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.
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.