Monday, August 19, 2013

We Are Not the Evil Empire, the Red Sox Are

What people don't understand is that the Yankees are the good guys and the Red Sox are the Evil Empire.

What team has benefited more from MLB office bias?

What team has benefited more from media bias?

What team has benefited more from use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs)?

What team has benefited more from hitting batters on purpose?

None.

And what does MLB do about it? Nothing.  Not a damned thing.  Which is why I put "MLB office bias" first.

*

Realistically, the Yankees needed to take 2 out of 3 at Scumway Park just to stay in the Playoff hunt, and to sweep to get back into the American League Eastern Division race.

On Friday night, Andy Pettitte pitched 6 strong innings, but ran into trouble in the 7th, before the bullpen put it away.

He needed run support.  He got it it.  The Yankees scored in each of the first 4 innings.  Alfonso Soriano continued his RBI binge with a single home of Brett Gardner in the 1st, and a 3-run home run in the 3rd.  His 8th as a Yankee this season, his 25th overall.

Mark Reynolds, who drove the Yankees crazy for the Baltimore Orioles last season, before signing with the Cleveland Indians and starting this season off great and then slumping badly enough to get released, has been signed by the Yankees, and in his first at-bat with the Bronx Bombers, hit a home run against the Red Sox.  First as a Yankee, 16th of the season overall.  Good way to get the Yankee Fans on your side quickly.  It always feels good when a guy who did well against the Yankees now does well for them.  (See also: Catfish Hunter, Reggie Jackson, Tommy John, Jesse Barfield, Wade Boggs, Jimmy Key, Tino Martinez, Chuck Knoblauch, Chili Davis, Mike Mussina, Jason Giambi and Johnny Damon.  And, if you can do it without getting sick, Roger Clemens.  But not Kenny Rogers, Kevin Brown or Randy Johnson.  Not by a long shot.)

With 2 out in the 4th, Eduardo Nunez tripled, and Cano singled him home.  That made it 7-0 Yankees.  Always good to kick the extra point.

The Sox closed to 7-3 in the 7th, but the Yanks put it away in the 9th.  With 1 out, Soriano and Alex Rodriguez singled.  Curtis Granderson struck out, but the Yanks executed a double steal.  Ichiro Suzuki singled Sori home, Reynolds did the same for A-Rod, and Chris Stewart did it for Ichiro.

10-3! We beat The Scum, 10-3! We beat The Scum, 10-3! We beat The Scum, 10-3!

WP: Pettitte (8-9).  No save.  LP: Felix Doubront (8-6).

*

The Saturday game was a Fox Saturday Game of the Week.  So, naturally, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver slobbered over the Sox and made the Yankees out to be the bad guys.

One of the few consistent things for the Yankees all season has been the pitching of Hiroki Kuroda.  But this time, he was shaky.  He didn't get out of the 6th inning.  He allowed 5 runs, although only 3 were earned.  He didn't walk any batters, striking out 6, but he allowed 11 hits.

In contrast, John Lackey did his job.  You might remember Lackey as a big reason why the Whatever They Were Calling Themselves Back Then Angels of Anaheim beat the Yankees in the AL Division Series in 2002 and '05 -- but not in the '09 AL Championship Series.  Lackey was also a big reason why the Red Sox choked in 2011 and had a horrible season last year.

Before this series, Lackey said this about Alex Rodriguez:

How is he still playing? He obviously did something and he’s playing. I’m not sure that’s right... It’s pretty evident he’s been doing stuff for a lot of years I’ve been facing him... 

A lot of the motivation for the testing has come from players. We want it to be an even playing field and we want the game cleaned up as much as anybody...
We’re tired of hearing about it. We want it to be about baseball and not about that kind of stuff. Players want to see it out of the game so it’s not a subject. The focus should be back on the baseball.
Uh, hello? Your team's biggest name is David Ortiz.  You know: The biggest thing making the difference between the Sox winning the World Series in 2004 and '07, and the Sox not having won the World Series at all in 95 years? The man who forged "1918*"?

Lackey also said, "I think I know what kind of reception he's going to get at Fenway."

Of course.  Red Sox fans are afflicted with Maxwell Smart Syndrome.  Remember the TV show Get Smart? Max liked to say, "We're allowed to lie, cheat, steal and kill.  We're the good guys!"

But on Saturday, Lackey let his arm do the talking, limiting the Yankees to 1 run into the 7th.  And the Yankees got no runs and just 2 baserunners (a single and a double) off the shaky Boston bullpen.

Scum 6, Good Guys 1.  WP: Lackey (8-10).  No save.  LP: Kuroda (11-8).

*

Yesterday's game was the most important game of the season for the Yankees.  I knew it, and on WCBS, John Sterling knew it, pointing it out more than once.

It was a typical Yanks-Sox Sunday Night Baseball game on ESPN, filled with runs, pitching changes, Boston bastardry, and arguments, and taking over 4 hours to complete 9 innings.

The Sox struck first, reaching CC Sabathia for 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st.  But the Yanks tied it in the top of the 2nd, and The Scum  have only themselves to blame.

Ryan Dempster, previously thought of as a decent guy in a career that has included 130 wins (although also 133 losses), a 17-win season and 2 15-win seasons, 87 saves, and back-to-back postseasons for the Chicago Cubs (2007-08, something the Cubs hadn't managed in, literally, 100 years, 1907-08), threw 4 four-seam fastballs at A-Rod.  Speeds in miles per hour: 89, 92, 91 and 92.  The first 3 came close.  The 4th one hit him.

And the Sox fans cheered wildly.  Chowdaheads.

