161st Street Crack House

So The Red Sox Are Playoff-Caliber?

The Red Sox might have turned their season around, and at the right time. In the last 10 days, they have swept the Orioles in a two game series, then swept the Devil Rays, nearly swept the Angels, and then swept the Orioles. That's 10 wins and 1 defeat. With today's win, they have improved their road record to .500, and they have virtually assured their appearance in the playoffs as the AL East Wild Card.

If they are truly a playoff team, they will will win their next two series - four games at The K, and then a weekend series against the Yankees at the 161st Street Crackhouse.

Live Blogging The Final Sox Yankees Game At The Stadium

I honestly didn't think the Sox had a chance to sweep the Yankees in their final regular season series at The 161st Street Crack House. The Sox have been playing better baseball since the All Star break. But the Yankees have had a better post-All Star record against Boston all decade, it seems. In fact, this time last year, the Yankees swept the Red Sox in the final regular-season series at The Stadium (5-3, 4-3, 5-0 - in which Wang nearly had a no-hitter). So to see the injured Red Sox roll-over to the Yankees in the final series at Yankee Stadium would not come as a complete surprise.

But then Tuesday happened. And then last night. And now it really does appear that the Yankees are are powerless to save their season. Back in June, Michael Kay and the Yankee faithful expressed fear on blogs and talk radio that the Yankees might just be a .500 team this season. And they were correct.

Let's look at this morning's papers.

Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe (registration required):

The Red Sox and Yankees have been playing one another at Yankee Stadium since 1923. Including playoffs, New York owns a 489-289-4 record against the Sox in this sacred house. But it ends today and it's ending badly for the Yankees. Here in the final days, the Red Sox have some sweet revenge.

John Harper, NY Daily News:

...the Yankees couldn't lose this game and expect to have any real shot at catching the Red Sox, or maybe the Twins or White Sox, for the wild-card spot.

So somebody had to do something as the Yanks went to the late innings down two runs. But, really, we should know better by now. Going all the way back to April, the Yankees haven't given anyone reason to believe they are a playoff team. Why was this night going to be any different?

Joel Sherman, NY Post:

This Yankees offense mimics Hank Steinbrenner, more bluster than action. Yammerin' Hank attended a home game last night for the first time since the season opener. The absentee owner blustered some more before game time, promising changes for next year. At least this time surrender was the right motif. The 2008 season is like the Stadium: History.

Tyler Kepner, NY Times (registration required):

In the owner’s box, Hank Steinbrenner was making his first appearance at Yankee Stadium since opening day. The team was healthy then, the young starters seemed ready, and there were few doubts that Yankee Stadium would see one more postseason, the 14th in a row for the franchise.

But as Pedroia rounded the bases, Steinbrenner hung his head. By the bottom of the inning, he was gone from his seat. There was no need to witness the final details of the Yankees’ 11-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox, the one that probably doomed their postseason chances.

I have to be honest - I'm loving this. Red Sox Nation is loving this. Yankee Haters and Mets fans are loving this. And while Dan Shaughnessy can spin it and lament that this rivalry has lost its edge (and he can no longer make money off of it), it is still the biggest rivalry in North American professional sports. Not the world, mind you. Chelsea vs. Arsenal and Manchester United vs. Liverpool might have something to say about that, not to mention AC Milan vs. Inter Milan (Italy), Rangers vs. Celtic (Scotland) and Boca Juniors vs. River Plate (Argentina).

But that's another post for another time.

Let's take a look at the preview from Stats, LLC:

The way the Boston Red Sox are playing, they may never lose again in Yankee Stadium. With only one game left for the Red Sox in the Bronx, such a feat is a realistic possibility.

Boston tries to leave The House That Ruth Built for the final time with a three-game sweep when it wraps up its series with the archrival Yankees on Thursday afternoon.

For the Red Sox (77-55), their final series in the venerable ballpark that opened in 1923 could prove sweet. Boston has taken the first two games of this set by a combined margin of 18-6, including an 11-3 rout Wednesday night. A sweep would be the first at Yankee Stadium for the Red Sox since April 23-25, 2004, and only their second in the Bronx this decade.

More importantly, Boston is dealing a major blow to the Yankees' playoff aspirations. The first two games of this series have dropped New York seven games behind the Red Sox for the wild card -- the best hope for the Yankees (70-62) to extend their streak of 13 consecutive postseason appearances.

"We just dug ourselves a bigger hole," New York outfielder Johnny Damon said. "This is definitely a tough time for us."

Jason Bay and Dustin Pedroia each drove in four runs Wednesday -- Pedroia's coming on a grand slam -- to help Boston win its third straight game and improve to 6-2 on its most successful road trip of the season.

"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."

Bay, acquired from Pittsburgh in the Manny Ramirez deal before last month's trade deadline, has excelled in his first two games as part of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, going 4-for-8 with six RBIs. On Thursday, he'll be joined in the outfield by another new acquisition -- Mark Kotsay.

Boston acquired Kotsay from Atlanta for a minor leaguer Wednesday, adding depth to the outfield one day after J.D. Drew went on the disabled list with a lower back strain. Kotsay, who batted .289 in 88 games with the Braves but is best known for his stellar defense, will play right field on Thursday.

"I know that I've gotten messages from people all over the league that said he's everybody's all-time favorite. I know he's a real professional. I know he's excited about coming here," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "He said he'll do anything we ask to try to help us win."

A top-caliber pitching matchup will highlight the final meeting in Yankee Stadium between these rivals as Boston's Jon Lester (12-5, 3.49 ERA) faces New York's Mike Mussina (16-7, 3.45).

Lester has dominated the Yankees in two starts this season, compiling a 1.13 ERA while winning both. He tossed a shutout at Yankee Stadium on July 3, limiting the Yankees to five hits and two walks while striking out eight in Boston's 7-0 victory.

The left-hander, though, is now trying to bounce back from his worst start of the season. Lester lasted a career-low 2 1-3 innings in Saturday's 11-0 loss to Toronto, allowing a career high-tying seven earned runs with eight hits and two walks.

Mussina fared better than Lester in his last outing, but wound up without a decision at Baltimore last Friday, when he yielded four runs and nine hits in six innings and left the game with a 4-3 deficit. New York rallied to win 9-4.

Mussina has 266 victories, but is seeking the first 20-win season of his 18-year career.

The 39-year-old right-hander is 20-17 with a 3.74 ERA versus the Red Sox.


Here we go. Like my three previous attempts at this, I give highlights as they happen in 24-hour time format. I got my browser windows, house windows, and a bottle of Jameson 18 all open.

13:13 David Ortiz walks with 2 out in the top of the first.

13:15 Kevin Youkilis flies out to end the top half of the inning. Mussina has himself a strong start. Three outs on 17 pitches, 10 of them strikes. He is glaring at the umpire a lot, but the strike zone today seems large. That doesn't stop the YES commentators from agreeing with the Moose.

13:19 Johnny Damon flies out to new right fielder, Mark Kotsay. Very nice!

13:20 Derek Jeter hits a single up the middle. His 233rd lifetime hit against the Red Sox and he is now 13 hits shy of Lou Gehrig's record for most hits ever at Yankee Stadium. There are 12 games remaining at the stadium after today.

