With some help from Jason Giambi, the New York Yankees avoided a three game sweep by beating the Boston Red Sox 3-2 yesterday afternoon at Yankee Stadium. Giambi hit a pinch hit homerun in the seventh inning to tie the game at 2-2 and then delivered in the clutch once again in the ninth inning, knocking home the game winning run off of Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon. The game was the last meeting between the two teams at Yankee Stadium before the park is set to close following the culmination of the 2008 season.
The Yankees who had dropped to 7 games behind the Red Sox in the Wild Card race following Wednesday night’s defeat needed a win badly to keep the thought of the playoffs alive, and with Giambi’s heroics, they still have some life.
“We have a pulse,” Giambi said. “Hopefully, this will jump-start this ballclub.”
The Red Sox took a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning when they were able to piece together two hits and a hit batsmen off of Yankees starter Mike Mussina to go ahead. Jason Varitek collected an RBI single and Jacoby Ellsbury drove in the second run on a fielder’s choice.
Sox starter Jon Lester was brilliant through 7 2/3 innings allowing only five hits while striking out eight over the outing. He was removed after allowing a two-out double to Cody Ransom on his 119th pitch of the afternoon. Hideki Okajima came on in relief to face Jose Molina, but in an odd move, Yankees manger Joe Girardi called for the lefty Giambi to pinch hit against the left handed pitcher.
Turns out Girardi knew what he was doing. Giambi sent Okajima’s second pitch over the center field wall to even the score and energize the stagnant Yankees lineup.
“We’ve been stale. We haven’t been able to get the big hit. We haven’t been able to make a big pitch,” Giambi said. “Hopefully, this turns it around.”
The Yankees bullpen was able to keep the Sox at bay in the eighth and ninth innings setting the stage for some fireworks in their bottom of the ninth. Justin Masterson was on the mound for the Sox and allowed a leadoff single to Xaiver Nady. After a line out by Robinson Cano and a stolen base by pinch runner B Gardner, the Sox chose to intentionally walk Hideki Matsui to set up a double play or force out at third. Sounds like a good plan but Masterson followed up by issuing another walk to Ivan Rodriguez to load the bases for Giambi with only one out.
Sox manager Terry Francona summoned his closer in Papelbon to try and get out of the jam but even he could not work his way out of this one. Giambi laced the game winning RBI single up the middle on an 0-2 96 mph Papelbon fastball.
“I don’t care about the first two games—this one hurt,” Francona said. “We played our hearts out. We lost a really tough game.”
The Sox head back to Boston after going 6-3 on their nine game road trip, winning all there of the series 2 games to 1. Of their 29 remaining games, 20 of them will be played at Fenway Park where they’ve collectively gone 43-18 this season for a .705 winning percentage, the second best home percentage in the American League behind Tampa Bay.
Tonight, the Red Sox welcome the Chicago White Sox to town for a three game series. Pitching for Boston will be Dice-K Matsuzaka (15-2, 2.98 ERA) vs. Chicago’s Javier Vazquez (10-11, 4.37 ERA). Dice-K currently has as many wins this season as he posted in his MLB rookie campaign last year, and is looking to surpass that mark for the second start. This past Sunday, he did not factor into the decision of Boston’s 6-5 extra inning victory over Toronto.
Tickets are still available for this weekend’s games vs. Chicago as well as next week’s series vs. Baltimore. The Sox will break MLB’s consecutive sellout streak of Fenway Park this coming Wednesday afternoon and ACE has your seats to the game!
The Boston Red Sox are making sure to savor ever moment of their final visit to Yankee Stadium and after their 11-3 pounding of New York last night, the Yankees can not wait to see them leave. Dustin Pedroia belted a grand-slam, David Ortiz reached base four times for the second straight night and Jason Bay collected two hits and four RBI’s as the Sox routed New York, again, in front of a disappointed Bronx crowd. After the loss, the Yankees find themselves 7 games behind the Sox in the Wild Card race and 10.5 games behind the division leading Tampa Bay Rays.
“We just dug ourselves a bigger hole,” New York’s Johnny Damon said. “This is definitely a tough time for us.”
For Boston, Paul Byrd tossed six strong innings allowing two runs on five hits while recording five strike outs. The win improves his post All-Star game record to 6-1 and has helped stabilize the bottom half of the Sox rotation with more consistent starts then they’d been used to. His performance last night was reminiscent of when he finished off the Yankees in New York last season in the ALDS series with Cleveland to advance to the ALCS against Boston.
“When I walked into this clubhouse, I remembered getting champagne poured on me right over there, about 20 feet away, and I got a smile on my face because it just has a good memory to me,” Byrd said. “And I know this is the last year of the stadium, so you think about that.”
