because I am a Yankee fan and we are in the middle of a season series with our rivals. It’s great. I’m sure every other Yankee fan blogger out there is talking about the same things I am. It’s just how things go. If your team is in a rivalry series, you are going to write about it. So here we go.
Chien Ming Wang did exactly what I assumed he would do when he took the bump last night. He sucked. He was the second Yankee pitcher in a row to be chased before the third inning. Tuesday night, it was AJ, and last night, Wang was chased as well. In Wang’s 2.2 innings pitched, he gave up four runs on six hits and three walks. He gave up one homer to Mike Lowell. Bottom line… he was aweful.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox sent Tim Wakefield to the mound, who has been having a very good season. At 7-3 before the game, he showed how good of a season he has been having. He went 6 innings only giving up 8 hits, three runs, and had two strikeouts. I wish those were the kind of stats we could have from the Yanks pitching. But yeah right. Wang was terrible.
As far as the offense goes, they were fine. They did score last night which made me happy. They only scored five runs so they didn’t do that great. They are definitely capable of more than that. The pitching is what ruined it for us. They were unable to hold the Red Sox offense to a few runs or fewer. They gave up too many early runs and we were out of it by the time we made our comeback. We only lost by one run but hey… you can’t always expect a comeback from the offense. It’s a two way road. The offense does their job and the pitching staff does their job. That’s how it rolls.
We had our big offensive performers last night as did the Red Sox. For us it was obviously Mark Teixeira… when has it not in the recent past. He went 4-5 with a homer and two runs. Johnny Damon hit a homer as his only hit on the night, but at least that’s something. Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui also had good nights at the plate. Matsui went 2-3 with a run scored and Posada went 2-5 with run scored and an RBI. Robby Cano also pitched in with a RBI despite going hitless for the game.
The pitching… well they were so bad I’m not going to talk about them any more. Except Phil Coke and Alfredo Aceves. Kudos to you guys. But Wang and Hughes. You guys sucked. A thumbs down from Simon for you guys.
So I’m really disappointed about how we haven’t been able to get a win against the Red Sox yet this season. If we could get one win, that would STELLAR. So far, it hasn’t looked good so I am not expecting anything good from the Yanks in game three of the series. We do have CC going to the mound for us. He is going against Brad Penny who hasn’t been very consistent this season. He has been alright but maybe we can get something from him. But again, I’m not expecting anything good today.
So we start up interleague action again after the series with the Red Sox. We head back home to host our cross town National League rivals. The Mets. They are having a decent season so far and can’t be underestimated. Johan Santana has been lights out this season. Too bad he hasn’t gotten a ton of run support. But he’s great. We play him and the Mets for three. Then we have a day off before facing the Nats at home for three. We go right into a three game series with the Marlins after the Nats’ series. Then we have the Braves for three after a day off following the Marlins series. We finish everything off against the Mets again in Citi Field. So that’s the near future. Maybe we can get some wins against our interleague opponents because we obviously can’t get any against the stupid Red Sox.
Go Yanks. Maybe we’ll get a win. Possibly. Actually, probably not. I’m being really pessimistic right now aren’t I.