13:23 Bobby Abreu hits a single up the middle. Jeter to second. Lester in early trouble with A-Rod coming up. Still 1 out.

13:27 A big swing and a miss by A-Rod. He strikes out. The boos resume. Come on, Yankee faithful, he didn't hit into a double play. And the swings were good.

13:28 Xander Nady, a solid player formerly of the Pirates, hits to Jed Lowrie, who steps on third base for the final out. Lester escapes.

13:20 BoSoxRule on Sons of Sam Horn: "A-Rod must be thrilled that he gets to deal with these idiots for 10 more years."

13:33 Jason Bay grounds out in the top of the second.

13:33 Mark Kotsay doubles. His 18th of the season and first with Boston.

13:36 Jed Lowrie strikes out.

13:37 Alex Cora grounds out to A-Rod. What do ya know - a Red Sox-Yankees game that is moving briskly! These day games are so much faster. But that doesn't mean we won't have any Sox-Yankees drama.

13:42 Bottom of the second. Robinson Cano flies out.

13:45 Hideki Matsui strikes out. Two away.

13:48 Cody Ransom, filling-in for Jason Giambi, gets hit on the foot. He takes first. Still hitting 1.000 for the Yankees.

13:48 Obscure Name at SOSH: "Will Cody Ransom continue to dominate the league?"

13:49 Jose Molina flies out. End of the second.

13:53 Varitek grounds out to Ransom at first. Come-on, Sox. We need some offensive momentum.

13:55 Jacoby Ellsbury goes down looking.

13:55 Dustin Pedroia swings at the first pitch and pops out to the catcher, Molina. Sox go down 1-2-3.

13:59 Lester recovers from being behind 3-0, and strikes out Johnny Damon. Hold the line, Jon.

14:00 Jeter singles to center field. He is 2-2 today.

14:02 On a failed hit and run, Abreu swings for his first strike, Jeter runs, and is then trapped and tagged at first. Two away.

14:03 Abreu flies out to Ellsbury. It was Jon Lester's strongest inning today. He's up to 56 pitches. But so far, Mussina is having the easier time today. Lester had to work hard to fight back in the third inning.

14:07 David Ortiz walks for the second time today. Please, Sox. Please bring him home.

14:08 Kevin Youkilis almost wraps one around the left field foul pole. But it deflects left, and it is strike two.

14:08 Michael Kay on YES: "I'm wondering guys, I've mentioned what Ortiz has done in this series. 4 for 6, 3 doubles, six walks. And although Youkilis is a very good player, he's not Manny Ramirez. I don't think you could be as careful with Ortiz if Manny Ramirez was behind him. Would you agree?"

14:09 Youkilis pops out.

14:13 Jason Bay grounds into a 4-4-3 double play. Mussina is up to 56 pitches, but he is doing very well neutralizing the Sox thus far.

14:15 E5 Yaz on SOSH: "Pitch counts are immaterial today. Red Sox bullpen is far more rested than the Yankees."

14:19 Alex Rodriguez strikes out. But it took Lester 8 fastballs to do the job.

14:21 Xander Nady strikes out looking. Two away.

14:22 Robinson Cano grounds out to first. A 1-2-3 inning for Jon Lester! End of the fourth inning. Can he last through six?

14:24 Jed Lowrie singles. Boston's second hit. There is one out in the top of the 5th.

14:27 Alex Cora is hit by a pitch. Michael Kay thinks Cora didn't try to get out of the way. He may be correct. Two on now for the Sox.

14:28 A line drive up right field for Jason Varitek. Lowrie comes home. It is 1-0 Sox!

14:30 Ellsbury hits one up center. The Yanks get Varitek at second, but not Ellsbury at first. Cora socres. It is 2-0 Sox. Two out.

14:32 Ellsbury is thrown out stealing by Molina. It was close, but the tag appeared to be applied just before Ellsbury reached the bag. On to the bottom of the 5th we go. The guys at SOSH are convinced that Ellsbury was safe.

14:35 Replay shows that Ellsbury was indeed safe. Cano's dramatic tag made it look like it was an out.

14:36 Matsui grounds out. One away in the bottom of the 5th.

14:38 Ransom strikes out swinging. Two away.

14:40 Jon Lester strikes out Molina. He's in control of things now. End of the 5th inning.

14:41 NomarRS05 on SOSH: "So, Lester is in control. That's pretty awesome."

14:44 Top of the 6th. Dustin Pedroia singles! Sox have a chance to score again.

14:46 Mussina throws a low pitch to David Ortiz and it is called strike. Bullshit. Such complete bullshit. But credit Molina for adjusting his mitt to make it look good.

14:48 Youkilis is hit by a pitch. Two on, one out. Michael Kay: "Very odd. Two Red Sox have been plunked today. Mussina rarely ever hits batters."

14:49 Ellsbury grounds to A-Rod. Alex Rodriguez tries to tag Pedroia running to third, but Pedroia runs to the grass. A-Rod's throw to first is on-time. But the umps blow the base running call. Pedroia is safe at third. Michael Kay is not pleased.

14:54 Mark Kotsay strikes out swinging. Sox strand two men in scoring position. Remember that one.

14:56 Lester hits Damon on the arm to open the bottom of the 6th.

15:01 Jeter singles again. It's his 11th 3-hit game of the season. Yankees threatening now.

15:03 Nuf Ced at SOSH: "Lester up to 95 pitches. Masterson up in the pen."

15:04 On Lester's 100th pitch, Boobby Abreu flies out to Ellsbury. Damon makes it to third. Still one out.

15:05 Alex Rodriguez up. On the first pitch he pops-out to Varitek! Two gone.

15:05 A-Rod vents his frustration on the bats rack. It is a subdued, silent tantrum. I've never seen anything like it. It was like he was hammering a nail, not trying to damage anything.

15:07 Xander Nady flies out! Lester escapes trouble and shows emotion for the first time today. Take a bow, Jon. You did your job. It wasn't easy, but you gave up no runs to the Pinstripes! 6 innings pitched, 4 hits, 7 strikeouts.

15:08 Foulkey Reese on SOSH: "Lester is fucking nails. And ARod is an epic choker."

15:12 Top of the 7th. Jed Lowrie pops out to Derek Jeter.

15:14 Alex Cora singles up the middle.

15:17 Varitek is at bat. It could be his last at bat at the Crack House. And Cora steals second! Molina lost his grip on the ball and didn't have a chance.

15:18 Varitek strikes out looking.

15:21 Ellsbury lines straight into Mussina's glove. Now the Disabled, Irish, asshole tenor, Ronan Tynan MD, sings God Bless America before the Red Sox for the last time in this blue vinyl-sided shithole of a stadium. The Yankees have always been dirtbag Republicans who wrap themselves in the flag. Fuck them.

15:23 BoSox Rule at SOSH: "Hands over your hearts you communist cunts!" If that wasn't sarcasm, then Boston has some gay Republican assholes as well.

15:23 Spacemans Bong on SOSH: "The nerd glasses really make you look good, Ronan."

15:23 SoxScout on SOSH: "It's Scott Van Pelt, +120 lbs."

15:25 Spacemans Bong on SOSH: "Displays of self-gratifying patriotism like this give a bad name to patriotism." Exactly. Thank you.

