Saturday, August 12, 2017

Hix' Stix Nix Sox for Yanx

Aaron Hicks returned to action for the Yankees, and put on a show. It couldn't have come at a better time, or against a more appropriate opponent.

Because the Boston Red Scum had come to town, for a series that could well end up setting up the American League Eastern Division for the rest of the season. The Yankees had to step up.

For the 1st 7 innings, it didn't look like they would. Jaime Garcia made his 1st home start for the Yankees, and gave up a 2-run home run to Mookie Betts in the 1st inning. He allowed another run in the 5th. Adam Warren relieved him in the 6th.

Eduardo Rodriguez pitched the 1st 6 innings for the Red Sox, and only gave up 2 hits and 2 walks, striking out 7. Matt Barnes pitched the 7th, and it was 3-0 Sox, with the Yankees still only having 2 hits: A double by Hicks in the 3rd, and a double by Ronald Torreyes in the 4th.

Yankee Stadium was quiet, except for the celebrating Chowdaheads. The season seemed over.

In the immortal words of ESPN's Lee Corso, "Not so fast, my friend!" We came to the bottom of the 8th inning, and it became -- and, if the Yankees go on to October glory, it will remain -- the most important inning of the season for the Yankees.

Sox manager John Farrell brought Addison Reed in to relieve. Brett Gardner led off, and Reed hit him with a pitch. This was a rare occasion where a Red Sox pitcher hits a Yankee batter with a pitch, and you know it's not intentional. Maybe, with a 5-run lead, it would have been a message. With a 3-run lead, you still have to worry about putting the game away.

Hicks stepped to bat, and hit a drive down the right field line. It was a true Yankee Stadium right field short porch job, but it counts just the same. 3-2 Boston.

I was reminded of the famous headline "STIX NIX HIX PIX," and tweeted "HIX' STIX FUX UP SOX FOR YANX." For the title of this post, I changed it to the more family-friendly, "Hix' Stix Nix Sox for Yanx."

"STIX NIX HIX PIX" -- actually, the 1935 Variety headline was "Stix nix hick pix," meaning people in rural areas reject movies that make them look like undereducated idiots -- was made even more famous by its appearance in Yankee Doodle Dandy, the 1942 musical in which Yankee Fan James Cagney played Broadway legend George M. Cohan, who was a fan of the New York Giants baseball team, but whose song "Yankee Doodle Dandy" helped to rename the New York Highlanders the Yankees in 1904.
Gary Sanchez was up next, and he singled. That brought up Aaron Judge and his boomstick, as the go-ahead run. Reed may have been shaken up, because he threw a wild pitch. That wild pitch was rendered moot when Reed, apparently still nervous, walked Judge.

Farrell took Reed out, and brought in Joe Kelly. But the Yankees kept coming. Didi Gregorius singled, scoring Sanchez with the tying run. Todd Frazier singled home Judge with the go-ahead run. Kelly struck Chase Headley out, but Jacoby Ellsbury, formerly of the Sox, singled to load the bases. Torreyes flew to left, but that was only the 2nd out, and it was enough to get Gregorius home.

The Yankees had batted around. Gardner drew a walk to re-load the bases. Farrell brought Fernando Abad in to pitch to Hicks, and got him to pop up to end it. 5-3  Yankees.

On came Aroldis Chapman to get the last 3 outs. But, yet again, he was shaky. The 1st 3 batters of the inning were Jackie Bradley Jr., former Yankee disaster Eduardo Nunez, and Betts. And he walked them all. Bases loaded, nobody out, the potential winning run already on base.

The batter was Andrew Benintendi. He drove a pitch to the warning track in left field, where Hicks caught it for the 1st out. There was no way to catch Bradley at the plate to prevent the score from becoming 5-4. But Hicks threw to 3rd base, Frazier got it, and tagged Nunez out as he tried for the base. Huge double play.

Then Chapman got Mitch Moreland to fly to center to end it. Whew. But YESSSS! We beat The Scum!

Yankees 5, Red Sox 4. Just like the Bucky Dent Game in 1978. WP: Warren (3-2). SV: Chapman (15). LP: Reed (0-1).

With the win, the Yankees close to within 3 1/2 games of the Sox, 3 in the loss column, with 48 to play.

The series continues at 4:05 this afternoon. Luis Severino starts for the Good Guys, Drew Pomeranz for The Scum. Come on you Pinstripes!

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