Friday, September 14, 2007

Yankees @ Red Sox Liveblog

Since I didn't post a series preview, I figure I owe some kind of substantial contribution for the last regular-season meeting between the YANKS and the SAWX, as Michael Wilbon might say. As I said in the comments below about the pitching matchups, I think the Yankees have a slight advantage tonight because of Matsuzaka's recent struggles, I think tomorrow is even, and I think the Red Sox have a slight advantage on Sunday because of Clemens' elbow. So I'm a little down on tonight's game, but still excited.

Manny's still out of the lineup for the Sox, and Crisp was scratched at the last minute, so Boston's throwing out the ever-intimidating Kielty-Ellsbury-Drew outfield. That's about all that's newsworthy from the pre-game, so let's get going...

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7:12 - Damon reaches on an infield grounder that tipped off of Matsuzaka's glove. He was rushing to field the ball and get to first base at the same time, because for some reason Youkilis went after the ball as well. Not an encouraging start.

7:17 - Matsuzaka misses his spot badly on a 2-2 pitch and throws a heater up and in on Jeter, and the Boston crowd eats it up. You have to love drunken Bostonians. Or not.

7:22 - With Damon running on the 3-2 pitch, Abreu grounds it to second. Pedroia flips to Lugo to try to get the lead runner, and Lugo drops it for the E-6. You know, J.D. Drew gets all kinds of crap in this town for underachieving, but Lugo is having just as bad a year relative to his expectations, and he's getting a comparative free pass. I just wanted to point that out to everyone who thinks Boston is a racist town.

7:23 - Matsuzaka hits A-Rod on the first pitch with a curve that didn't break, and the Pink Hat Brigade cheers. Nothing like loading the bases with one out in the first inning to excite the home crowd. On the bright side, he avoided running the count full for the third straight batter.

7:29 - After getting Johnny Bench Jorge Posada to ground into a force-out at home, Matsuzaka gets Matsui to ground to short on his 22nd and final pitch of the inning, leaving the bases loaded. It could be a long night for Matsuzaka, and the rest of us, as the first half-inning took 19 minutes.

7:33 - "Gold Glover" Derek Jeter makes a low throw to first on a Julio Lugo grounder, and DH Jason Giambi can't dig it out, for another E-6. Yup, it's definitely going to be yet another of those four-plus hour Red Sox-Yankees games tonight. Hang on tight.

7:38 - Ortiz hits a double play ball to short, but Captain Intangibles boots it and can only get a jogging Ortiz at first for the second out. Let the record show that Manny Ramirez would get killed in this town for dogging it down the line like Ortiz just did.

7:42 - Pettitte strikes out Mike Lowell on a full count to end the first. Mike Lowell is this year's Mark Loretta: the gritty veteran with a good glove who won't be re-signed much to the fans' chagrin. There's already a groundswell of support to get him locked up out here. Um, he's 33! You don't just give guys his age long-term deals. Haven't these people learned anything from the Theo Epstein era?

7:47 - After Matsuzaka walks Giambi to start the second, NESN cuts to their sideline bimbo, Tina Cervasio, to introduce an interview clip that they already showed on the pre-game show that will prevent the audience from seeing two pitches to Cano. Gotta cater to those casual fans.

7:53 - With two out and Damon batting, Torre sends Giambi on a 1-2 count. Luckily for him, Damon fouled the pitch off, but what was he thinking? Somebody must have spiked his green tea. In the meantime, Damon strikes out looking to end the inning. 44 pitches for Matsuzaka.

7:59 - Yoooooooouk!!! The Greek God of Walks works the count full and then drops an opposite-field single to lead off the inning. This game may last until midnight.

8:01 - Or not, as Drew strikes out on four pitches. And Drew, who's OPS is 1.043 in September, gets booed off of the field. By the way, did you know Pettitte is the first Yankee to win the Pitcher of the Month since Kevin Brown in April of 2004? Every Yankee fan watching this broadcast just got sick to their stomach.