15:28 Bottom of the seventh inning and Lester is put back on the mound. Okey dokey, Terry. Robinson Cano pops out. Alex Cora runs to center and makes the catch with his back to the mound. Wide receiver, Alex Cora!

15:29 Jon Lester strikes out Hideki Matsui! Strikeout number 8 for Lester.

15:33 Cody Ransom doubles with two out and a full count. Calm down. We can get out of this. Terry Francoma makes a pitching change.

15:37 Lefthander Hideki Okajima takes the mound. He almost gets pinch-hitter Jason Giambi to pop out.

15:38 Shit. Giambi homers. The game is tied. Okajima could get the job done. Lester loses the chance of getting the win. Here's the drama we've been waiting for.

15:40 Johnny Damon strikes out looking. End of the 7th. And this is now a two-inning game.

15:43 Top of the 8th. Righthander Brian Bruney now on the mound for the Yankees. Pedroia pops out to Damon. Sox have to score a run here to have a good chance to win.

15:45 Pitching change. Yankees put lefty Demaso Marte on the mound to face David Ortiz. Joe Giradi managing a good game for a change.

15:47 David Ortiz grounds out. Crap.

15:48 And now Girardi puts Mariano Rivera on the mound. It is suddenly do or die time for the Red Sox. Kevin Youkilis will be at bat. Two out.

15:51 Youkilis flies out. Now Girardi looks like a genius. Three pitchers. Two pitches each. Three outs. That sucked.

15:54 Bottom of the eighth. Okajima still on the mound. Jeter his one deep. But Ellsbury makes a great sliding catch in center. The Sox finally stop Jeter.

15:58 Bobby Abreu flies out to Ellsbury in center. Two gone.

15:58 Now Francoma makes a move as Alex Rodriguez comes to the plate. Justin Masterson comes to the mound. With no one on base, A-Rod is quite dangerous in these situations. Michael Kay sets it up as a chance for redemption for A-Rod.

16:00 Razor Shines on SOSH: "If A-Rod comes through here, do the two-faced lardassed nathan's hot dog eating greaseballs in the stands applaud him?"

16:03 Full count for A-Rod. Varitek calls for a slider. A-Rod chases and misses the outside pitch! We go to the ninth inning.

16:03 Oil Can's Liver on SOSH: "Hat Trick Bitch!"

16:06 Top of the 9th. Jason Bay grounds to Jeter. But Jeter's throw pulls Giambi off the bag. Bay is safe. E-6!

16:07 Foulkey Reese on SOSH: "This will end well."

16:07 Mark Kotsay flies out to Abreu in right for the first out. Bay stays on first.

16:11 Jed Lowrie grounds out to Giambi. But Bay just makes it to second to avoid Jeter's tag.

16:12 Alex Cora grounds out to Jeter. So much for that. Sox are done in the 9th.

16:17 Bottom of the 9th. Tito sticks with Masterson in the hopes that Paplebon will be needed in the 10th inning. Xander Nady singles past a diving Alex Cora. The winning run is on-base for the Yankees. Brett Gardner pinch-runs for Nady. Cora is killing us today.

16:19 Robinson Cano lines out straight to Jed Lowry at third.

16:20 Brett Gardner steals second on ball 1 to Matsui. The solid throw from Varitek is not in-time. The winning run is now on second base. The Sox now wisely walk Matsui to face Ivan Rodriguez. Either this inning will end with a game-winning single or an inning-ending double play.

16:24 Full count to I-Rod. He doesn't go for Masterson's slider. He walks and the bases are now loaded. The Sox seem doomed. Paplebon comes to the mound with still just 1 out.

16:27 It's Paplebon vs. Jason Giambi. Bases loaded. This is really shitty. Tito has had a horrible inning, both halves of the 9th. Alex Cora totally sucked.

16:28 Two quick inside strikes from Paplebon. Here comes the third pitch...

16:29 Giambi lines a hit to center. The Yankees win 3-2. Michael Kay says the season stays alive. Hmm. I remember him saying the Yankees had to sweep or win 2 out of 3 to stay alive. Oh well. Another time, Yankees. We will finish you off in Boston.

16:30 Foulkey Reese on SOSH: "Well that sucked about as hard as a baseball game can suck."

16:30 DeltaForce on SOSH: "Damn. That hurts. But, they still took two in Yankee Stadium. I'd have taken that 100 times out of 100 three days ago."

16:31 RedOctober3129 on SOSH: "Fuck these guys. All we are going to hear about is how the Yankees won the last ever game at Yankee Stadium off of Papelbon on a walkoff when we dominated this series. Fuck Okajima. Fuck this. I fucking hate the fucking Yankees. DIE DIE DIE!!!!!!!!@!!@~!"

16:34 CR67Dream on SOSH: "How the fuck do you not throw high heat on 0-2? What a horrible call, and what a horrible pitch. Some horrible decisions from Tito in the last few innings too. Fucking fuck."

Indeed. A bummer ending to an otherwise great 6-3 road trip. I'll take 6-3 on a road trip as we now chase Tampa Bay.

You're Welcome, New York

The Sox played a huge role in delivering the American League victory, which we assume the Bronx crowd wanted. But we need to thank you for letting us play in your house tonight. It was fun. And it was a great day for 8 members of the Red Sox organization, including manager Terry Cheesesteak. You called us names. You called Jonathan Papelbon 'Overrated'. But you're forgiven, I guess. You wanted the American League to win, right? Well, the AL snatched victory just before the game had to be stopped.

Overrated, huh? Yeah, when the chips are down, you don't want this guy throwing in your team's 9th inning. He sucks. 28 saves this season? On-course for a career-high 38? Rubbish. He's just a cocky, overrated bastard. The Yankees have no overrated players on their team, do they?

The Yankee faithful never fail to show the whole country what whining, sore winners they are.

Live Blogging The Sox-Yanks Finale

Retro Rocket
Clemens fuels Yankees past punchless Sox

By Gordon Edes
Boston Globe Staff | August 30, 2007

NEW YORK -- The lead is down to a still-comfortable six games, and unless Curt Schilling can offer some vintage Schilling this afternoon the way Roger Clemens gave the Yankees some retro Rocket last night, it might be five before the Red Sox head home after their longest trip of the season.

A sweep by the Yankees, a plausible scenario after the Bombers made it two in a row with a 4-3 win last night, might be the least of the Sox' worries, although for fans with a masochistic bent, it may conjure flashbacks of '78, when the Sox also held a seven-game lead with 30 to go and saw it vanish in a span of 10 days.

Of even greater concern to the Sox than watching the Yankees beat their best two pitchers, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Josh Beckett, on successive nights is the absence of Manny Ramírez, who last night was diagnosed with a strained left oblique (side) muscle that is likely to sideline him for "multiple days," in the words of manager Terry Francona.

"That's one of your thunder [sic]," said David Ortiz, who interrupted a Clemens no-hitter in progress with a home run into the third deck with one out in the sixth inning. "So when your cleanup hitter goes down like that, it doesn't matter how much of a lead you have, it's hard to replace a cleanup hitter."

Ramírez, in a rare comment to a media member, was quoted in the Associated Press last night as saying "maybe a week" when asked how long he thought he might be out. "You watch that replay," catcher Jason Varitek said, referring to Ramírez's last at-bat Tuesday night when he aggravated the condition, "he buckles pretty good. We'll have to see. We're not going to panic before it happens."

