At home at fenway

Keeping on eye on Dustin, Papi, Youk & a few good books

Reddick sends them packin, but they’ll be back.

Posted by athomeatfenway on August 8, 2011

Photo: Boston Globe

Do not be beguiled by the Sox 10 -2 record against the Yankees this season.  The Baseball Gods do not care what you did yesterday, or how bad you looked in your last 4 at bats.

Heading into this weekend’s 3-game series w NY at Fenway, I was willing to settle for 1 of 3. And I prayed to take 2. 

Lester vs. Colon on Friday.  Shellackey vs. Sabathia on Saturday.  Beckett vs. Garcia on Sunday.

Prayers or not, the Sox are seriously flawed in starting pitching.  Beyond Beckett & Lester, we have a 45-year-old knuckler who is effective half the time, a baffled 33 year old former ace with a 6.15 ERA, and a rehabbed new arrival that yielded 5 ER in 5 IP in his first start.

Wake, Shellackey and Bedard.  The elderly, the confused and the infirmed.  That’s our #3 through #5.

The Yankees rotation is shaky after Sabathia , Garcia and Colon.  But Hughes and Nova can be solid.  And erratic A.J. Burnett is a Red Sox fan’s dream.

 Both teams can score.  Both bullpens are deep.

The Yankees edge in starting pitching could be the difference maker in determining the Division winner.  And make no mistake about the fact that the Nation wants to deny the Yankees the Division.

Dreams of humbling the Yankees aside, one has to acknowledge the New York advantage in starting pitching.  Heading into Friday night’s game 1, I felt we could win with Beckett & Lester and a Saturday loss was a sure thing with Lackey on the mound.

Didn’t happen exactly that way.

Friday night’s loss was confounding, marked by the sudden appearance of the impotent Sox, a rare sight  this summer.  Lester provided a quality start but Colon was better & the NY bullpen shut out the Sox for 4.1 IP.  Down we go, 3 – 2.

Saturday’s win was unexpected.  Lackey came within one out of a quality start, allowing 4 runs, 3 of them earned, in 5.2 IP’s.  But Sabathia, he of the 16 – 2 record versus the rest of the AL, was hammered by the Sox for the third time this season, giving up 7 runs in 6 IP’s.  Sox 10, Yankees 4.

Sunday’s game had the same tempo as Friday’s low scoring affair.  Beckett was dominating, leaving with the game tied at 1 -1 after 6 innings.  But Matt Albers allowed Brett Gardner (who homers once every 100 plate appearances) to deposit a 390 foot shot into the Boston bullpen in the 7th, making it 2 -1 New York.  The Sox stranded Crawford at 3rd in the 8th.  Papelbon then blanked the Bombers in the 9th,  stranding Gardner at 2nd base. 

It was crunch time.  Yankees 2, Sox 1.  Heading to the bottom of the 9th.

Surely these Sox, with the #1 offense in the AL,  could score in the bottom of the 9th to tie it.  But here comes the Yankee closer, 12x All Star, 5x World Champion, 642 career saves in his pocket, oh yeah, it’s Mariano in to face Scutaro, Ellsbury & Gonzalez.  Crap.

Crazy things started to happen.  Scutaro skies a 2-2 cutter 70 feet high and it rattles high off the monster on its declining arc.  Double.

Then, Ells drops a perfect bunt and advances Scutaro to 3rd, almost beating Mo’s throw to first for a single.

Pedey steps in.  Mo fires an inside strike which the ump calls a ball.  The Little Man then clocks Rivera’s  next offering on the line to Gardner in left and Scutaro beats the throw to the plate by 8 feet.  Adrian Gonzales grounds out, 6 – 3.  Score tied, 2 – 2.  Extra innings.

Top of the 10th.  Bard K’s Tex.  Bard breaks Cano’s bat & grounds him out, 4-3.  Bard strikes out Swisher looking on an 83 mph curve that drops over the outside corner.  Here comes Youk, Ortiz and Crawford.

Bottom of the 10th.  Hughes pitching.  Youk flies to Granderson.  Papi gets around on a 2 -2 heater and smashes it on 1 hop into the right field grandstand for a double.  Darnell McDonald pinch running.  Hughes intentionally walks Crawford.  Up steps Reddick.

Reddick is 0 for 4 this night, having been fooled by Garcia’s variable speeds all night.  But his skid ends suddenly.  Josh lines Hughes first pitch down the left field line in fair territory, the ball scooting for the wall.  McDonald scores easily.

Good guys win.  Dirty Water plays.  The Sox do in fact take two of three.

The weekend brings us no closer to determining a winner, really.  The team with the $160 million payroll is 1 game ahead of the team with the $210 million payroll — with 50+ games left to be played.

But one thing we have learned is that these two teams are well matched.  Two of the three games were decided by 1 run.

Do not be beguiled by the Sox 10 -2 record against the Yankees this season.  The Baseball Gods do not care what you did yesterday, or how bad you looked in your last 4 at bats.

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