8:05 - Varitek walks to put men on first and second. It's a little early to say that this is a "miss" for hit-or-miss Andy Pettitte, but he hasn't been sharp this inning.

8:08 - Whatever happened to ESPN's dead-centerfield camera? Pettitte just threw a pitch that was called a strike that the commentators thought was a ball, and then a ball that they thought was a strike, and I think they were wrong on both, but it was hard to tell from this slightly askew angle. I liked the dead-center cam - they should bring it back.

8:10 - After Kielty forced Varitek at second, Ellsbury singles to center to bring in the first run of the game. To quote Ken Tremendous, "I have resisted drinking the Ellsbury Kool-Aid -- although it looks effing delicious."

8:13 - Lugo pops to second to end the inning. 1-0 Red Sox after 2 full, and they've already led for longer than they did in all three games in the Bronx two weeks ago.

8:15 - Patrice Bergeron and Glen Murray of the Boston Bruins are in the NESN booth right now, and within 20 seconds Don Orsillo casually mentions that tickets go on sale tomorrow (for a team that is now on their third coach since the last time they made the playoffs). Can I please just watch the Red Sox and Yankees play nine innings? Is that too much to ask??? They've already named the guy from "Entourage" their fan of the game (in the first inning, too... that has to be a record) and zoomed in on Tom Werner schmoozing with some actor whose name I don't remember. They have to realize that their hardcore fans are sickened by this inane noise on the side, right?

8:22 - There's a quick, 1-2-3, twelve-pitch inning for Matsuzaka. If he can build on that, I'll feel roughly 200% better about the Red Sox's chances in the playoffs.

8:28 - DeMarlo Hale stupidly sends David Ortiz and his bad knees home from second on a single, where he's easily gunned down by Willie Mays Melky Cabrera. DeMarlo must have thought Damon was playing the field tonight. By the way, that's Melky's 14th outfield assist. I don't watch him every day, obviously, but that's pretty amazing, no?

8:32 - Drew hits a hard grounder right at Giambi, but it goes right through him, scoring Lowell from second. That's only Giambi's first error of the season, which is slightly more amazing than Melky Cabrera's 14 assists.

8:37 - Pettitte strikes out Varitek to end the inning. 2-0 Red Sox after three.

8:40 - Back to the sideline bimbo to interview two race car drivers from the Roush Fenway Racing team, whatever the hell that means. One of them drives the Red Sox car, and the bimbo is now asking them if they "find themselves watching more Red Sox games" now that they're on the Roush Fenway team. This is riveting. While this was all happening, Posada worked a 3-1 count and doubled to deep center.

8:43 - Matsui triples to left, driving in Posada on a ball that almost went out and may have been misplayed by Drew, for his first hit ever against his countryman, Daisuke Matsuzaka. I blame the sideline bimbo and the entire NESN brain trust for whatever happens in the rest of this inning.

8:49 - Robinson Cano pulls a Dustin Pedroia and swings through 2 high fastballs with men on the corners, striking out for the first out. Big out for Matsuzaka, but he's still got some work to do to get out of this jam.

8:52 - Matsuzaka gets out of the inning by getting Melky Cabrera to ground into the 6-4-3. Melky finished it off with something I've never seen - the feet-first slide into first base. What?!?!?!?

8:53 - My fiancée just called from Fenway to tell me that Sam Horn is making his way through the stands and campaigning for the fictitious "presidency" of Red Sox nation. I swear, the Red Sox will do anything to make money and/or make me want to poke my own eyes out.

8:55 - Mmmm... Ellsbury Kool-Aid. Jacoby singles to center to put men on the corners with no outs.

9:14 - Sorry for the delay, but I just got off the phone with my brother in New York - his TV feed was a few seconds behind mine, so I had to reign in my cheering while the Red Sox hung a crooked number. Quick recap: Ellsbury got picked off of first, but beat the throw to second, Pedroia singled in Kielty and Ellsbury, and advanced to second on the throw home (just beating the relay from Posada), Ortiz singled through the shift, sending Pedroia to third, and Pedroia scored on a high chopper from Lowell that died after Pettitte knocked it down. 5-1 Red Sox after four, Pettitte's sitting on 101(!!!) pitches already.