The Sox were down two players when last night's game began, as outfielder Bobby Kielty was sent for X-rays and an MRI, then sent back to the hotel, his back still too sore to allow him to play even though the tests showed no structural damage, according to the manager. Kielty is listed as day to day, clearly an uncertain candidate to play this afternoon.

"That's not really an excuse," Varitek said. "We've found different ways to win all year. You can't replace Manny in the lineup, but that's no excuse."

Ramirez watched from the dugout, a welcome sight for Alex Rodriguez, whose seventh-inning home run off Beckett, his 44th of the season, gave the Yankees a 4-1 lead and ultimately furnished the margin of victory when Kevin Youkilis countered with a two-run home run off reliever Kyle Farnsworth in the eighth.

"I hope he's out for all of September," Rodriguez said playfully. "That would be great. Manny is a good friend, but it's kind of nice to see him sitting on the bench with a lot of my other good friends."

Some boffo Beckett, who was 9-1 with a 1.90 ERA on the road this season and bidding to add to his major league-leading total of 16 wins, would have gone a long way toward balancing the loss of Ramírez. But while the 45-year-old Clemens, who surprised the Sox by throwing, as Varitek noted, with "more power than we had seen on tape," danced around the five walks he issued by holding the Sox hitless until the sixth, Beckett was buffeted for a career-high 13 hits.

Four of those hits, all singles, plus a walk, came in the second, when the Yankees took a 3-0 lead. In the middle of the rally was Johnny Damon, who beat the Sox with a two-run home run Tuesday night and last night delivered a two-run single in what Varitek acknowledged was a "nice piece of hitting."

"Johnny has been hurt all summer," Ortiz said, "but everybody knows what kind of player Johnny is. Everybody knows Johnny is one player you want up there at the right time."

Beckett still has all the Clemens baseball cards he collected growing up in Spring, Texas, when he was known as "Kid Heat" and yearned to follow in the footsteps of his heroes, fellow Texans Nolan Ryan and the Rocket. "I have several pages of them," Beckett said. "My grandfather has them in a box at home."

Last night, Beckett faced Clemens for the first time, and while the grownup Kid showed as much heart as heat, avoiding major damage despite putting base runners on in every inning, in the end he was no match for the Rocket.

Try as they might, the Yankees could not crack Beckett. He gave up a triple to Hideki Matsui in the third, but struck out Jorge Posada and Jason Giambi to leave him at third. The Yankees loaded the bases in the sixth on three singles, but Beckett retired Damon on a roller to first, just beating Damon in a footrace to the bag.

The last Yankee hit off Beckett was the one that counted most, Rodriguez adding to his MVP résumé by lining a Beckett curveball into the left-field seats.

"He guessed right and hit it," Varitek said. "We knew that. He took a gamble and won that one."

And the Yankees creep ever closer.

"You know, this series doesn't make me worry about things," Ortiz said. "What makes me worry is how we keep on rolling this month. We've got to keep playing. We had a good road trip.

"We all knew what kind of players [the Yankees] are. Even when their guys were struggling, I knew it wasn't going to be like that year round. Dude, they got talent. They got talent all over the place."

And a 45-year-old wonder who somehow turned back the clock one more time.

"I'll tell you what," Ortiz said. "Man, at that age, I'll be cutting grass in my backyard."

© Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

13:21 First hit of the ballgame. Derek Jeter singles off of Curt Schilling, who is 5-0 when starting after a Red Sox loss this season.

13:24 While Joe Girardi comments on the color of Manny's sunglasses (Manny is not playing for the next few games), Curt seems to be OK today. It's early, but he is not falling behind in the counts. 2 out.

13:27 A-Rod strikes out looking. End of the first.

13:32 Lowell grounds into a 5-4-3 double-play. How did Giambi stay on the bag for the second out? When Giambi is playing good defense, you know you are in for a tough game.

13:36 Bottom of the second. Johnny Damon's replacement catches a deep fly ball and makes it look easy.

13:40 Posada strikes out. Third strikeout for Schilling today.

13:42 Steroids flies out. End of the second. No wingnut moments from the YES broadcasting team so far. Just wait. Schilling's pitch count is on-pace to last 7 full innings. But the Sox need to score first in this game. Schilling needs runs to protect.

13:46 Wang walks Varitek. A good start. But last night, walks got us nowhere. And a walk last inning led to a double play.

13:48 A bad catch by Posada, but Varitek does not run to second.

13:50 Alex Cora flies out to Damon in left. Two gone.

13:53 Joe Girardi mentions that the 2006 Sox offense is not as deep as the 2004 team. Correct. He gives us respect for building the best pitching staff in the majors.

13:54 Dustin grounds out to a diving Giambi. Jeezus. Giambi is all over the ball today.

13:54 Glenhoffmania on Sons of Sam Horn: "Wisdom from [Michael] Kay: When you take Manny and Lugo out of the lineup, it's not as deep as it usually is."

13:55 TFisNEXT on SOSH: "that fat sweaty 'roided up fuckhead pulls another defensive play out of his ass."

13:57 Bottom of the third. Robinson Cano hits a solo HR off the center field wall. 1-0 Yankees. Dammit.

13:59 Coco makes a sliding catch after a running start. Beeeeeutiful. And he did it backhanded. Web gem.

14:00 The Sox have not had a lead in this series. They sure know how to make these games infuriating. They sweep Chicago and now they can't beat-up the Yankees. Just one win is all they need to keep the heat off them, and they are not winning.

14:03 A-Rod pops out to Dustin. Curt Schilling's pitch count is up to 39. He faced 6 batters this inning and threw just 10 pitches! Let's see if he remains calm and doesn't give-up another run through the next two innings. If he can do that, then this game is in the hands of our feeble offense.

14:14 Sox go in-order in the fourth. They still don't have a hit. My god.

14:20 Morassofnegativity on SOSH: "That's it! I can't do this shit anymore. They've become one of those pathetic teams that rolls over and dies against the Yankees. They don't deserve to win the division."

14:21 Yankees go in-order in the fourth. Good work, Curt. Just 11 more pitches! But he can't hold out much longer, can he?

14:22 This is scary. We can't hit against our arch rivals.

14:23 Top of the fifth. Drew grounds out. Yawn. Can't expect a damn thing from him.

14:27 Varitek walks again. The fourth walk issued by Wang. We need consecutive walks in order to score today.

14:29 Hinske strikes out. Should we be thankful it wasn't a double play? Two out.

14:31 Cora flies out. This game seems like a lost cause. Schilling, Varitek, and Coco have been doing their jobs. Everyone else has been awful.

14:35 Bottom of the fifth. Robinson Cano hits a second solo home run off of Curt Schilling. That's all folks. I will keep blogging, but this game is lost unless something wakes-up this Red Sox lineup.

14:38 As Damon grounds into a 5-3 DP, I see that Cano had a curtain call? If that is true then Yankee stadium really is hell. Curtain calls for mid-game solo home runs are just shit. Granted, it was Cano's 16th HR, his new career high. But think about that. A curtain call for Robinson Cano in the middle of a Yankee home game? What kinds of fans ARE these?

14:40 Derek Jeter singles for the third time this afternoon. They have all be bloopers.

14:42 Joe Girardi comments that Schilling should not be tired at this point. But he is.