Boston exploded for seven runs in the eighth inning to put the hammer on the struggling Yankees. The big blow came with one out when Pedroia belted his first career grand slam off of relief pitcher Jose Veras, making the score 11-2 at the time. The win certainly keeps the teams spirits high but they know that it’s far to early to count the Yankees out of the race.
“I never write the Yankees off until the season’s over and the standings are set,” Pedroia said. “They’ve been around too long and been in the playoffs for such a long time that we’re definitely not counting them out.”
Pedroia finished the night 3-5 at the plate, scoring three runs and driving in four RBI’s all on the slam. Bay also collected four RBI’s by going 2-4 that included a triple in the first inning to get things going for the Sox. He now has six RBI’s in his two games against the clubs rivals.
“Two games doesn’t make a lifetime. It doesn’t make a career,” he said. “The whole month I’ve been here has kind of been a Red Sox-Yankee series for me.”
Since joining Boston at the trade deadline, Bay has done nothing but produce. He’s batting .347 with four homeruns and 24 RBI’s in 23 games.
The Sox will go for the sweep today and send Jon Lester to the mound to face Mike Mussina. Lester is coming off of his worst outing of the season while the Yankees have won the last five of Mussina’s starts. If the Sox could come out on top, a sweep would be the first at Yankee Stadium for them since April 23-25, 2004, and only their second in the Bronx this decade.
Following today’s game the Sox head back to Fenway Park for a six-game home stand that will feature an afternoon game on Sept. 3rd when the Red Sox will break the MLB record for consecutive sellouts. Tickets are still available for all games during this homestand!
After spending the past two and a half weeks on the DL with stiffness in his lower back and tendinitis in his pitching shoulder, Tim Wakefield, the Red Sox 42-year old pitcher, looked like he hadn’t missed a beat Tuesday night hurling five innings and allowing only three runs on eight hits which was good enough to lead Boston past New York 7-3 in front of a Yankee Stadium crowd of over 55,000 fans.
Besides a pair of Johnny Damon solo homeruns, his 10th and 11th of the season, Wakefield shut down the potent Yankees lineup with knuckleball after knuckleball. He was able to keep himself out of trouble most of the night by working ahead in the count and not allowing leadoff men to reach base. The Boston bullpen was able to preserve Wake’s 8th win of the season by pitching four shutout innings in which they allowed only two hits.
“Phenomenal job,” Wakefield said of his teammates who were able to finish the game off.
The Yankees jumped in front when Johnny Damon led off the bottom of the first inning with his 10th homerun of the year off of Wakefield but the Sox quickly answered scoring a run in the top of the second inning on an RBI single by Jacoby Ellsbury, tying the score at 1-1. Jose Molina connected on a two out single in the bottom of the second inning to drive in Hideki Matsui, putting the Yankees back ahead 2-1, but again, the Sox would come right back with the answer scoring twice in the top of the third with three consecutive hits off of Yankees starting pitcher Andy Pettitte. DH David Ortiz led off the inning with a double and scored when Kevin Youkilis drove him home in the next at bat with a double of his home. Jason Bay got into the hitting action connecting on an RBI single to plate Youkilis to put Boston ahead for good 3-2.
The Red Sox chased Pettitte from the game in the fifth inning when they were able to score three more runs on four hits. Coco Crisp knocked an RBI single to right-center field to put Boston a head 4-2 and then the big blow came when Bay drove home two more runs on his second hit of the night to put Boston on top 6-2. Bay would later add another RBI on a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning to round out the Red Sox scoring.
New York did have some chances in the later innings to get back into this one, and they had the right guys up at the plate but just could not get the clutch hit they needed. Reigning AL MVP Alex Rodriguez went 0-5 on the night including grounding into two double plays, once with the bases loaded, and striking out twice, once to end the game. He was loudly booed by the Yankee Stadium crowd as the loss dropped New York 6 games behind the Sox for the Wild Card race and 9.5 games behind Tampa Bay for the division race.
“Tonight, you can put it on me,” Rodriguez said. “It was a lousy night. We pretty much screwed it up every way you can screw it up. There’s absolutely no excuse.”
Sox relief pitcher Justin Masterson was summoned to face Rodriguez with the bases loaded and only one out in the seventh inning. Masterson who is known as a groundball pitcher was able to force A-Rod to ground into an inning ending 4-6-3 double play.
When manager Terry Francona was asked about whether or not he thought twice about making the move to the rookie he said, “Poise is not a problem for him. He gives us options. We feel comfortable using him late in the game and he deserves it.”
After the big out last night, A-Rod is now 1-10 on the season with the bases loaded and 0-7 with the bases loaded when there were less then two outs in the inning. He’s now grounded into nine double plays over the last 19 games.
“I want him in that situation,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I’ve seen him change a game with one swing.”
