Red Sox 6 Yankees 4: Deflating

Something in me said not to be surprised by an underwhelming series with Boston, and that has already come to fruition. Yesterday afternoon, the Yankees celebrated the Fourth of July with another loss, a 6-4 decision in which, again, the Yankees score early then fizzle most of the rest of the game. Rasner was hurt by some bad luck and a bad pitch to Lowell, a grooved fastball belt-high for a three-run homer in the fifth that gave Boston the lead for good. With Tampa winning again, the Yankees are now nine back in the East. They’re clearly in dire straits now. There’s no denying it.

The Yanks scored three off Beckett in the first after Rasner escaped a bases-loaded, one out jam in the top half. JD doubled, Jeter flew out to right, Abreu walked, A-Rod doubled to left to score JD and Abreu, and took third on the throw, and scored on Giambi’s sac fly. Nice run manufacturing; too bad it didn’t happen much thereafter.

Boston tied it in the third when Ellsbury and Pedroia led off with singles, Drew’s 3U moved the runners to second and third, Ramirez got a four-pitch pass, Lowell’s sac fly scored Ellsbury, 3-1. Youkilis then smacked a 3-2 fastball to left that JD tracked to the wall and appeared to catch it as he hit the wall, but the ball squirted out of his glove and sat–literally sat for a couple seconds–atop the wall before dropping to the ground to meet the already descended JD. The triple scored both runners to tie the game, and JD exited with pain in his shoulder and neck. The X-Rays were negative, and he will have an MRI done likely today. Lowell’s three-run blast in the fifth made it 6-3. Lowell continues to slay the Yanks, and they continue to pitch poorly to him. Rasner wasn’t good, surrendering all six Boston runs on 10 hits, with three walks and two K’s in 5 innings, thowing over 100 pitches through five innings for the second straight start. Other than Veras allowing two hits in the seventh, the bullpen was again solid, pitching four scoreless in an unrequited attempt to hold it until the Yanks came back.

They didn’t. They made nothing out of Jeter’s fifth-inning single, went 1-2-3 in the sixth, and really blew a golden opportunity to whittle away at Boston’s lead in the seventh. Melky singled, Molina walked, Gardner’s force got Molina at second, Jeter came back from 1-2 to walk and load the bases, but Abreu popped out to Youkilis, and A-Rod grounded into a weak force to end the threat. Horrible situational hitting yet again. The Yankees saw Cano ground into an inning-ending double play on the first pitch to end the eighth, part of his worthless 0-4 day at the plate. The Yankees scored a run that shouldn’t have been in the ninth, when Jeter doubled to center on a ball that Crisp clearly caught–terrible call by third-base ump Wally Bell, 6-4 but no more.

Jeter was 2-4 with his 36th RBI to raise his average to .282. A-Rod was 2-4 with 2 RBIs, giving him 49 on the year, and is batting .319. Giambi’s sac fly RBI was his 53rd. But wasted opportunities again played a big part in the loss with the Yankees stranding eight, five in scoring position. Abreu is down to .277 and has been much too streaky. The bottom of the lineup was terrible, with the #6-9 hitters going 1-13. While Rasner wasn’t good and more and more is veering toward his norm statistically and in performance, I don’t pin this loss on him nearly as much as on the offense. The Yanks let Beckett get into a groove after a rough first, and failed to cash in on numerous opportunities.

I’m sticking with this team as I always do, and won’t rule out another dramatic second-half comeback. But will that actually happen? I’m doubtful. More and more, this team reminds me of the 1994 Buffalo Bills, a great team that came within one game of NFL immortality four straight years, won none of them, should have re-tooled in 1994 but stuck with most of the same aging but good veterans, literally alternated wins and losses for most of the year in consistently inconsistent fashion, finished out of the playoffs, and had to rebuild drastically in a more successful 1995. Maybe the 2008 Yankees will again play their minds out from an admixture of fear and anger. Maybe this team will steamroll through the remainder of the year, win most of their division games, click offensively, get better starting pitching, get healthy, and right the ship at the right time.

But isn’t that yet again a lot to have happen and bank on when it has happened for only one prolonged stretch immediately preceding this one, when they’re missing key players due to injury, when other key players are having off-years, and when they haven’t shown consistent ability to hit with runners on and manufacture runs? It is. I’ll root hard for it, but I won’t hold my breath either.

Thanks for the post-game comment Mike.  I thought of you during the game, when the crowd was very loud and trying its best to urge the Yankees into a good comeback.  I’m sorry it didn’t happen, and that the series hasn’t produced a win yet.  I hope that changes in the next couple games.

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Published in: on July 5, 2008 at 10:14 am  Leave a Comment  

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