While tonight’s game was quite a bit better than last night’s game, it wasn’t free of any drama, like most Yankees-Red Sox games tend to be. And before the game, last night’s drama continued to unfold.
Michael Pineda is suspended for 10 games for his use of pine tar last night, something he accepts as his punishment for violating the rules. He will be eligible to return on May 5. The Yankees are to now carry a 24-man roster during the suspension. And in so doing have made some roster moves to make up for an increase need in pitching. They optioned Dean Anna and Preston Claiborne to AAA, while signing pitcher Bruce Billings and recalling pitcher Shane Greene from AAA. (You can also read GM Brian Cashman’s reaction and response to the entire situation with Pineda here.)
And then they played a game. CC Sabathia got the start for the Yankees, throwing 106 pitches over 6 innings, giving up 2 runs, 3 walks, and just 3 hits. And while he was very strong through most of the outing, his weak point was the 3rd inning (and not the 6th, like usual). A walk and a double put runners in scoring position, so that a sacrifice fly and another double scored those 2 runs. But Sabathia was able to keep the Red Sox at just those 2 runs, despite some close calls that inning.
The Yankees opted for Greene in the 7th, but his fresh recall did him no favors as he threw 23 pitches to get just 1 out. A lead-off walk and fielding error (the only one the Yankees got tonight) put runners on the corners, and a passed ball allowed a run to score. He struck out that batter, but then walked the next 2 to load the bases. So they called on Adam Warren to get them out of the inning. A sacrifice fly and a double would score 2 more runs for the Red Sox before Warren got out of that inning. Warren came back for the 8th and got a quick 3 outs. And though it wouldn’t be a closing situation, it was David Robertson in the 9th, perhaps just to give him some pitching time since coming off the DL Tuesday. And he did it in 12 pitches for a quick final inning.
Of course, all this would have been for naught if not for the fact that the Red Sox’s starter wasn’t nearly as sharp as their starter last night. The Yankee bats came alive in the first third and last third of the game and just became relentless. Perhaps they were making up for some recent offensive shortages. But still, it made for that friendly rivalry to flip on its end after last night’s kerfuffle.
Every starting player on the roster made it on base at least once during the game, most actually were on base 3 times. It was basically a pitching nightmare for Boston, not that I’m complaining. The Yankees racked up a total of 14 hits and 12 walks and just 2 strikeouts. It was not a good day to be a Red Sox pitcher.
In the 1st inning, with 2 outs, Carlos Beltran reached on a fielding error (the first of 5 the Red Sox would make tonight) and then scored on Alfonso Soriano’s double. Brett Gardner led off the 2nd inning with the first of 3 total walks, and Brian Roberts reached on a catching error. They both scored on Yangervis Solarte’s double. Solarte would score on a wild pitch, a call that was originally called a hit-by-pitch but overturned on a Yankees challenge.
Mark Teixeira led off the 3rd inning with his first home run of the season, something he did with panache as he let it sail over the Green Monster (the hardest kind of home run to hit in Fenway). Gardner reached on a fielding error and promptly stole both 2nd and 3rd before scoring on Roberts’ single. Roberts stole 2nd base and scored on Jacoby Ellsbury’s single. All this made the Yankees up 7-0 and forced the Red Sox to change pitchers just to get out of the 3rd inning.
Then the Red Sox pitchers seemed to settle in for the next 3 innings, pitching their way out of some situations that threatened to add to the Yankees lead.
In the 7th inning, the Yankees struck again and just messed up any chance the Red Sox had at recovery for tonight’s game, going into the inning 7-2 Yankees. They quickly loaded the bases as McCann singled, Gardner walked (no surprise), and Roberts reached on a fielding error. Solarte’s single scored McCann and Gardner, Ellsbury’s ground-rule double scored Roberts, and Derek Jeter’s single scored Solarte and Ellsbury. And there’s still no outs in the inning, but the Yankees couldn’t capitalize on another bases loaded situation as the Red Sox opted for a new pitcher to get them out of that messy inning.
They added 2 more runs in the 8th and 9th innings. Roberts and Ellsbury on base with a single and a double, Roberts would scored on a wild pitch in the 8th. And with 2 outs in the 9th, the pitcher loads the bases with walks to Gardner, Roberts, and Solarte before walking in Gardner with a walk to Ellsbury. And if you’re keeping up that’s 14 Yankee runs. Yes, the score was 14-5 Yankees. A win indeed, and they won the series against Boston 2-1.
The Yankees had the pitching, the batting, and the defense tonight, and rightly so, they had the game. The same cannot be said about the Red Sox. Sometimes, I wonder how a team that is so clean and perfect one night can just dissolve into a form of chaos the next, but I see it happen all the time in baseball. They call it the human factor. Perhaps, but there is a reason you play on teams in baseball — so that when you’re having an off-day, the rest of the team can help carry you when you can’t seem to put one foot in front of the other. As we’ve seen in this last week, pitching is crucial and a win is not within sight if the pitching’s off, but it’s the team that can carry bad pitching through to the end without dissolving into a mess. That is, if the team shows up for work that day. The Yankees missed a couple of team days this week. Thankfully, tonight, they all showed up for work.