Saturday, July 5, 2008

Red Sox Feeling Right at Home in Yankee Stadium

Everything seemed to be going wrong for the Red Sox on the road, but all that is turning around in New York, of all places. Surely a sign that this season's Yankee team, while full of impressive resumes and even more impressive salaries, does not have all the right pieces in place to make a serious run at an elusive 21st century championship. The talented players on the Yankee roster are aging, and not gracefully.

Jason VaritekJon Lester pitched a terrific complete game on Thursday, and was given ample offensive support. Facing guys like Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina (today's starter) must be like the good old days for the Sox, having faced them so many times over the years. Just what Jason Varitek needed to get his swing into gear. The Captain has been in a slump, and an automatic out lately, but is starting to regain some confidence in friendly Yankee Stadium. Tek hit an RBI single in the 8th inning Thursday, and followed that up with a 2 for 4 day on the fourth of July. Maybe the Captain America catcher's gear he wore on the 4th helped build up some confidence?

Johnny DamonYesterday, Josh Beckett was the beneficiary of some timely offense, in a rather entertaining game. The highlight of the game was Kevin Youkilis' deep drive to left field. Normally, Hideki Matsui would be patrolling left field, but he's hobbled with a knee injury that may end up needing surgery to correct. Had Matsui been in left field for that drive, it surely would have simply gone off the wall for a routine 2 run double. But, with Johnny Damon in left, he used his speed to turn a routine 2 run double into a memorable and timeless 2 run triple! Damon caught up to the ball, leaped to make the catch, but as the ball was settling into the web of his glove, he plowed full force into the fence, jarring the ball loose. Johnny crashed to the ground without the ball, but with a painful left shoulder injury from the collision. The ball, it turns out, landed right on top of the wall and sat there for a few seconds, and then rolled off the wall back onto the field. Had it rolled the other way, it would have been a home run, but instead turned into an entertaining triple. Johnny will likely miss today's game, further depleting an already depleted outfield (sound familiar?).

I don't expect today to go much better for the Yankees. Mike Mussina has lost a few mph off his pitches, but has been putting together a decent season, relying on being crafty and keeping hitters off balance. But, the Red Sox have faced the Moose so many times, I would be surprised if he can really surprise them after all this time. Instead, I think they'll be sitting on his breaking pitches and having a field day. The Red Sox have Justin Masterson taking the mound, and the Yankees have never faced him. Masterson is pitching with tons of confidence, and will not be intimidated by pitching in the House that Ruth built (and the one that Steinbrenner is tearing down). Especially after seeing his teammates walk over the pinstripers the past two days.

Tomorrow, we'll see a classic race between the tortoise and the hare. The tortoise will be played by Tim Wakefield, and the hare will be played by non other than Joba Chamberlain. Wakefield has been pitching brilliantly, but not getting wins lately. I expect a complete turnaround in this one. Wakefield will have a marginal day, giving up 4 or 5 runs and leaving the game early, but he'll end up getting the win!


the blue state blogger said...

"Wakefield will have a marginal day, giving up 4 or 5 runs and leaving the game early, but he'll end up getting the win!"

He had a pretty good day, and they still lost. I'm not taking you to the track any time soon!

Rooster said...

You are very wise - I don't like to take myself to the track either!

But, I was close - Wake gave up 3 runs, not 4 or 5, but I did expect the Sox to hold on to the win for him. Can't believe they let Rivera off the hook two nights in a row!