Whatever is going on behind the scenes among Yankee management, field manager Joe Girardi came out of the dugout to tell home plate umpire Brian O'Nora that A-Rod was hit on purpose.  (In the immortal words of NCIS' Leroy Jethro Gibbs, "Ya think, DiNozzo?")

Naturally, it was Girardi who got thrown out of the game, not Dempster.


What rules, Captain?

This also proves that it wasn't Terry Francona, Sox manager from 2004 to '11, who was responsible for the Sox being headhunting assholes.  John Farrell is their manager now, and Francona is now managing in Cleveland and the Indians don't seem to be plunking the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers, do they?

But once things calmed down, and bench coach Tony Pena took over as manager, good things happened.  Or, as Hank Steinbrenner would say, the universe was restored to order.

Curtis Granderson doubled A-Rod over to 3rd.  Nunez singled A-Rod home and Grandy to 3rd.  Lyle Overbay hit a sacrifice fly, and that got Grandy home.  Tie ballgame.

Top of the 3rd.  Ichiro leads off with a single.  Cano singles.  Soriano lines to right, but it's enough to get the still-speedy Ichiro to 3rd.  A-Rod grounds to short to get the go-ahead run home.  3-2 Yanks.

CC gave the run right back in the bottom of the 3rd, and allowed the Sox 2 more runs in the 4th and another in the 5th.  6-3 Scum.

Top of the 6th.  A-Rod leads off against the man Yankee Fans, especially on Twitter, were already calling "Ryan Dumpster." Boom.  Home run to center field.  (For the year: 2.  For his career: 649.) 5-4 Scum.

Granderson grounds out, but Nunez and Overbay single, and Stewart works a walk to load the bases.  Dempster out, Drake Britton in.

Drake Britton.  Stephen Drew.  Will Middlebrooks.  Jacoby Ellsbury.  Brock Holt.  Ryan Lavarnway.  Brandon Snyder.  John Lackey.  Clayton Mortensen.  Craig Breslow.  Suzyn Waldman on WCBS is right: The Sox' roster, aside from the Hispanic players, has a bunch of soap-opera names on it.  All that's missing is a few women with names like Alexis, Brittany, Diana, Kristin...

Pena had Jayson Nix pinch-run for Nunez, and left him in at shortstop the next inning.  Good move, since, in a game you absolutely have to win, especially at the little green pinball machine in the Bay Bay, you don't want Eduardo NunE6 in the field.

The batter was Brett Gardner.  He drilled one to center field, and Ellsbury couldn't get it.  The bases cleared, and it was 7-6 Yanks.

The Yanks added a run on a Reynolds single in the top of the 7th, as he pinch-hit for Overbay and staye din the game at 1st base.  In the bottom of the 7th, Pena brought in Boone Logan to relieve, mainly because the first batter of the inning was Ortiz, the big fat lying cheating bastard.

My thought was, "I can't look... "

Logan struck the slimeball out.

But he walked Jonny Gomes.  But he fixed that by getting Jarrod Saltalamacchia -- with 14 letters, the longest surname in MLB history -- to ground into a double play.  David Robertson got the first 2 outs in the 8th, before allowing a Middlebrooks double, but he struck Ellsbury out to end the threat.

Nix led off the top of the 9th, and became the 3rd Yankee in the game to get hit with a pitch.  Gardner had been hit to lead off the 8th.  Although this was by Rubby De La Rosa (apparently, "Rubby" is his real first name, but it's pronounced like "Ruby"), he doesn't have a reputation for hitting batters, and Nix got hit on the foot, not exactly a place where a pitcher would aim.  Besides, at this point, the Sox wanted to hold the Yankee lead to 2 runs -- as Sterling would say, "That's just a bloop and a blast." Or a walk and a wallop.

De La Rosa then threw a wild pitch, getting Nix to 2nd.  Reynolds grounded out, so Nix had to stay put, but he stole 3rd with Stewart up, and Stewart singled him home.  9-6 Yanks.

Later in the inning Cano became the 4th Yankee to be hit with a pitch.  Still, not one person in a Boston uniform was thrown out of the game.

How many Sox batters did the Yankee pitchers hit? Zero.

What rules?

Bottom of the 9th.  Mariano Rivera comes out.  The Sox fans cheered him.  Was it for his entire body of work, thus a rare moment of class for them? Or was it for 2 nights in October 2004?

He got Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia to ground out, and that left Ortiz.  But Ortiz singled to center.

Then Mo walked Gomes.  Uh-oh...

He got Saltalamacchia to fly out to end it.  Whew.

Ballgame over! Yankees win! Theeeeeeeeeeee Yankees win!

9-6! We beat The Scum, 9-6! We beat The Scum, 9-6! We beat The Scum, 9-6!

We won the series 20-15 on aggregate.  I know, it doesn't work that way in this sport.  But we did take 2 out of 3 on the road against the team we were chasing, which is good.

*

So here is how the AL East stands, with 6 weeks to go in the regular season:

Boston 73-53
Tampa Bay 70-52, 1 behind (but 1 game ahead in the loss column)
Baltimore 67-56, 4 1/2 (3)
New York 64-59, 7 1/2 (6)
Toronto 57-67, 15 (14)

Six weeks left, 6 games back in the All-Important Loss Column.  If we gain 1 game a week, we got 'em.

Doesn't sound too hard.

The Yankees have the day off, before starting a 4-game series with those pesky Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium II tomorrow, including a rain-forced day-night doubleheader tomorrow.  I guess they figured 2 games in 1 day was better than giving up a late-season day off.

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