14:43 Bobby Abreu flies deep to left, but Hinske catches it with his back to the wall. End of the fifth.

14::52 Ortiz strikes-out to end the top of the sixth. Still no hits for the Sox. Michael Kay tells YES viewers to call friends and family to alert them of a possible Yankee no-hitter. Someone sedate me.

14:55 Smiling Joe Hesketh on SOSH: "it's a no-hitter through 6. The thing about this team is that every time I think they've reached utter rock bottom with dogshit games, they go out and top it. Today is shaping up to be an epic kick in the balls."

14:59 Schilling cruises through the bottom of the sixth. As far as I'm concerned, the next frame is the last chance for the Sox. If they can't break the no-hitter now, then this will be a sad day in Red Sox history.

15:02 Top of the seventh. Wang is up to 90 pitches. Here is Kevin Youkilis at bat for the Sox...

15:04 Giambi misses the tag as Youkie grounds one in the infield and reaches the bag! Recorded as an error on Giambi.

15:05 Mike Lowell singles. The no-hitter is broken!

15:06 Now let's see how Wang can handle his first serious threat of the game. Oh wait, it's JD Drew at the plate.

15:08 Drew grounds one, but only he is out at first. Youkilis was not tagged on his way to third, although he ran on the grass infield. He should have been called out. Umpires discuss....

15:09 Youkilis is called out. It is the correct call.

15:11 Tito argues the reversal. He will probably be ejected...he's gone. Lowell remains on second. Two out.

15:14 Varitek strikes out. The Sox rally will not happen.

15:15 Drocca on SOSH: "We got a hit. Somehow I think that will be the only positive note from this game, maybe this entire series. 25 men will be corking champagne and slapping high fives after the game frantically screaming, "We got a hit, We got a hit". Congratulations guys."

15:18 Napkin on SOSH: "They still get to go for ice cream after the game though, right?"

15:24 Another 1-2-3 inning for Schilling. He has retired 7 Yankees in a row. What a waste.

15:26 Top of the eighth. Joba Chamberlain says a prayer and takes-over the mound for the Yankees. We have waited for this moment. Joba the Hut has arrived. The bleachers chant "Ja-ba...Ja-ba...Ja-ba."

15:29 Hinske flies out.

15:29 Alex Cora grounds out to A-Rod. This game is just about over.

15:31 Dustin Pedroia doubles with two outs.

15:31 Coco Crisp arrives at the plate. If he gets on, David Ortiz is next. This is the last chance for the Sox. This inning with two outs.

15:33 Coco hits a dribbler down the right field line. An easy out. That's it. That's all.

15:35 Caspir on SOSH: "Game's over, swept. How very embarrassing, yet familiar."

15:37 Bottom of the eighth. First wingnut comment from Michael Kay. A recycled sound byte that I think Suzyn Waldman first uttered earlier this season. "Many people in Boston thought that the only reason the Sox signed Okijima was for Daisuke Matzusaka to have someone to hang out with." Which people, Mike? Not in Boston.

15:39 Derek Jeter is 4-4. Yup. Another bloop single.

15:44 Bobby Abreu doubles. Jeter scores. The game was already out of reach. This is just sad to watch, regardless. Mariano Rivera is not warming-up. Joba is selected to close the game.

15:48 This is quite a week isn't it? We sweep the White Sox and think the AL East is secure. We go to the Crack House and both our home field advantage and our AL East lead fall back into question.

15:51 It just went from worse to catastrophic. A throwing error by Varitek to third leads to two Yankee runs. Abreu and A-Rod score. It is now 5-0 Yankees.

15:56 Kyle Snyder takes-over the mound for the Sox to get the final out of the top of the eighth. September 1st can't come soon enough.

16:03 Top of the ninth. One out. Joba throws two consecutive fastballs over Kevin Youkilis' head. And he's ejected! Wow. No warning. What the hell provoked that anyway? That was so weird.

16:03 "Joba you fucking cunt!" - Josh Beckett. Easy to read those lips.

16:07 Edwar Ramirez comes to the mound to get the final two outs. So Joba won't get his first save against the Sox. If the score were still 2-0, I'd say the Sox would have a chance to rally back.

16:13 JD Drew (how fitting) pops out. That's the ballgame. Wow. Just wow. The Red Sox were simply terrible. If they had won 1 of these 3 games, they would have held their big lead. Had they won 2 games, they would have locked the AL East. Now they have the Yankees just 5 games behind them again. And they only scored 5 runs in these games. Pathetic.

Someone at SOSH suggested giving this song a listen. Rod Stewart is a slimeball, but here goes anyway:

mother don't you recognize your son

coming home, yeah yeah
getting home, 'cause I failed you, mother

I'll be there in the mornin'
if you have me back
the rent up here is much too high
for a room without a tap
a room without a tap

I'll be early in the morning
and I'll find my way back home
back home bad 'n' ruin
with my tail between my legs
tail between my legs
and I'll be so tired
I'll be so tired, now listen

I'll be early tomorrow morning
and I'll fall down off my plane
don't be embarrassed mother
by your ugly worn-out son
your ugly worn-out son

so just let me warn you
mother, you won't recognize me now
mother, you won't recognize me now
mother, you won't recognize me now

and I'll be down on Cannon street
passport in my hand
should you could not recognize me
I've heavily made-up eyes

momma, you won't recognize me now
brother, you won't recognize me now
hello there
sister, you won't recognize me now
mother, you won't recognize me now

so mother when you've seen me
don't forget I'm your boy too
I know my brother has done you proud
he's one foot in the grave
mother don't you recognize me now

I'm a burglar in the first degree
but it don't seem to worry me
I'll be so tired, so tired
I'll be so tired, so tired
so tired

Sox get Bronx broom treatment
08/30/2007 4:14 PM ET
By Ian Browne / MLB.com

NEW YORK -- Even at the age of 40, Red Sox right-hander Curt Schilling still relishes the opportunity to play the role of stopper. A big-game pitcher throughout his career, Schilling again stepped up on Thursday afternoon against the Yankees. It just turns out that his fine effort wasn't quite enough.

Two mistakes -- both of which were put over the wall for solo homers by Robinson Cano -- were all it took for Schilling and the Red Sox to come up on the short end of a 5-0 loss. This is because Chien-Ming Wang was even better for the Yankees, holding the Red Sox hitless for six innings and allowing just one hit for the entirety of his seven innings.

By getting swept in this three-game series in the Bronx, Boston's lead in the American League East has been cut to five games by the Yankees. The teams meet again at Fenway Park for a three-game series that starts on Sept. 14.

Whether it is the loss of star cleanup man Manny Ramirez (strained left oblique) or simply running into hot Yankees pitchers, the Boston bats came up dry throughout this series. After scoring 46 runs in four games at Chicago, the Red Sox produced just six runs in New York.

Schilling held the Yankees to six hits and two runs over seven innings, walking one and striking out four. Both of Cano's homers -- one in the third and the other in the fifth -- were hit to left-center.

With Wang positively stifling the Red Sox, those long balls proved to be all the difference.

The Red Sox snapped the right-hander's no-hit bid when Mike Lowell rifled a single to right with one out in the seventh. Perhaps Wang's momentum was altered when Kevin Youkilis opened the inning by reaching on a Derek Jeter throwing error. J.D. Drew then tapped a grounder to third that wound up sparking controversy. Alex Rodriguez missed the tag on Youkilis and then narrowly threw Drew out at first.

