Wednesday, September 2, 2015

After Wasting Runs, Yanks Split 1st 2 With Sox


I knew it... I knew it... I knew all those runs the Yankees scored in Atlanta were a bad sign. I knew they'd need those runs later.

And as so often happens, the Yankees had one (or more) of those games right before playing the Auld Enemy. Especially in Fenway Park, the little green pinball machine in the Back Bay, where it seems you can never have enough runs.

Indeed, the most surprising thing about the 1st 2 games of this series is that a total of 11 runs were scored. You often get that many by 1 team in 1 game.

On Monday night, the Yankees sent Ivan Nova to pitch against The Scum. He didn't pitch badly, allowing 3 runs on 7 hits and 1 walk. That should have been enough to win. All the Yankees had to do on Monday was score 1/5th as many runs as they scored on Sunday: 4.

They didn't. They got 1 right at the start, under weird circumstances. Jacoby Ellsbury led off the series against his former team by reaching 1st base by that rarest of plate-appearance results, catcher's interference. Then Chris Young reached on a botched double play. Alex Rodriguez singled, but Ellsbury, presumed to have been signed for his speed, couldn't score on the play. That ended up not mattering, because Carlos Beltran got him home on a sacrifice fly. One-nil to the Pinstripe boys.

Mookie Bettsgave the Sox the lead with a 2-run home run in the bottom of the 3rd, but the Yankees tied the game in the top of the 4th. Brian McCann led off with a walk, then came 3 straight singles, by Chase Headley, Greg Bird and Didi Gregorius.

But, for the 2nd and 3rd time in the game, a Yankee failed to score from 2nd on a single. This is not that surprising, giving Fenway Park's Green Monster, the left-field wall just 310 feet (or less, this figure is disputed) from home plate. But a force-play out at home and then a double play meant that the Yankees got 1 run out of the inning, when they should have gotten at least 2, and that came back to bite them.

David Ortiz gave the Sox back the lead in the bottom of the 4th, when he cheated his way to another home run. It was the 495th home run of his career, 2 more than Lou Gehrig, and 5 short of what used to be a magic circle, before a bunch of other steroid freaks devalued it. Put it this way: If Ortiz had never used steroids, and had continued hitting home runs in Boston at the same rate that he did in Minnesota, he would now have 320 home runs, and any suggestion that he belongs in the Hall of Fame would be a big fat lying cheating joke.

With 2 out in the 5th, Beltran doubled to left, McCann walked, and Headley walked to load the bases. But Bird struck out. Gregorius singled to lead off the 6th, and Young walked, but they were stranded. Beltran walked to lead off the 7th, but was erased by a double play.

The Sox got another run, and the Yankees wasted singles by Gregorius and Brett Gardner in the 8th. Trailing 4-2 going into the 9th, they got a rally going. Stephen Drew led off with a single to right. A-Rod walked. John Ryan Murphy pinch-ran for A-Rod. The tying runs were on with nobody out. But Beltran struck out. A wild pitch advanced the runners. McCann walked to load the bases. Headley walked to force home a run. Bases loaded, 1 out, down a run? The Yankees should have gotten at least 1 more run out of this.

Bird struck out, and Gregorius flew to right. Red Sox 4, Yankees 3. WP: Eduardo Rodriguez (8-5). SV: Jean Machi (4). LP: Nova (5-7).

At least the Toronto Blue Jays also lost, to the Cleveland Indians, keeping the Yankees a game and a half back.

*

That loss was embarrassing, and the Yankees really needed to win last night.

September dawned, and that means callups from the minor leagues. These includes familiar names like Austin Romine, Dustin Ackley, Rob Refsnyder, Jose Pirela, Andrew Bailey and Caleb Cotham. The other 2, set to make their major league debuts, are Rico Noel, a 26-year-old center fielder from California who's been brought up only for his speed, since he's not much of a hitter or outfielder; and James Pazos, a 24-year-old lefthanded pitcher from San Diego, who's been used as both a starter and a reliever in the minors. But none of these players got into last night's game.

Michael Pineda started for the Yankees, pitching 6 innings, allowing just 1 run and 4 hits, walking nobody, and striking out 7 batters. This included 3 strikeouts of Ortiz, who would also be struck out by Dellin Betances in the 8th. 0-for-4 with 4 strikeouts. The Golden Sombrero. Good. He deserves to have that happen every game for the rest of his career.

The Red Sox actually took a 1-0 lead in the 3rd, but the Yankees came back in the 5th. An A-Rod leadoff single was followed by Headley and Bird striking out, but Gregorius reached on an error, and Drew, not batting .205 and slugging .389, drove them home with a double. Gardner added an insurance run in the 8th with a drive to right off Pesky's Pole, his 13th home run of the season.

Rick Porcello went 8 innings, striking out 13, walking just 1, and (more or less) sparing the Sox bullpen. But if that ends up helping them today, it sure didn't help last night. Yankees 3, Red Sox 1. WP: Pineda (10-8). SV: Miller (29). LP: Porcello (6-12).

The Jays also won, so the Yankees remain a game and a half out.

The series concludes this afternoon, with Masahiro Tanaka pitching against Henry Owens.

Mark Teixeira will probably miss another 2 weeks of his remarkable comeback season with a bone bruise. But Bird has filled in very well at 1st base. I just hope Teix is ready to send some messages again in October.

1 comment:

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