Rodriguez and the Yankees will get a chance to even the series tonight when they face RHP Paul Byrd. Byrd is 1-1 since being traded to Boston from the Cleveland Indians and is probably thrilled to face another team besides the Toronto Blue Jays, whom he has faced in his last three starts going 2-1 with a 3.29 ERA. Since the All-Star break, Byrd is 5-1 and sporting a 2.55 ERA over that span. Byrd is excited to pitch against the Yankees with his new team, especially with All-Star catcher Jason Varitek calling his pitches.
“I knew he was a good catcher, but he’s a great receiver,” Byrd said. “He’s really good. He blocks the ball better than I thought he did. What he brings behind the plate, a wealth of knowledge against the hitters is great. I’ve enjoyed throwing to him. I think we’ve jelled pretty quickly.”
The Yankees will counter with RHP Sidney Ponson who is 7-4 on the year with a 4.67 ERA. He’s lost his last two decisions and is coming off his shortest outing of the season when he lasted only 2+ innings against Toronto allowing eight hits and seven earned runs in the Blue Jays 14-3 win over New York last Thursday.
Tonight’s first pitch is at 7:05pm EST.
The rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees will live on after the 2008 season, however, Yankee Stadium will not. Over the next month, the ‘House that Ruth Built’ will be seeing its final stretch of games before the doors close for good, highlighted by the three game series with the Red Sox which begins tonight. Over the history of the ballpark, the Red Sox and Yankees have met 770 times in New York during the regular season with the Yankees owning an impressive 483-283 advantage with four ties mixed in over the years.
“Because of the media and the fans, there’s more energy or electricity in the ballpark, but you can’t bring in a pitcher an inning earlier. They don’t give you two wins when you beat the Yankees, so you can’t do it differently,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said ahead of the three-game series.
Heading into tonight’s matchup, the Sox hold a five game lead over the Yankees in the wild-card race but with a total of six remaining meetings between the two teams, it is far too early to count the Bronx Bombers out of the race. Last year, it appeared the Yankees streak of 12 consecutive seasons of qualifying for the playoffs was in jeopardy but they played amazing baseball over the final six weeks to squeak in with the wild card berth. If the Yanks can not win this series against Boston, their streak of 13 consecutive playoff bids will certainly be at risk once again.
“If we put on a run here, there’s no question we can make it,” Hank Steinbrenner, a Yankees’ co-chairman, said Monday night at the team’s spring training complex in Tampa, Fla. “There’s no question with the number of games we have left, it’s possible.”
One Sox player who is really excited about the series is newcomer Jason Bay. The recently acquired left-fielder has never experienced a rivalry with such magnitude as he’s about to, but he’s ready for it.
“I’m looking forward to it. That’s what you play baseball for is that type of atmosphere, those type of games,” said Bay, acquired by Boston from Pittsburgh last month in the Manny Ramirez trade.
Tonight, the Yankees will send veteran southpaw Andy Pettitte (13-9, 4.17 ERA) to the mound to face the Sox veteran knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (7-8, 3.67 ERA). The start will be Wakefield’s first since returning from the DL with stiffness in his lower back and right shoulder tenderness, causing him to miss two weeks of action.
Tomorrow’s matchup features two pitchers who have also been around the league for quite some time. The Yankees will let Sidney Ponson (7-4, 4.67 ERA) take the ball while Boston will hand it to Paul Byrd (8-11, 4.61 ERA). Ponson’s career began in 1998 while Byrd first pitched in the big leagues in 1995. The two have both logged over 1600 career innings pitched.
In the series finale, Mike Mussina (16-7, 3.45 ERA), will toss against Jon Lester (12-5, 3.49 ERA) in the last regular season game at Yankee Stadium between the two storied franchises. Lester is 2-0 in his young career against New York while Mussina boasts a lifetime record of 20-17 against Boston in 55 starts.
The series could make or break the last month for the Yankees but as far as the history of the stadium goes, Terry Francona just wants to focus on these three games and try to ignore the hype about everything else.
“I guess I felt more of that during the All-Star game because it was an All-Star game and you had time to maybe think about things,” he said. “When we’re playing the team, we’re just trying to beat them. That’s really what I care about. I don’t get too caught up in the other stuff.”
Tonight’s first pitch is at 7:05pm EST.
Not many people thought they would see Carl Pavano back on the mound for the Yankees, but this past Saturday the “American Idle” made his first start since April of 2007. The result was actually rather good. Pavano pitched five innings, giving up three runs on seven hits with five strike-outs. It was only Pavano’s 20th start since signing a large multi-year deal with the Yankees in 2005.
The Yankees got Pavano his first win since 2007 with help from Jason Giambi’s 25th homer and 3 RBI. Hideki Matsui also contributed with a solo shot of his own. The Yankees will need more of the same from Pavano if they still want a shot at post-season play. Without Chien-Ming Wang and Joba Chamberlain the Yankees are thin on starting pitching. The Yankees currently trail the Red Sox by 5 games in the AL Wild Card race.
