As we’ve been hearing for weeks on end, the Yankees have been unusually horrible against the Red Sox all season long. Tonight though, they managed to prevail, 5-2. It’s certainly a much-needed win with the uncertainty that follows CC Sabathia in the rotation – Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett are slated to pitch Wednesday and Thursday. Sabathia pitched well though and the Yankees got some unlikely help on offense as they locked down the first game of the series.
In the top of the 2nd, Eric Chavez singled up the middle driving home Robinson Cano to put the Yankees on the board, 1-0. Sabathia went with the bend but not break approach, ultimately throwing 69 pitches across the first 3 innings. In the 4th, Cano doubled in Granderson and then scored again when Eric Chavez singled, making it 3-0 Yankees. The Red Sox came right back. Carlos Crawfish, aka Carl Crawford who wasn’t fazed by CC’s slider in the least bit, took him deep 420 some odd feet into the right field stands. Jarrod Saltalamacchia then singled and was driven home by a Marco Scutaro double to make it 3-2 Yankees. In the 5th, Francisco Cervelli of all people hit a HR that wound up on Lansdowne Street. As he was crossing the plate, he clapped in a pretty exuberant manor, which would come back to bite him in the ass. Literally. In the top of the 7th with the score 4-2, Cervelli led off the inning again and was promptly drilled by Lackey. Cervelli was understandably upset, the benches cleared and for some reason Larry Rothschild was thrown from the game. After a passed ball and a Brett Gardner bunt, Cervelli came around to score after Jeter hit into a double play. CC, who had labored and suffered through a terrible strike zone all night, threw 128 pitches in 6 innings of work (and struck out 10 men). After CC left, Cory Wade allowed David Ortiz and Jed Lowrie to reach in the 7th before Girardi pulled him for Boone Logan. The matchup was Logan vs. Carlos Crawfish, and the exoskeleton prevailed, loading the bases with 1 out in a 3 run game. Girardi chose to stick with Logan against the right-handed hitters and Logan rewarded him, striking both out to end the threat. The 8th and 9th were handled by Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera. It wasn’t clean — the Yankees were unable to set the Red Sox down in order in any inning — but all’s well that ends well, right?
Coming into this game, as Larry mentioned earlier today, the Yankees were due for a good performance. We all knew CC was too good to let his previous poor starts against the Red Sox persist. We also knew the Yankees were unlikely to continue losing 10 of 12 to the Red Sox. This was the one game in which the pitching matchup clearly favors the Yankees, so it’s good to have this locked away as a win. Tonight, Phil Hughes will go for the Yankees against Josh Beckett. Thursday, it’s A.J. Burnett against Jon Lester in the game you should not watch. We know the Yankees have a playoff spot virtually locked away but it’s always nice to show some competency against the Red Sox.
As for the whole Cervelli business, I think it was pretty funny. If I’m a Red Sox fan, I’m pretty upset with John Lackey right now. Hitting Cervelli is something that’s permissible if the game isn’t so close. At the time, it’s a 2-run game, and having him eventually come around to score is just salt in the wound. As for plunking Cervelli for his exaggerated hand clap, I think it’s stupid. Cervelli is clearly pretty unlikeable for opposing fans and players because he fist pumps and all that. I get it. Is a guy clapping his hands as he crosses the plate after hitting his second HR of the year a bridge too far though? I think not. Given the situation, given the player involved, I don’t think Cervelli deserved to get drilled.