9:19 - Another guy from Roush Fenway Racing is in the booth with Don and Jerry. This is painful. I heard there was a high school football game on ESPNU... I'd probably check that out if I actually got ESPNU. If there's another NASCAR cross-promotion during this game, I'm promising right now that I'll start watching TiVo'd episodes of Jeopardy!

9:29 - After getting Damon on a fly out to right, Matsuzaka strikes out Jeter and A-Rod looking on opposite ends of an Abreu walk to end the top of the fifth. Matsuzaka's at 98 pitches through five, 5-1 Red Sox. I'd be mildly surprised if Pettitte came back out to start the bottom of the fifth.

9:32 - And here's Jose Veras, making his second appearance of the season.

9:39 - And here's Jose Veras, sending the side down in order. Bah.

9:42 - Posada misses a home run by less than a foot, and misses getting thrown out at second by a little bit more. 100 pitches for Matsuzaka now, and double-barreled action in the Red Sox bullpen (Lopez and Timlin).

9:45 - Matsui walks as we cut to highlights of the Tigers game (they're losing 2-1 to the Twins). Giambi's now up with 2 on and nobody out. This would seem like a good time for Javier Lopez, but Terry Francona disagrees. Hey, Giambi's only 3-for-5 lifetime against Matsuzaka - what do I know?

9:47 - Nothing, apparently. Giambi strikes out swinging. 108 pitches now as Cano (0-for-2, 2 K's) comes to the plate.

9:55 - After Cano flies out, Cabrera walks to load the bases, and that will do it for Matsuzaka after 120 pitches. With Damon coming up and the situation ripe for the Yankees to get back into the game, Francona naturally calls in... the righty, Mike Timlin! Look, I love his veteranosity as much as anyone (note: this is a lie), but you need this out right now. I think you have to go to the lefty to try to get out of this inning.

10:00 - Timlin just threw a curve inside that Damon slid out of the way of. He should have taken the HBP - it would have meant a run. 1-2 count now.

10:01 - Infield single on a chopper over the mound; 5-2 Red Sox with Jeter coming up. Now I guess it's good to have the righty in - this must have been the match-up that Francona was playing for.

10:06 - Jeter strikes out swinging, and Varitek touches the plate after dropping the third strike. 5-2 Sox after six full. It's a battle of the bullpens now.

10:15 - What do you call it when you've got two pitchers warming up, but they're both lefties (like Lopez and Okajima now)? Would it be dual-barreled action instead of double-barreled? I think something like that needs a name.

10:20 - With the runners going, Lowell flies out to Abreu, who tries to double Ortiz off of first to end the inning. And he had him by at least ten feet, only Giambi dropped the ball and fell off of the bag trying to reach for it after he dropped it. This at least makes up for all of the highlight reel plays he made in the last series.

10:23 - Youkilis capitalizes on the error by singling to center, driving in Lugo. 6-2 now, and that will do it for Veras, who pitched pretty well before being done in by bloops and errors.

10:27 - Facing Sean Henn, Drew singles in Ortiz, with Youkilis barely advancing to third on the play. 7-2 Sox now. Updating the Tigers score, it's 4-2 Detroit in the seventh.

10:31 - Henn walks Varitek to load the bases, and in comes Brian Bruney. By the way, we're still in the sixth inning.

10:35 - Bruney leaves 'em loaded by striking out Kielty, and it's 7-2 after 6. The four and a half hour game Danielle and I went to last year during the 5-game sweep was the longest 9-inning game in history, but this has a good chance of beating it. Which would mean my fiancée has been at the TWO longest nine-inning MLB games of all time. That's pretty crazy.

10:38 - Lopez is in finally to face Abreu - if he gets him for the first out, then you might as well let him keep going. It'll be interesting to see how Francona plays the late innings if they're still up five - no need to burn Okajima and Papelbon if you've still got a big lead, but this is an important game.

