Yankees 10 Red Sox 3: Eight Is Great As Yanks Explode

I got back in the second inning from GLG’s softball tournament in which her team made it to the semi-finals, winning the quarter-final game 10-5 but dropping a 12-4 game to a tough, deep, talented team with lots of pitching. I was proud of how hard they played, how well GLG’s team pitched and played defense after the first inning in the loss, and especially of GLG, who had two hits, three walks, drove in two and scored twice today. She also was terrific in the field, playing a very good first and third. Outstanding day for GLG, but a tiring and long one starting on the field at 8:15 a.m. and, with a break between the games, lasting until after 3.

I got into the A/C with a coldie just as Pettite appeared to be settling in, and he sure did thereafter. The offense also picked it up and won going away, blowing out the Sox while Pettite and the bullpen held Boston at bay. Cano continues his torrid hitting, Jeter, Abreu, A-Rod and Melky each had two hits, and the well-rounded contributions turned a tight game into a rout.

Pettite endured a 25-pitch first that saw Boston jump to a 2-0 lead. Pedroia reached on A-Rod’s error, Youkilis walked, Ortiz singled to right to score Pedroia 1-0 Boston, Ramirez’s force scored Youkilis 2-0 Boston. But Pettite buckled down and got Lowell to ground into a 6-4 force, and then Lefty fanned Drew to escape the jam. Pettite worked around a lead-off walk to Lowrie in the bottom of the second, ending the frame with consecutive K’s of caddie catcher Cash and Pedroia. It was at this point when I got home, to see the two K’s. However, Pettite was up to 49 pitches after two, and didn’t look long for the game.

But the fate of the Yanks began to turn in the top of the third when the offense picked it up off Wakefield, as I suspected they would in Vanessa’s open blog over at Flair For the Dramatic. Molina led off with a walk and took second on a wild pitch during JD’s at-bat that ended with an F8. Jeter’s deep F8 moved the hustling Molina to third, a big move for Abreu, who ripped a chest-high knuckle ball to right for a two-out RBI single to score Molina and put the Yanks on the board 2-1. A-Rod then doubled off the monster with the ball hitting the top of the W.B. Nason sign, bouncing straight up about ten feet and landing in Ramirez’s glove, for he deigned to play today. However, Meacham held up Abreu when he probably could have scored, another suspect call that was big at the time, for Giambi’s F9 to the wall in right center ended the inning.

Pettite held the line in the bottom of the third, allowing a single to Youkilis, getting Ortiz looking on a belt-high heater, retiring Ramirez on a liner to Nady in left and, after walking Lowell, setting down Drew on an F7. Cano led off the fourth with a ripping blast to dead center, to nearly the exact same spot he hit one against Boston in Game 3 of Boston Massacre III on August 19, 2006, to tie the game. Nady then grounded out, Melky singled, Molina flew out to left, Melky stole second–good to see him run more–and JD stroked a sharp single up the middle to make it 3-2 Yanks. Pettite worked around Cash’s two-out single and, with his K’s of Lowrie and Crisp immediately prior to Cash’s hit, you could see that Pettite was gaining control of the game even though his pitch count was up to 81 after four.

The Yanks lost a chance to add on in the fifth when Cano, after he and A-Rod walked, was caught stealing. Yet Pettite got a 1-2-3 fifth after Ramirez’s 5-4-3 got Ortiz by half a mile at second (he just ran into pit row in short right when Cano caught the ball, not even close to challenging the turn; I think I saw him with a cup of beer…) and Ramirez by a good seven steps at first. In the sixth, the Yanks blew it wide open. Nady walked, Melky doubled to left, Molina’s HBP loaded the bases with no outs, JD’s hustle beat a DP and scored Nady, 4-2 Yanks and ending Wakefield’s day. Jeter singled to right off Masterson, 5-2 Yanks, Abreu’s double made it 6-2, and A-Rod’s sharp single made it 7-2. Lopez entered to face Giambi and got him to line out to Youkilis, who then took an interminably long time to successfully throw out Abreu off third for a 3-5 DP. But the Yanks had blown it open. Drew hit a very long homer to right center in the bottom of the sixth off Pettite, but Pettite ended his day on a high note by striking out Crisp again. Pettite wasn’t at his very best but battled well and got better as the game progressed, going six and allowing five hits, three runs one earned, walking three and fanning seven on 111 pitches/68 strikes. He didn’t have a 1-2-3 inning but got most of his outs via the K (7) and the ground out (8). In the end, it was a quality start of improving quality over previous ones that was more than enough for the win.

Boston threatened in the seventh off Veras, with Pedroia walking and Youkilis singling to bring Ortiz to the plate. In entered Damaso Marte, who immediately proved his value by fanning Ortiz–fastball strike that the FAUX gun had at 94, slider foul 0-2, fastball foul that FAUX measured at 95, and a nasty fastball diving down at 95 for the K. I could get used to that and fast. Marte is much more than a lefty specialist, but that was a perfect introduction–for him, the Yanks AND Boston. Get used to seeing Marte, Ortiz. He was nay-hasty. Welcome to the fold, kid. Edwar then entered and, not to be outdone, got Ramirez on two pitches to fly to center to end the last Boston threat. The Yanks turned it right around and added on with a two-out in the eighth when Molina walked, moved to second on JD’s ground out, Jeter K’d, Molina moved to third on a wild pitch to Abreu who walked, Hansen beaned A-Rod on the upper left arm to load the bases, Giambi’s walk scored Molina 8-3, and Cano capped the scoring by abusing the monster, ripping a 2-2 fastball at the knees off the wall to score Abreu and A-Rod, 10-3 Yankees. Cano is positively killing the ball, hitting everything good pitch or bad, steering it the other way and turning on balls to right. Whatever comes his way is threatened with being turned into a ball of mashed potatoes with laces. Edwar finished the eighth and Robertson pitched a perfect ninth to close out the win.

