Another chapter was written in the long, sordid history that is the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry. For the time being, the Yankees have the edge in the match up as they have won six of the last seven meetings. There was some hesitation at writing this particular post because about 90% of the country have had their fill of this particular story and are nauseous from hearing about it. And that sick feeling would be worthy as only the last game was remotely close as a contest.
In game one of the series, the Yankees played butcher and the game was basically over by the fourth inning. In Saturday's game two, the Red Sox had basically iced the game by the third inning. At least there was a smidgen of drama in the last game.
In the finale, the Yankees jumped out to a 2-0 lead on solo homers by Jeter (on the first pitch of the game) and Hideki Matsui. But the Red Sox roared right back to tie it off of Sabathia with two runs of their own. But the suddenly gopher-plagued Josh Beckett couldn't keep the ball in the Park and the Yankees scored all their eight runs on homers to win the game. Sabathia wasn't brilliant, but he held down the Red Sox long enough to get to Hughes and Rivera. Sabathia wasn't helped by two stupid errors by Robinson Cano, who showed he still isn't totally beyond his tendency to fall asleep at the wheel at times.
That's probably enough of the details. You probably watched the game or if not, have seen plenty of news wire stories with the details. The remainder of this post is probably best served by a few observations from watching the fairly ugly series.
- For those 90% of you that are sick to death of the Red Sox and Yankees, you probably got sick to your stomachs by another nationally televised love-fest for Derek Jeter. Sheepishly, this writer has to admit that Jeter is his favorite player, but stating that fact makes the Fan pretty squeamish as you 90% have probably had your fill of him and the Fan can't blame you. Jeter is probably the third best offensive shortstop in history. It is obvious that he has the respect of his peers around the league and his own players. And that's well deserved. The guy has been a terrific player for a long, long time, but the announcers paint him as god-like and chiseled from some immortal cloth and face it, nobody is THAT good. Every time the Fan hears the announcers go all googly like that, there is much squirming in the seat as the Fan knows how that is sitting around the country. It's no wonder that Jeter is one of the favorite targets in the blogsphere.
- That said, Jeter sure is hot right now. The guy is piling up hits in huge bunches.
- The Burnett/Posada flap is a concern as is some building problems with the Red Sox' new catcher and his pitchers. Apparently, Burnett doesn't believe in Posada's pitch calling and was pretty demonstrative about it during his pounding. Joe Girardi has to step in here even if it means stepping on Posada's toes. Posada is on the down hill run of his career but Burnett is a healthy investment for a few more years to come. Girardi needs to step in and bring the pitcher and the catcher to the table and explain that Burnett should call his own game for a while.
- Pedroia is the kind of player you root for. He's a little guy and a bit of the Everyman. It seems evident though that last year was his peak as a player and though he'll be a useful and good player for years to come, he isn't going to repeat his MVP type season again.
- Kevin Youkilis needs to tone it down a bit. The guy got where he is by being a fiery player of immense drive that fuels his assault on the game. There is no doubt that his temperament helped get him from being a soft-tools guy and building his career until he is one of the best players in the game. But after his charge to the mound a couple of weeks ago and his loud swearing on national television after he struck out in the first inning, he needs to reel it in a notch for the sake of the fans, particularly the young ones. The Fan doesn't want to come across as a goody two shoes, but Youkilis has become a bit of a boor lately.
- This must be one of those generational things, but Sabathia's tattoos are gross.
- Back to Jeter for a second (yeah, yeah, the Fan hears ya), his homer on the first pitch was important psychologically for the Yankees. They just got their butts wiped the day before and Beckett has owned them going all the way back to the Marlins' World Series. For Jeter to start the game with a homer had to give his team a boost and showed them that there was hope in getting to Beckett, and that is exactly what happened.
- This series isn't the same without Tim Wakefield. He seriously messes with the Yankees' heads and Boston could have used him in this series.
- Wakefield has some company. That Haeger that pitched that gem for the Dodgers on Saturday is a knuckleballer. If the Dodgers get to the series and play the Yankees, they should seriously consider getting Haeger on the WS roster.
- Much was made during the telecast of the way that Jason Varitek moves at the last minute to keep the location of the pitch a secret until it is delivered. But one question comes to mind about that after watching him. When he moves, it's a very noticeable jump either outside or inside. Wouldn't most batters see that in their peripheral vision? One other question that people with more knowledge than this Fan might know: With such a late jerky move that occurs during the pitcher's wind up, wouldn't that make it just that much harder for the hurler to find his target?
- Gardner is missed on the Yankees. He does a lot of little things that help the team and his absence makes Melky play more often and Melky is better in shorter doses.
- The Fan is getting seriously tired of Swisher. And geez, man, get a new batting helmet. That Manny Ramirez look-a-like with all the pine tar on it is gross. One of these days, a lizard is going to crawl in that ooze and die and the fossil will be found a thousand years from now.
- A bad-hipped A-Rod is still a lot better player than most of his peers.
- Rocco Baldelli had a good game. You have to root for him. You just have to.
- And finally, in a "Duh" comment, the Yankees look better than the Red Sox these days for the first time in a very long time.