In this season, which see the Yankees 12.5 games behind Boston on June 4th, the Yankees lose games like this one. They jump out to early leads, they give the leads up, and they don’t battle back. That’s just the way things have gone.
In this season, which sees Boston double-digits ahead of the rest of the A.L. East, the Red Sox win games like this one. Even when their starters are putrid, even when their pen hits a bump in the road, they rally back, and they win. That’s just the way things have gone.
Tonight, maybe those two trends have reversed themselves. The Yankees did what they’ve failed to do all year. They battled for nine strong innings, and came back to beat the Sox 6–5 and take the series 2–1.
In a refreshing turn of events, the bull pen picked Andy Pettitte up. Luis Vizcaino came in in a tough situation, minimized the damage, then Farnsworth, Bruney and Mo took over. Mo’s stuff was electric, and he went through the heart of the Boston order like a buzz saw.
The Yanks failed to score with runners on third and less than two outs twice in the final three innings. In the eighth, I thought Joe should’ve tried a suicide squeeze with Cano on third and Melky at the plate. Honestly, there aren’t many situations where you can justify a squeeze with the Yankee lineup, this was one of them.
In the ninth, I was sure the game was a lost cause. Two outs, A-Rod down 0–2 in the count to Papelbon. I bought the hype. A-Rod didn’t. His game-winning bomb was his biggest hit as a Yankee, bar none. Maybe the biggest, most clutch hit of his career. I realize it’s June third, but that HR sent a message to the Sox. They’re in for a dog fight for the rest of the year.
A few things for Sox fans to chew on: Josh Beckett, Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon. The ace of the Sox staff, their number one set-up guy and their closer combined for 8.2 innings, 11 hits, 6 earned runs, 1 blown save and 1 loss.
In other news, Kevin Youkilis is a sissy. Three times in this game he was hit by a ball. Once, he fouled a ball off his shin guard, once he took a throw from third off his knee, and once he was hit on the forearm with a pitch. Each time, Youkilis reacted like he was shot. Toughen up or shave the goatee, sissy.
Jon Miller and Joe Morgan spent about 1.5 hours discussing A-Rod's transgressions during the game tonight. They were pretty level-headed about it, and for once, Joe Morgan made sense. They spent exactly 30 seconds talking about the Mike Lowell play from yesterday.
SportsCenter also had about a 10–minute piece this afternoon about how A-Rod has been horrible since April. Apparently, the April numbers don’t count. I’m glad he came through tonight, I didn’t expect it, and I feel ashamed.
There’s something about A-Rod this year, and I think it relates back to his quick start. There is so much nonsense swirling around him, even more than there was his first three years in New York. The difference: This year it isn’t affecting him. He isn’t taking it out on the field with him. He’s going out there, every day, and he isn’t pressing. He isn’t as nervous as he was. He seems to be handling NY much, much better.
Player of the Game: Mr. April, as ESPN dubbed him today. 2 for 5, 1 run, 2 RBIs, 1 HR. Honorable mention goes to Luis Vizcaino. Every Yankee fan in the world muttered an obscenity when they saw Vizcaino come in to relieve Pettitte in the fifth. Luis went 1.2 innings and held the Sox right where they were. Great job.