Game 155 Recap: Yankees improve to 8-9 against Red Sox on season; shut Boston out for third time

I’ve attended two no-hitters at Yankee Stadium:

Doc Gooden’s improbable 1996 gem and the Houston Astros utilizing 6 different pitchers in their 2003 effort.

Yesterday afternoon started off in somewhat similar fashion, as my dad and I watched CC Sabathia cruise through 3 2/3 perfect innings until walking Victor Martinez in the fourth, and the no-hitter fell as Mike Lowell led the fifth off with a single. Still, Sabathia stayed strong, and he, Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera combined to not only 2-hit the Red Sox, but shut the Red Sox out for the third time this season at home, as the Yankees won 3-0. That’s absolutely ridiculous, considering the kind of offensive team the Red Sox are. Granted, JD Drew and Jason Bay didn’t come to bat until the 8th inning, but it’s still damn impressive. The only thing more amazing would have been if the Yankees had shut the Sox out three times at Fenway Park this year.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees 2-hit Red Sox, reduce magic number to one

Behind an absolute 7-inning, one-hit gem from CC Sabathia, the Yankees reduced their magic number for winning the AL East to one. One more Yankee win or Red Sox loss and the Yankees will be your 2009 AL East champions.

The pitching from Sabathia today should be the story, even more than the Yankees inability to hit with runners in scoring position, as this is the type of pitching the Yankees hope for–and even expect–from Sabathia in the postseason.

What’s more, is that CC pitched most of the game while still scoreless. The Yankees simply refused to score with any runners on base (until the bottom of the eighth), getting their offense instead from a Robinson Canó lead off home run in the sixth.

The Yankees again ran against Boston, this time running against Victor Martinez instead of Jason Varitek. If defense–including catching–wins championships, then the Red Sox have some issues. The Yankees, with Damon in left, aren’t perfect, but even Jorge Posada throws out more runners than the Varitek-Martinez tandem.… Click here to read the rest

Magic or Tragic?

Is the Yankees’ season a tragedy waiting to happen or a charmed, magical ride to a 27th crown, just like the fabled days of  Mantle, Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Berra, Munson and, well, Jeter and Rivera?  There exists a form of literature and drama called the tragedy.  Some of the most famous works throughout history have embodied this form: Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Oedipus Rex, Paradise Lost, and Dr. Faustus, among many others.  In these works, there is generally a central, tragic figure who is often is placed in a position of grace, who has many, if not all the attributes one could want in life: wealth, power, physical attractiveness, skill, wisdom, wit, intelligence.  There is always a flaw, however, the character possesses that winds up tripping the mighty personage and unravels all their success, leading ultimately to their downfall and often death. Hamlet, for instance, was indecisive; Lucifer was arrogant; in the Greek plays, well, everyone was arrogant (they were obsessed with a form of arrogance called hubris). … Click here to read the rest

You know what John Sterling says

Even if they didn’t want to admit it, many Yankee fans likely wrote Friday night’s game off as a loss before a pitch was tossed. Lefty Jon Lester, who has been one of the best pitchers in the American League this year, against Joba Chamberlain, who has the potential to be even better than Lester but has struggled mightily of late, seemed like mismatch in favor of the Red Sox. Good thing you can’t predict baseball, as the Yankees thumped Boston 9-5, with one of the larger blows being an awesomely long A-Rod home run into the second deck in left field, one of the rare times I’ve seen that happen at the new park. (ETA According to Cliff Corcoran, it’s only the second time, and both were by Alex).

Additionally, amidst the sweet offensive shellacking of Lester (who sounds like he’ll be OK), was one of Joba’s best outings in a while. Not only did he turn in a quality start (6IP, 3ER), but even better was how quickly he was working, barely shaking Posada off and really not giving the Red Sox any time to settle in or get too comfortable.
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Joba earns first win since August 6 as Yanks crusie past Red Sox

While beating the Red Sox always makes for interesting storylines of its own, tonight’s game produced two occurrences of note:

1) Joba Chamberlain pitched well. If anything, Chamberlain may have been hampered by the long innings the Yankees had at the plate, but he pitched six innings completely and used only 86 pitches to get there. It wasn’t the best start anyone has ever had, but it was a marked improvement from his disaster start in Seattle.

