Missed it by that
Chien-Ming Wang didn't make it past the third inning, Kevin Youkilis homered and drove in two and Jonathan Papelbon picked up his 15th save of the season as the Red Sox outlasted the Yanks 6-5
in Boston. Jorge Posada launched his 13th tater of the year in the second inning and Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira went back-to-back (and a belly to belly) in the seventh but it wasn't enough to stop Boston from moving into first place in the AL East -- one game ahead of the Bombers.
The Yankees battled back from a 6-2 deficit and had several chances to push across more runs (they outhit Boston 11 to 9 Wednesday night) but couldn't get over the hump. Their missed opportunities were crystallized in the ninth when Alex Rodriguez worked a one-out walk and Ramiro Pena (who came in to pinch-run) swiped second. But Robinson Cano went down swinging and Posada flew out to left to end the threat and the game. Bitter.
I was surprised that Joe Girardi went to Phil Hughes when Wang faltered in the third (John Flaherty on YES agreed. I always liked Flash), but he did an admirable job. Hughes worked 3 2/3 innings and struck out five, but he also served up Youkilis' two-run jack in the fourth inning. And that turned out to be the margin of victory.
O cruel fate! Why do you mock me?The Good:
Mark Teixeira. There's usually a bit of concern for a hitter that facing a knuckle-baller could wreck his swing. Especially if he's in a groove. Well, that didn't apply to Teixeira Wednesday night. The switch-hitter decided to bat righty against Tim Wakefield and that plan worked. Big time. Tex singled and doubled twice in three at-bats against Wakefield. Then he flipped over to the left side in the seventh and greeted Ramon Ramirez with his 19th round-tripper of the year. When you're hot, you're hot. Teixeira finished 4 for 5 with 2 runs scored and an RBI.The Bad:
Chien-Ming Wang. I thought it was a good omen when Dustin Pedroia led off the first inning with a groundout to shortstop. But Wang followed that up by walking J.D. Drew (the first of three free passes in the frame) as the Red Sox eventually took a 1-0 lead after one inning. But my spirits were still up. The Wanger was lucky to give up just the one run in the first inning, I thought -- maybe he'll settle down. Didn't happen. Wang threw too many pitches and too many of them were well out of the strike zone. I could make more excuses and say Wang was unlucky when Nick Green reached on an infield single to lead off the second inning and victimized by Nick Swisher's poor defensive play later on in the frame, but that would be weak. I'm almost positive Wang will get another start, but the Yanks (and Wang) have to be concerned. Deeply concerned. Wang dropped to 0-4 with this mess: 2.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 HR.
Derek Jeter. The Captain has a knack from coming through in the clutch, but his mojo wasn't working Wednesday night. Jeter had three chances to knock in a runner in scoring position and came up empty each time. DJ flew out to center in the second, stranding Hideki Matsui at third base; left Swisher at second base with another fly out to center in the fourth and struck out in the eighth with Brett Gardner at second base. Not a night for the time capsule. Jeter finished 0 for 5.The Ugly:
Unlucky seven. This is madness. The Yanks strutted into Tuesday night's tilt against the BoSox with renewed confidence and a feeling that things would be different after dropping the first five games against their archrivals. Well, nothing (nothing!) has changed. The Bombers have now dropped their first seven (yes, seven!) games against Boston this season. It doesn't help that Girardi said before Tuesday's opener that this three-game series was big. Sometimes a team just has your number, but this is unacceptable. This sort of thing could happen when one team is superior to the other -- but even then it's hard to drop seven straight games to a ballclub. And it's not like the Red Sox are infinitely better than the Yankees. Are they?
The Yanks will try to avoid the sweep Thursday night and send CC Sabathia (5-3, 3.56 ERA) against Brad Penny (5-2, 5.85
ERA). Sabathia is 4-0 in his past
six starts, but picked up a no-decision his last time out against the
Tampa Bay Rays, surrendering five runs (four earned) through eight
innings in an eventual 9-7 Rays win. It was the most runs he's allowed
since May 2 when he also gave up five runs (four earned) against the
Los Angeles Angels. The Halos were also the last team to tag Sabathia
with a loss. The big southpaw is 4-2 with a 3.07 ERA in six road starts
this year and is holding lefty batters to a meager .176 average.
Sabathia is 2-4 with a 3.91 ERA in seven career starts against the Red
Sox and is 1-1 with a 2.35 ERA in three lifetime starts at Fenway
Park. Penny was roughed up in his last start against the Texas
Rangers, allowing five runs on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings in a 5-1
loss. It was Penny's first "L" since the Rays beat him 5-3 on May 3.
Penny is 3-1 in six night starts this season, despite a bloated 7.12
ERA. The right-hander is 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA in one career start
against the Yankees.
The odds are in our favor. Right?