Though Youkilis went out of the baseline, the umpires initially called him safe. After an argument by Yankees manager Joe Torre, the call was overturned. Red Sox manager Terry Francona was not pleased with the reversal and was ejected by crew chief Derryl Cousins. Jason Varitek struck out to end the first rally the Red Sox had all day.

Red Sox Notes: Sox Enter The 161st Street Crack House As The Yes Broadcasters Become Unhinged

Here is M again with a guest post. Great stuff:

Good to see Yankee fans and their bloggers keeping both feet on planet earth.

Did you happen to watch the Yankee game last night on YES? Michael Kay and Al Leiter took turns having monumental meltdowns that had me in tears from laughing so hard.

Michael Kay likes to the play the role of disciplinarian in his broadcast. He can't just analyze the game. Somebody, somewhere is doing something wrong and being the good schoolmaster he is he wants to call that individual out in front of his classmates and embarrass them. It doesn't have to be a Yankee player. Once the division got down to four games (meaning in Yankeeland, the race is over, the playoffs are cancelled, start the coronation, and schedule the parade) Michael started lecturing the Red Sox and their fans. Diatribes such as, "the Red Sox should have taken care of business...they have let the Yankees back into this"...blah, blah, blah.

Never mind the reality that all the Red Sox did was maintain the best record in baseball while playing the top teams while the Yankees beat the pants off of Tampa Bay and Kansas City.

But let's get back to last night. Obviously Mussina was going to be the culprit. For his third straight appearance he was atrocious....and it was more than Michael Kay could handle. On this night his mission (besides digging his nails into anything he could find as desperate attempt to hold onto his sanity) was to get Al Leiter to join into the Mussina tirade. Al of course has actually played the sport that Kay thinks he's the world's biggest authority of and is not so prone to ripping players (pitchers in
particular) to shreds. He can and will critique them but also has a healthy understanding of the demands and pressures of the profession.

By the 2nd inning Kay had washed his hands of Mussina, stating that this is not the time of year for the Yankees to be patient with their troubled starter because they have to WIN GAMES. This became his mantra for the next few minutes. "The Yankees have to win games Al...they have to win games...don't they understand they have to win games...they can't afford to lose at this time of year Al...they have to win games!!!"

I myself only have a basic understanding of the game itself, the importance of the standings, and how they relate to qualifying for the playoffs. So you can imagine my surprise to learn that "winning games" is a crucial part of the process. Its observations like this that make Michael Kay the consummate pro that he is. I mean nothing gets by this guy.

Based on Michael Kay's brilliant observation (or in other words complete psychological breakdown...and it was...he was literally shrieking his words, hitting notes that Rob Halford would strain to hit) I could just imagine the conversation in the Yankee dugout as the Yankees are well on their way to losing 16-0.

Torre: (to Ron Guidry) Ron...based on what you see here...are we going to playoffs?

Guidry: Not so sure Joe. The word on the street is we have to actually win games

Torre: What?

Guidry: That's right..we have to win games...and not just some games. We have to win more games than any other team in our division...or at the very least we have to have the best 2nd place record in the American League...we could get in as the Wild Card that way.

Torre: You mean they're not going to just let us in

Guidry: I'm sorry Joe

Torre: Get Mattingly over here...Don!!!

Don Mattingly: I'm sorry Joe...I heard what Ron was saying. Its true...we have to win games. In fact Michael Kay just announced it on the YES network.

Torre: When when the fuck was someone going to tell me? Christ if I knew we had to win games I'd have had Sean Henn start the game.

Well Al finally grew tired of Kay's shredding of Mussina and took his turn becoming completely unhinged. He raised his voice into a forceful whine, apparently nearly on the verge of tears..."Michael I don't think you understand how hard it is to play this game...to stand on a mound made of dirt, with a little white ball in your hands, with a catcher standing far away from you, holding a little mit, and you have to throw that ball right where he's holding his glove, through a small strike zone, while another man is in the way, holding a wooden stick, and trying to hit that ball as hard as he can....this is a very very very difficult game!!" (I'm paraphrasing a bit...but my jaw literally fell to the floor during this meltdown...I've never heard anything like it).

By the late innings Kay had ripped the Yankees and their not understanding the importance of "winning games" as much as he could. So he turned his focus to the Tigers...the team that at this point had over 10 runs and was pitching a shutout.

First Kay went after Cameron Maybin...a 20 year old just called up to play in the outfield. He didn't go after him so much as he did the Tiger organization for bringing him up in the first place. Apparently in this year alone the kid has shot straight up from single A to the majors leagues...obviously quite a jump. WELL YOU JUST SHOULDN'T DO THAT!!!! says Michael Kay. He then went on some rant about how this kid should be developing in the minors, honing his talents, and getting to play everyday.

What this has to do with anything is anybody's guess...but it allowed Michael to take his attention off the scoreboard. Next on his list was the Tiger organization again...and again as an opportunity to complain about the four hour rain delay from Friday night (I'm guessing he still hasn't caught up on his sleep).

According to Michael, when the Yankees make their fans wait four hours for a game, Mr. Steinbrenner thanks the crowd for their patience and then offers some sort of compensation...usually free tickets to another game.

Well get this...you're not going to believe this...no I mean really...

Ok I'll tell you...according to Michael Kay, the Tigers did not and will not offer the fans who waited four hours on Friday night ANYTHING (other than watch their hometown team beat the Yankees...Kay left that part off).

All in all a beautiful evening.

I wish I had TIVO or some way to have recorded this. It was broadcasting at its finest.

Vamos Mets!

But I fear the Mets will only be able to win one game in the Bronx. I just hope they don't get swept. It only takes one win to change momentum. Their best chance is probably Saturday afternoon when they have Glavine on the mound.

The Yankees are going for 10 wins in a row tonight. Didn't I say that was not likely? Open mouth, insert foot.

I will be at Saturday's game, in fact. And I will wear this. Vamos Mets! Vamos Medias Rojas! Beat those Gigantes! Barry Cheated! Blah blah.

UPDATE, July 10th: I have been getting a lot of hits from people searching for this T-shirt, so let me point you in the right direction. You can get it at the MLB.com shop, or better still, here through Amazon:

Mets Puerto Rican Flag T-Shirt

Red Sox Dominican Flag T-Shirt

Red Sox Irish Language T-Shirt

Yankee Fans Don't Like Baseball

They only like winning. When the Yankees swept the Red Sox at Fenway last August, all five games were sold-out and the vast majority of fans remained in the ballpark until the final out of each game. But these Yankee fans? Please. They boo Joe Torre and then stay home. I think I'll grab a bar stool at Stan's Sports Bar on a game night if the Yankee fans continue to pout and become disloyal to The Greatest Team in the History of Sports. I will never dispute the Yankees history and championships. I will always dispute their fans loyalty and love for the game. They have no love for the game at all. If they thought this past weekend was painful, just wait until their team comes to Fenway on Friday to receive a merciless beatdown.

City's in funk as Bombers bombing


Posted Tuesday, May 29th 2007, 4:00 AM

The Yankees are in free fall, and they are taking the fortunes of many New Yorkers with them.

