Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Yankees 7, Red Sox 5

Well, this was a tough game to lose. The Yanks took the lead early, but gave the Sox plenty of chances to get back into it. They made it close, but still fell short. A quick recap, from my view from the bleachers:

- Jaret Wright's final line was very good - although I don't think he threw even 80 pitches, so I'm surprised he didn't even start the 6th - but he seemed to be in trouble all night. There were a lot of baserunners, no thanks to Robby Cano, but the impotent bottom third of the Boston lineup bailed him out twice. He got himself out of trouble, no doubt, but he lived on the edge all night.

- Not having Wily Mo Pena in the lineup killed the Sox. Not only was the bottom third Cora-Mirabelli-Harris, but when it came time to pinch-hit for Harris in the 6th, they had to use J.T. Snow, and then replace him in the outfield with Dustan Mohr, effectively ending any chance of pinch-hitting for Nixon later in the game.

- Tim Wakefield didn't pitch terribly. The solo shot to Damon was his fault, as were the two runs allowed in the third. But the 4th run was a result of A-Rod reaching base on a dropped third strike, advancing on another passed ball, and scoring on yet another passed ball. Good thing we ran Josh Bard out of town. Finally, in the seventh inning, he was clearly out of gas. He was over 100 pitches before he walked Jeter and Sheffield on 8 straight balls, but Francona didn't have anyone warming until the Jeter walk. The resulting A-Rod 3-run bomb was practically scripted.

- I was surprised at the way Torre managed the bullpen. I thought Wright would have pitched the 6th, but he brought in Proctor for the 6th and 7th, leaving him in to allow the 3-run shot to Manny (on a terrible 0-2 pitch). Then he burned Myers on Nixon (who he walked on five pitches) instead of saving him for Ortiz in the 8th or 9th (likely the 8th, the way it was going). This all led to using Farnsworth early, and when he got into trouble, bringing in Rivera to get five outs. It ended up working, but the game was closer than it had to be, and Proctor, Farnsworth, and Rivera all threw a lot of pitches.

- The Yankees LVP was definitely Myers (edging out Proctor and Cano). He comes in for one batter, a lefty who the Red Sox can't possibly pinch-hit for, and walks him on five pitches. Their MVP could have been any of Damon, Jeter, A-Rod, Rivera, or Wright. If pressed, I guess I'd have to go with Wright.

- The Red Sox LVP, hands down, was Doug Mirabelli. Not only did he have those three passed balls in the 6th directly leading to the Yankees' 4th run, but he also had a hideous at-bat in the bottom of the 7th (Varitek should have been pinch-hitting for him, but that's another story). There were two outs, Farnsworth was in with two men on. He had just walked Alex Cora on four straight pitches, so you'd expect that Dougie would take a pitch or two.

First pitch: swinging strike
Second pitch: swinging strike at a ball in the dirt
Third pitch: swinging strike at a ball in the dirt

Hands down, the worst at bat I've seen all year, and I've been subjected to a steady dose of Adam Stern and Willie Harris. Tough game to lose, but the Red Sox deserved to lose it. This is now, with Johnson vs. Clement tomorrow, a perfectly winnable series for the Yankees.

Red Sox MVP... Manny, I guess. Nobody else stood out.

Now I wish this Mets-Phillies game would end so I could go to bed...

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