One start does not mean that all concerns about Joba are alleviated, but it does mean that a game four LCS start is not necessarily a lost cause.

2) Melky Cabrera took Jon Lester out with a liner off of the plant leg. Officially, it’s a contusion on the quadriceps, but every fan of the Red Sox has got to be concerned–Lester appeared to be in serious pain, and he is easily one of the two best Red Sox pitchers (though he didn’t pitch like it tonight.)

The Yankee offense has Alex Rodriguez to thank tonight–his four RBI ended up as the difference in the final 9-5 score.… Click here to read the rest

Boston Red Sox Series Preview 9/25-9/27

Hitting:

Team wOBA: 352. 2nd in MLB and the AL.

The Red Sox feature a line-up even better than the one run out by Los Angeles. Kevin Youkilis and Jason Bay have been among the best hitters in the league, with wOBA’s of .410 and .400 respectively. The depth of their lineup is staggering: Beyond those two, every regular in the lineup with the exception of Alex Gonzalez has a wOBA over .330. Bay leads the team in home runs with thirty-six. David Ortiz is second with ten fewer than Bay. Ortiz had a real tough start to the season, but his power numbers have rebounded as the season has progressed; his slugging percentage has been at least .495 every month since May. Bay, Dustin Pedroia, and Jacoby Ellsbury are the only threats to run. Ellsbury leads the league with sixty-six swipes, and he’s been thrown out just ten times. Pitch from the stretch this time Andy.

Fielding:

Team UZR: -12.1.… Click here to read the rest

Game Thread: Red Sox @ Yankees

Lineups courtesy of Pete Abe:

YANKEES (97-56)
Jeter SS
Damon LF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui DH
Posada C
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
Cabrera CF
Pitching: RHP Joba Chamberlain (8-6, 4.73).

RED SOX (91-61)
Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Martinez 1B
Youkilis 3B
Ortiz DH
Bay LF
Drew RF
Varitek C
Gonzalez SS
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (14-7, 3.33).

The Yankees can clinch the AL East with a sweep, while the Red Sox magic number to clinch a playoff spot is 3. While these games actually do not mean much, tonight’s game probably has greater playoff implications than any of the remaining tilts, as the Yankees try and determine whether Joba Chamberlain can contribute in the playoffs.

Also interesting is the Red Sox lineup, as they continue to play a suboptimal lineup. Their best lineup has Mike Lowell in and Jason Varitek out, yet they refuse to give up on Varitek and keep insisting that he is good defensively, despite copious evidence to the contrary.… Click here to read the rest

Red Sox Plan To Celebrate Clinching Playoff Berth At Stadium

From Roger Rubin:

The victory, combined with Texas’ loss to Oakland, reduces Boston’s magic number at 3 to clinch the wild card and their sixth playoff trip in seven years.

And don’t you think the Sox wouldn’t like to sew it up in their archrivals’ new home.

“Oh, we will…hopefully,” said Ortiz, who hit his 26th home run, with a laugh. “So we don’t have to get our clubhouse dirty.

“It would be great. You get that out of the way and give a welcome to the new Stadium, too.”
[snip]
A small segment of the Boston clubhouse thinks a more muted celebration would be in order if the Sox clinched a postseason berth because the division title would remain undecided. “Just a toast” is how one insider put it. But that just wouldn’t seem right for the Red Sox, who are known for their carnival-like clinching parties.

And remember: the Sox and Rays were still in a race for the division title in 2008 when Boston clinched at least the wild card.

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Reader mail: pre-game rituals edition

As IIATMS’s Southern California correspondent, I spent the last 3 days in Anaheim scouting them and appraising “our guys”. If you are really a fan of the Grand Old Game, you wouldn’t dare miss batting practice and, in the old days, fielding practice. I found it interesting to note that our guys havetwo coaches, one on either side of the batting cage during BP, alternatingly hitting fungoes to both sides of the infield.All the infielders who were not batting were participating, taking straight up grounders then on to 1st and then double plays from both sides.They also had formal infield drills that every high school player remembers prior to BP. In the kind of heat we have out here, especially this week, it would not be uncommon to shorten it or make it optional. Every one of our guys participated, led of course led by #2. The Angels (still California Angels to me) took their BP but never once fielding.

As a footnote, if I simply copied and pasted his email, I would have had to title this “ramblings of a madman”.… Click here to read the rest