10:44 - And in comes Okajima after Lopez gets two outs before walking Posada. Not sure why you'd take one lefty out for another, but that's why I'm not managing a major league team.

10:50 - Matsui flies to left to end the inning. I can't believe there are at least two full innings to go.

10:57 - 1-2-3 seventh for Bruney. I'm almost ready for bed.

11:01 - Giambi leads off the top of the 8th with a solo shot off of Okajima. You're not helping, Jason. 7-3 Red Sox.

11:03 - Oh boy... now Cano goes yard and it's 7-4. Papelbon is warming up, and I went from wishing they didn't have to use him tonight to hoping that they hang on for the win.

11:07 - Ugh, now Damon's on second and Cabrera on third, and Papelbon has to come in for six outs. This is about as bad as it could get given where we were ten minutes ago.

11:11 - Jeter inevitably singles, and now it's 7-5 with runners on the corners and nobody out. This is unfortunate.

11:12 - Oh, fuck. Abreu doubles high off the center field wall, tying the game at seven, and advances to third on the throw to the plate. Good lord, there's still nobody out.

11:14 - And... A-Rod gives the Yankees the lead with a single to left. Why the hell was Okajima in this game? Now Rivera's warming up, Papelbon's got nothing, and you're counting on Gagne and Delcarmen to hang onto any late leads you might have tomorrow. This is just going swimmingly.

11:16 - Yes, I'm incredibly bitter right now, but I'm going to say this anyway... I'd like to punch Shelly Duncan in the face. He's just really annoying-looking.

11:22 - After giving up the lead, Papelbon gets the next three guys in order and screams at himself on his way off of the mound. Unless the Red Sox score two quick runs in the bottom of the 8th, this will break the record for longest 9-inning game ever, which is ludicrously amazing (on a related note, I'm never doing a liveblog again).

11:26 - In probably the biggest at bat of the game for the Red Sox, Luis Vizcaino gets Ortiz to ground out into the shift. They need something now to avoid having to come back against Rivera.

11:28 - Lowell strikes out but reaches on a passed ball. Of course - how else could this game get weirder? Crisp is in to run, guaranteeing that we'll see some of Eric Hinske before it's all said and done. Manny had better be available to pinch-hit in this game.

11:31 - A quick fly out from Youkilis is followed by Crisp getting caught stealing second (barely), and it's almost time for Rivera to face the bottom of the order. We're at 4:20 and counting, and I'm very grouchy.

11:34 - In comes the gas can (Eric Gagne) to put the finishing touches on this brutal loss. I smell insurance runs.

11:37 - You know how inevitable it is that Gagne gives up runs here? Torre has Matt DeSalvo warming up in the ninth inning of a one-run game. Just the sight of Gagne makes the Yankees wonder if they could somehow save Rivera for another day. Unreal.

11:44 - With two outs in the ninth inning, Damon doubles off the left field wall in his sixth at-bat of the game.

11:45 - The Scott Boras connection (Gagne and Drew) retire Jeter on a fly ball to right, and here comes Rivera to ensure that I toss and turn all night.

11:47 - Drew, Varitek, and Kielty are due up against Rivera - if Manny doesn't hit for Kielty... I don't even know what to say.

11:49 - Drew singles under the glove of an unnecessarily-sliding Cano, and we're seven minutes from the longest nine-inning game ever. And yes, I keep thinking about the record to keep my mind off of bad things like double-play balls.

11:52 - Varitek strikes out swinging after chasing a high fastball on the previous pitch. Kielty is hitting for himself. This can't be happening.

11:53 - Kielty pops to center, and there's one out to go. It looks like Ellsbury's going to hit for himself. No pressure, kid. Two minutes away.

11:55 - Ellsbury strikes out one minute short of the record. I hate myself.

1 comment:

Sully said...

Just to back up my bitter statements about Shelly Duncan, here is a charming, role-modelish thing to do to a 10-year old.