As the Los Angeles Angels finished their three-game sweep of the Bronx Bombers on Sunday, grim-faced fans streamed past rows of unsold Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter souvenir shirts.

Bars - normally filled with exuberant fans after a home win - were half empty.

Blue patches of empty seats stand out during supposedly soldout games, a sign that fans are voting with their feet even if they bought tickets.

But the damage stretches far beyond the emerald green outfield grass to the shops near Yankee Stadium, and even sends an economic ripple across the city.

"A lot of my regulars are disgusted," said Joe Bastone, 48, of the Bronx, owner of the Yankee Tavern. "They don't want to come if the team is losing. It's just not the hot ticket in town."

Ask any Yankees fan, and they'll tell you the same thing - they have better things to do than fork over big bucks for tickets to watch the Bombers get crushed, as they did last night, 7-2, by the Toronto Blue Jays.

Instead of scalping tickets for double or triple their price, season-ticket holders flood craigslist with offers to unload Yankees tickets at or below face value.

"If they keep losing, I'll sell my tickets or give them away," said season-ticket holder Galo Delgado, 30, of Manhattan. "It's worse to come up here than to watch it on TV."

The damage to the city's economy - and even its psyche - cuts even deeper.

It might not be a coincidence that the Bombers' bad runs in the '60s and late '80s and early '90s coincided with eras of rising crime and economic stagnation.

And the Yanks' good runs in the late 1970s and their current postseason run - they've made the playoffs for the past 12 years in a row - seem to coincide with the city's resurgence.

Then there are times like now.

When the Yankees stumble, the whole city takes it on the chin, in one way or another. Fewer tourists splurge in sporting goods stores. Electronics giants sell fewer big-screen TVs.

"Everyone is disgusted and they don't want to spend money," said Abdul Traore, surrounded by discounted Yankees gear at his Jeans Plus store on E. 161st St. by the Stadium. "When the Yankees win, people show up. When they lose, everybody is just mad."

Feeling Alright

Tuesday night. Red Sox 7, Yankees 3. Manny hit a 3-run homer to start things off in the top of the 1st. It was his 26th career home run at Yankee Stadium, which is extraordinary. And later, Julian Tavarez got the Sox out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the 5th while only giving-up 1 run. And it was Julian's 34th birthday. It was a good night at the Crack House and the Red Sox briefly stretch their lead over the Yankees to 10 games in the loss column.

There's good feelings all-around in the Boston clubhouse. Manny has found a best friend in Julian. Josh Beckett might return to action next Tuesday. The Sox did not panic when they lost Monday night in the Bronx.

And Derek Jeter had nothing but compliments for Julian. He said, "He's never fun to face. Nothing he throws is straight. There's always so much movement on his ball." Jeter's the only classy Yankee. I'm surprised he spoke about Taverez the way he speaks about Yankees ace Chien-Ming Wang.

The Yankees had a pitcher and slugger share hero duties on Monday night - Wang and Jason Giambi. But today, Giambi is back to being a villain. When this series is over, I'll post some NYC tabloid covers from my archives showing New York's love-hate relationship with Giambi.

And the most improved Red Sox player since last year, Kevin Youkilis, got two more hits last night. The guy is living proof that good things happen when you get into shape. I leave the details to the great Gordon Edes of the Boston Globe:


Buddy system for Sox

They pull it all together and push back Yankees

By Gordon Edes, Globe Staff | May 23, 2007

NEW YORK -- The other morning in the Red Sox clubhouse, Julian Tavarez was bouncing around in a "Manny Being Manny" T-shirt, the one that lists all of Ramírez's hitting feats. On his feet were a pair of new shower shoes featuring David Ortiz's smiling face on top.

"My best friend," Tavarez said, tugging at the T-shirt, then pointing at his shoes. "And my teammate."

Tavarez's buddy and his Big Papi both took care of the pitcher last night. Ramírez, who had gone the previous dozen games without a home run, sent a charge through the dugout when he connected for a three-run home run in the first inning. Ortiz, meanwhile, had three hits, scoring a run and knocking in another, as the Sox and Tavarez rolled over the Yankees, 7-3, before a crowd of 54,739 in a subdued Yankee Stadium.

"Good to see my man swinging the bat, so I won't have to be walking all the time," Ortiz said of Ramírez, whose seventh home run was the 26th of his career at Yankee Stadium, the most by any opposing player in the last 51 years. "Everybody's been swinging the bat pretty well, and having No. 24 doing it is a plus. I was going crazy, too. I said, 'At least I'm going to see some pitches tonight.' "

Kevin Youkilis had two more hits, scoring twice and driving in a run, to extend his hitting streak to 15 games, and Mike Lowell hit his ninth home run as the Sox had their way with Mike Mussina, who at 38 has been either hurt (hamstring) or horrid for most of the spring. The Sox, who restored their lead over the Yanks to 10 1/2 games in the American League East, scored seven runs on 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings against Mussina, whose earned run average rocketed to 6.52 as his record fell to 2-3.

"This was a big win for us today, man," said closer Jonathan Papelbon, who walked the first two batters in the ninth before setting down Melky Cabrera, Johnny Damon, and Derek Jeter, Cabrera and Jeter on strikes. "We had to go at them with everything we got to bring it back to 10 1/2 games.

"We've got the big dog, Schill, going for us tomorrow. Hopefully, he's on his game. He loves pitching in big situations, and tomorrow is a big situation for us. Hopefully, he's got his 'A' game."

Roger Clemens will be pitching tonight when the Sox and Yanks meet in the rubber game of this three-game set, but the Rocket will be pitching in Trenton against Boston's Double A affiliate, Portland, and the Sea Dogs' ace, Clay Buchholz. Clemens's pal, Andy Pettitte, will face the Sox and Curt Schilling.

"That's pretty cool," manager Terry Francona said of Buchholz's date with the future Hall of Famer. "I'm sure that will be a very exciting night for him. Knowing Clay the little that I do, he'll be excited but very respectful of the whole idea. I hope he pitches better, too."

Tavarez has been friends with Ramirez since Ramirez played winter ball in the Dominican Republic 16 years ago, and Ramirez has been particularly keen in reciprocating this spring. Tavarez has made eight starts for the Sox; Ramirez has hit home runs in three of them, and knocked in 10 runs.

His home run last night followed singles by Youkilis and Ortiz, and his joy was evident as he practically sprinted around the bases and into the waiting arms of Ortiz and Lowell, who later doubled in the first and homered to lead off the the fourth, making the score 4-0.

"Manny's three-run bomb, that cheered me up so much," Tavarez said. "That's my boy right there. Lead, 3-0, attack, attack, attack those hitters, and it worked out."

Ortiz said he wasn't surprised that Ramirez produces when Tavarez pitches. "They're like brothers, man," he said. But Tavarez, who celebrated his 34th birthday last night, laughed when Ortiz suggested the two are practically rooming together.

"That's a joke," Tavarez said. "Manny's got a suite. I don't even know his name in the hotel. Like I don't know a lot of guys. They all have nicknames."

Tavarez did not allow a hit until Hideki Matsui's one-out single in the fourth. Jorge Posada, the league's leading hitter, singled with two out, sending Matsui to third, and a wild pitch brought Matsui home with the Yankees' first run.
The Yankees scored again in the fifth on Robinson Cano's double, two walks, and a force play, but Tavarez broke Matsui's bat, shortstop Julio Lugo flipping the ball to second for an inning-ending force.