Cano was 3-4 with a double, his 9th homer, and now has 48 RBIs and a .270 average–up 24 points in the eight games/wins since the All-Star break. He’s been the biggest reason why the offense has surged. Jeter was 2-6 with his 47th RBI and his 22nd double, batting .285 and having very good at-bats. Abreu was 2-4 with his 25th double, and he now has 66 RBIs to still lead the team to accompany his .279 average. A-Rod was 2-3 with a run, his 21st double, and his 62nd RBI to raise his average to .324 before exiting for precautionary reasons for Hansen’s entirely predictable beaning. He too is hot at the plate, especially since the All-Star break–13-30, 8 runs, and 9 RBIs. Melky was 2-5 with 2 runs and his 8th stolen base, batting .250 now. JD was 1-5 with 2 RBIs (40 this year), his 15th stolen base, and is batting .313, and Molina was 1-2 with 2 walks and 2 runs. Among the starters, only Giambi and Nady didn’t have hits but each contributed–Giambi with his 59th RBI and Nady with a walk leading to a run. Though the Yanks left 10 on, 8 in scoring position, they plated 5 two-out runs to offset the on-base waste which was very much a product of banging out 13 hits and working 7 walks. That is, with runners all over the bases they cashed in on more than enough to win, and did so in key situations.

Pettite hung tough and got sharper. The bullpen yet again was excellent–3 IP, 1 hit, 0 runs, 2 BBs, and 3 K. Marte is a most welcome addition. Edwar continues to baffle batters, Robertson was again sharp, this time in mop-up. I can’t say enough good about the pen, which I had considered as good as any in the game beforehand but, with Marte, is the best bullpen in the game without a doubt in my mind. I’d take the Yanks pen, from Mariano on down, against any team. Sad to see Hawkins the person go, but his DFA to make room for Marte should come as no surprise. It’s a win-win. Gardner was sent down for Nady. I liked the kid and he showed flashes of good play, but didn’t hit nearly enough. Maybe down the road, he will be back and running wild, if in short stints. But he got regular play and didn’t quite cut the mustard this time around.

The Yankees are in the midst of the best run of 2008 by far, playing their best ball, getting outstanding pitching from starters and the bullpen, and getting hot hitting. I’d still like to see more and long-term consistency from the offense, but this team is just on fire right now. They’re tied with Boston in the loss column and sit only 2 1/2 games behind Tampa until their game with KC is resolved (2-1 Tampa in a rain delay right now). Lots of justified optimism, and the Yanks go for the Crazy Stein tomorrow night in an HDLR event.

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Published in: on July 26, 2008 at 8:35 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. what a great victory today- and to be honest i usually don’t enjoy watching a game wakefield pitches. today being an exception. we’re getting everything- timely hitting and great pitching. whatever happens tomorrow will be icing on the cake- but i’m confident.

    i dont know how long the rain delay was in KC but tough guy joe maddon sent kasmir back in–doesn’t seem very responsible ( he also gave up the lead)

  2. “cano is positively killing the ball” –> you said that right. for someone who did so awful in the first half, it’s a shocker that he didn’t just start hitting the ball, he started smacking the ball. nice to see him on a roll.
    pettitte survived despite the walks and tough outs. he did a lot better at the end of the night than i thought he would do after the 2nd.
    our bullpen has been the backbone of our success as of late. though the offense is doing better the pen is effectively making the game shorter. it is indeed the best in baseball now.
    the royals tied the game in KC, so there’s a chance the yanks can be 2 games back by tomorrow.

  3. My money’s on Jon Lester tonight, who hasn’t lost since May. I think Sidney’s 15 minutes are almost up. That said, the Yankees have made a statement this weekend that doesn’t need a sweep to make it’s point.

  4. Yesterday had a Game 3 of Boston Massacre III feel for me, Mike. Back and forth early, then the Yanks offense pouring it on, Cano’s homer to center, the team stringing together a big rally, even the score–10-3 yesterday/13-5 on 8/19/06. The Yanks looked dominant. Tampa’s win kept the Yanks three back, but I like that they’ve gained ground and played better than Tampa and Boston.

    Thanks for hosting yesterday, V. It was a good time. Pettite got better as the game went on, and A-Rod’s error hurt in the first. But other than Drew’s big bomb, Pettite kept them off the board after the first. Very impressive, as is Cano and, for that matter, A-Rod (13-30, 8 runs, 9 RBIs since the break).

    I don’t blame you for feeling that way, Steve. On paper, it’s advantage Lester. But there’s something about Ponson that brings out the run support and, somehow, they guy has won all four of his starts as a Yankee despite lots of hits allowed. He seems to minimize the worst damage. He’ll need to continue that tonight, for Lester has made Boston’s rotation pretty tough. They haven’t missed Schilling much.


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