With the right-handed Clay Buchholz on the mound for the Sox, Raul Ibanez was getting the start in left-field. A poster at Yankees Fans Unite pointed out that the smaller left-field at Fenway Park was going to help the loss of range the Yankees have now that Gardner is on the DL. Great point, and it makes me feel better for at least the next three days. ARod got the start at DH, with Eric Chavez starting at 3B.
Dustin Pedroia started things off by doing his impression of Luis Castillo, dropping Jeter's pop-up to shallow RF. Jeter moved to 2B on a wild pitch by Buchholz, then was driven in on a base hit by ARod. Cano hit a ball to deep CF, but it was tracked down and caught, followed by a ground-out by Teixeira, ending the early threat. From that point on the game was decided on solo home runs. Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez hit solo shots in the 2nd inning, giving the Yankees a 3-1 lead. Nothing really happened in the 3rd, but Chavez came up again in the 4th and put another ball into the seats. After the Chavez homer it looked like Russell Martin was going to break out of his slump, but Jason Repko made a spectacular catch to rob him. Goes to show you that when a player is slumping, nothing goes his way. The next inning ARod got into the HR act, hitting a ball that the guys from Deadliest Catch couldn't lure in. Martin came up again in the 6th inning and made sure nobody was going to stop him this time, giving the Yankees yet another solo-HR in the game.
Pedroia's name, not his number since they weren't wearing numbers on Friday, came up again in the bottom of the 1st as he hit a single just out of reach of Cano. But Nova was able to get out of the inning without anything else good happening for the Red Sox. The 2nd inning didn't start off so well as Ortiz hit a HR just over the Green Monster in left-center, and Youkilis follwed that up with a double down the right field line. The inning could have gotten Boston back into things, but a ground out by Saltalamacchia, strikeout by Cody Ross, and groundout by Jason Repko ended things. Yanks fans know how frustrating it could be to have a RISP with 0 outs, and come away with nothing, but I still have a hard time feeling bad for Sox fans. The Sox should have come away with nothing in the 5th inning, but the sun was to Swisher what kryptonite was to Superman, allowing Avile's fly ball to drop for a run-scoring double. The only other trouble Nova got into came in the 6th inning, when Ortiz singled and Ivan hit Youkilis in the next AB. Saltalamacchia came up with 2 men on with only 1 out, but he did a great impression of a Yankee batter by hitting into a DP with RISP. Cory Wade took over in the 7th inning, and was a bit wild, but he was able to relax and only gave up a weak single up the middle. David Robertson did his usual "I'll let one man on, but nothing else will happen" act, striking out two in the 8th. Cody Eppley made his Yankee debut in the 9th, but he gave up a single to Saltalamacchia and was pulled. Girardi wasted no time going to Rivera, who closed out the game on two straight Ks and a ground out.
I don't understand bringing in Rivera then. The Yankees still had a 4-run lead, and if Joe was willing to use Rivera with a 4-run lead anyway why wait?
10.1 IP, 13 H, 9 R, 8 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, 1 HBP, 5 WP
That was Freddy Garcia's line after two starts heading into Saturday, which works out to a 6.97 ERA and 1.548 WHIP. Which is a far cry from the 0.00 ERA and 0.583 WHIP he put up in his first two starts, covering 12 innings (both were 6 inning starts), of the 2011 season for the Yankees. So would the Freddy we saw today be more like the 2011 version? In a word... no. Let's make that two words... hell's no! I would have rather taken Garcia's first start of the season, in which he threw 4.2 innings, giving up 4 hits, 3 earned runs, walking 3, striking out 3, hitting 1 batter, while throwing 5 WP. Because on Saturday Freddy wasn't even in the game long enough to break a sweat (which for him is something), as his line was 1.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 0 K. He was all over the place right from the start, making it look as though Russell Martin's glove had some type of baseball repellent on it. Freddy gave up three doubles in the 1st inning, and another double along with three singles in the 2nd, before being replaced by Clay Rapada. We saw David Phelps again in this game, but he wasn't as good as we've seen so far this season, as the kid gave up 3 ER and 6 H over 4 innings. But it's not often a team needs their bullpen to throw 7.1 innings in a game, and even less often a team wins that game.
A lot of Yankee fans had tuned out of this one, as the Yankees were down 9-0 after 5 innings, and the offense could only muster 3 hits and draw 3 walks against Felix Doubront. The way the Yankee hitters were failing against the guy, you would think it was that other "Felix" that pitches out west. But that wasn't the case, as this "Felix" had only thrown 45.1 innings in MLB. Which wasn't helping Yankee fans feel better about watching their offense sputter time and time again for the first 5 innings. Mark Teixeira was able to homer in the 6th inning against Doubront, but strikeouts to Cano and ARod, and Granderson popping out to Mike Aviles at SS didn't help. But after the 6th inning this game took a huge 180 degree turn. The Yankees hit three singles, hit one double, drew one walk, ARod reached on an error, and Swish and Tex both hit home runs in a 7-run inning, cutting the Red Sox lead to one. After the Sox hitters weren't able to do any damage, the Yankee bats came to life again in the 8th. This time the team hit three singles, hit three doubles, walked three times (one was an intentional pass), and even hit into a double play, for 7 more runs.
This was looking like a laugher after six innings, with the Sox fans laughing at Yankee fans. And while it ended as a laugher still, it was Yankee fans laughing at Sox fans.
Jake Taylor Award*
Nick Swisher - 5/9, 3 R, 7 RBI, 1 BB, 2 HR, 1 2B
Curtis Granderson - 2/8, 3 K
Rick Vaughn Award*
Ivan Nova - Game 1: 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
Freddy Garcia - Game 2: 1.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (yes, this was a start)
@ Rangers 4/23 - 4/25
Click here to talk about the series at the Daily Sports Pages Yankees forum.
*The awards are named after one of the best baseball movies of all time... Major League.
Jake Taylor Award - Awarded to the most valuable position player. Named after the hard-nose veteran catcher that, despite making the league minimum, was the heart and soul of the 1989 American League East winning Cleveland Indians.
Gentry Award - Awarded to the least valuable position player. Named after the very first man cut from the 1989 Cleveland Indians, #47 Gentry. A man so insignificant he wasn't even given a first name.
Rick Vaughn - Awarded to the best pitcher in the series. This one is, of course, named after the "Wild Thing". The man that made Clu Haywood look silly in the division deciding game.
Kelner Award - Awarded to the worst pitcher in the series. Named after the Opening Day starter for the '89 Indians. Not a good game for Mr. Kelner, as Indians' announcer Harry Doyle famously quipped "thank God" after Kelner left the game. And yet another bad player without a first name.