The Yankees will open up a three game set against the Red Sox this Tuesday. Yankees tickets are still available for the game.
Is Hank Steinbrenner giving up on the 2008 season? Not really, but it sounds like he’s not too confident about the New York Yankees chances of making the playoffs this year. “I’m not writing off this season,” Hank said Tuesday. “They’re trying hard to win. There’s only so much you can do. They’re not supermen.” Indeed they are not. The Yankees have been decimated by injuries this season. They are currently without two of their top starters in Chien Ming Wang and Joba Chamberlain. Also out are starters Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui. Without the pitching it will be very hard for the Yankees to catch the teams ahead of them.
The Yankees currently trail the 1st place Rays by eight games and the 2nd place Red Sox by 5 games. Its no wonder why Hank is already thinking about 2009. “We’re going to win it next year,” he said. “If we need to add a top veteran pitcher, we’ll do that. We’ll do whatever we need to do. Next year we’ll be extremely dangerous.” At least he’s confident.
If the Yankees can win it all in 2009 it will certainly add some mystique to the new Yankee Stadium. Maybe it will be the House that A-Rod built! But, probably not.
The New York Yankees were able to end their series in Texas on a high note. After dropping the 1st two games of the series and losing Joba Chamberlain to injury, the Yankees bounced back to win the final two games against the Rangers. In last night’s win veteran Mike Mussina picked up his 15th win and the Yankees shutout a potent Rangers offense.
They Yankees got on the board early with a solo homerun by Derek Jeter. Jeter would later add an RBI single, as the Yankees went on to win 3-0. Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect 9th, earning his 28th consecutive save on the season. Alex Rodriguez continued to struggle in Texas and went 0-14 in the series.
Things won’t get easier for the Yankees. They continue their road trip tonight against the LA Angels for the 1st of a three game set.
Things took a turn for the worse last night in Texas for the New York Yankees. The Yankees who just opened a 10 game road trip, lost the game to the Rangers on a 9th inning grand slam by Marlon Byrd. The loss came after starter Joba Chamberlain was forced to leave the game in the 5th inning due to shoulder tightness. Losing Joba could be a big blow to the Yankees chances in the AL East. Already without starter Chien Ming Wang the Yankees have been relying on the arms of Joba, Mussina and Pettite. Joba is headed back to New York for further tests and will likely miss at least one turn in the rotation.
The Yankees’ loss last night was also particularly frustrating considering they had battled back to tie the game at 5-5 in the 8th inning. The Yankees also missed an opportunity to pick up a game on the 1st place Rays and 2nd place Red Sox. The Yankees and Rangers will be back at it tonight with Andy Pettite facing off against Matt Harrison.
It was a good day for the New York Yankees. Not only did they break their three game losing streak but the Yanks also got some major help behind the plate with the addition of Ivan (Pudge) Rodriguez. Pudge came over late today in a trade with the Detroit Tigers for reliever Kyle Farnsworth. The Yankees announced the news after handily defeating the Baltimore Orioles 13-3 in a day game at the Stadium.
The Yankees offense got the ball rolling for them in the 1st inning when walks by Jeter and Abreu led to quick runs after an Alex Rodriguez single. Abreu followed Jeter home on the play when the throw to the plate sailed over the catcher’s head. A-Rod scored the third run when he came home on a passed ball.
Abreu would go on to add 2 homeruns and 3 RBI while A-Rod added a homer of his own and finished the day with 2 RBI. Joba Chamberlain got the win for the Yankees for his first back to back wins as a starter. Joba went 6 innings, striking out 6 and giving up just 1 run.
The win was key for the Yankees who are in a tight race in the AL East with the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays. They Yankees now trail the 2nd place Red Sox by 1.5 games and the 1st place Rays by 4 games. Things won’t get any easier for the Yankees this week as the MLB’s best team, the Los Angeles Angels come to New York for a four game series.
Yankees Tickets are still available for all four games with the Angels.
The New York Yankees will have to maintain their second half surge without starting catcher Jorge Posada who opted to have season ending surgery on his ailing shoulder. Posada has only played in 51 games in this 2008 season due to the injury and has been mainly ineffective especially in throwing runners out. Posada was debating on whether or not to delay surgery and play injured for the remainder of the year either as DH or at 1st Base. The Yankees however have an abundance of 1st Base/DH help on their bench with the recent additions of Richie Sexson and OF Xavier Nady.
The surgery will sideline Posada for at least six months and may delay his Spring Training work as pitchers and catchers report to camp in February. New York catcher Jose Molina has filled in nicely for Posada and will continue to be in the starting lineup behind the plate.