There was more prime pointing by Tavarez in the sixth, when he walked Alex Rodriguez but got a double-play ball out of Posada. His night was done, Francona turning to the lefties in his bullpen, Javier Lopez and Hideki Okajima, to maintain a lead that grew to 7-2 when the Sox scored three times in the seventh.

That new component in the Sox repertoire, speed, played its part in the rally. Coco Crisp, on board after forcing Jason Varitek, stole second with two outs, his ninth stolen base in 10 tries. He then scored on a single by Lugo, whose 18 RBIs this month lead the team. Youkilis followed with an RBI gap double into right-center, finishing Mussina, and Ortiz singled off reliever Mike Myers for the seventh run.

Lopez, who has been terrific since his recall from Pawtucket May 11 (six scoreless appearances out of seven), set down all four batters he faced, striking out Bobby Abreu and pinch hitter Josh Phelps, before turning the game over to Okajima.

The Japanese lefthander, unscored upon in his previous 20 outings, finally was touched for a run in a shaky eighth, ending his scoreless streak at 20 2/3 innings. He loaded the bases on a single by Jeter, a walk to Matsui, and a four-pitch walk to A-Rod. Posada brought home a run by just beating out a DP relay from Dustin Pedroia, who afterward expressed mild annoyance at an elbow he took from Rodriguez breaking up the play, and Okajima retired Abreu on another grounder to end the inning.

"He's been phenomenal," Francona said, "but he's not going to be perfect all year, and he kept the damage to a minimum.

"We talk about scoring first, and then try to add on, so you have enough of a lead that if someone is struggling a little bit or makes a mistake, it doesn't cost us a ballgame."

Papelbon, who has had just one save opportunity since May 6 and was appearing for only the fourth time since then, walked Jason Giambi and Cano before squelching any hopes of a Yankee comeback, Jeter looking at a fastball that caught the outside corner for the final out.

"For me, it's not getting a consistent amount of work and being put in certain situations I'm not necessarily used to," Papelbon said. "For me, my mind-set doesn't change. I go out there and try to fill the zone up. Tonight I got a little too giddy."

Giddy gave way to gravity, and now the big dog awaits.

© Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

Sox In New York: Lacking Fire This Season?

Is this a meaningless series, or could it be a turning point for the season? It is time for Red Sox fans to panic or can they put the champagne in the fridge? Is it time for Boston journalists to lament and speculate in their quest to analyze the best rivalry in the Majors? Yes to all the above, I guess.

I remember sportscasters lamenting about how the Sox and Yankees play 12 of their 19 scheduled games before the end of May. But if you are a Sox fan, aren't you glad the schedule is so unbalanced this season? Four of the six season series will be over and it isn't even summer yet.

Eric Wilbur, in Monday's Boston Globe, addresses the minority of fans who see gloom and doom in August and September:

The jugular is not in play.

Or, so I’ve been told by members of a Red Sox fan base that is increasingly panicky the more their team's AL East lead grows.

It’s not over. You sound foolish.

You’re gonna curse them.

Now I know who to blame.

It’s only May!!!!

It’s true. While the word, "over" never graced this space in reference to anything other than praying it would apply to the disaster that is Jack Bauer’s latest adventure, perhaps we were too bold about this whole AL East deal. After all, the Red Sox continue to just pad their divisional lead, which is now up to 10½ games, and the only thing many of their loyal fans can do is wonder when the roof will come caving in. The Yankees, meanwhile, have been reeling much of the season, but last night's win over the Mets must mean the start of a big-time run, right?

Remember what happened in 1978

Right. What does it say about the state of Red Sox fans that during this 30-13 start to kick off what’s turning out to be a most enjoyable 2007, 1978 is the year most referenced and not 2004? Not to ignore a keen appreciation of local baseball history, but, and I apologize if this is a news flash, history doesn't repeat itself. Unless, of course, you are either Josh or Dr. Sam Beckett.
Surely, there are plenty of Red Sox fans who are enjoying the moment, looking forward to the dog days of the season in lieu of dreading their arrival. Why shouldn't they? Their team is an MLB-best 30-13 with a three-game series against the Yankees on tap for this week in the Bronx. And despite the Chicken Little attitude that filters into the ol' Inbox on a daily basis, it’s nice to think these folks are the majority of a fan base drowning in positivity.

That’s not to encourage everyone to bury the competition. Teams can come back from deficits like the Yankees have put themselves in, for sure. But when one team looks this good, and the other so poor, the odds dwindle.

I like Eric Wilbur. He, Nick Cafardo, and Gordon Edes covered the 2004 team better than anyone in the Boston press. I saved dozens of their articles over the last few years. But I was a little disappointed to see him write an article that shed light on what has to be a minority of Red Sox fans (right?). But then he gets to his point, and it is a good one:

To put it succinctly, if the Yankees do indeed eventually take over Boston’s lead at some point this season, it will likely equal the greatest collapse by a team in Red Sox history, the aforementioned 1978 squad, which choked down the stretch and found themselves the butt of a Bucky Dent pop fly for years to come. For some, this expectation remains the norm, and not the exception, which is, frankly, ludicrous.

If the Yankees can magically fix their pitching ailments and turn the Red Sox into the 2006 injury-riddled version, then sure, they have as much of a chance as the Blue Jays at catching Boston. We are, after all, just past the quarter-mark of the season, and, as we’ve learned time and again, [insert length of baseball season cliché here].

Which is why this week’s series means much of nothing in the grand ol’ scheme of things. With a sweep, the Yankees can at least consider themselves within striking distance, and spark instant panic in the streets of the Back Bay. With a Boston sweep, the Yankees would be 13½ games off the lead, and would watch their AL East record seep to 3-14. [As of Tuesday May 22nd, it is 4-14 as the Yankees won on Monday.]

Those are as astounding numbers as any.. The Yankees have beaten the Red Sox [twice]. The Orioles, once. The Devil Rays, once. By contrast, the Red Sox are 14-5 against their divisional brethren, which is a big part of the reason they enjoy a double-digit lead.

When Roger Clemens announced he was rejoining the Yankees, Boston’s lead was 5½ games. The Red Sox have gone 10-3 since losing out on their former ace, but the tailspin has continued for the Bombers (5-8). Clemens wanted us to believe one stipulation for signing with New York -- as if $28 million prorated weren't enough -- was that Joe Torre would be in the dugout once he got there. Well, if Boston invades New York this week and continues its recent run, will that indeed be the case come Thursday?

But here comes Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald to repeat what the fools at YES and WCBS have been saying: that suddenly this fierce rivalry doesn't seem so fierce. In my opinion, that's a narrative used by the Yankees media. When they are in first, the Boston fans get upset and obsess about them, and the rivalry heats-up. Jason Varitek and Pedro Martinez start hunting for Yankees and start brawls. But when Boston is in first, the Yankees don't give two shits about the Red Sox. The rivalry doesn't matter when Boston is in first. I can't believe that. Tell that to the Bleacher Creatures at The Crack House this week.

Just not the same feeling: Sox-Yanks lacks pizzazz
By Steve Buckley
Boston Herald General Sports Columnist

Monday, May 21, 2007 - Update: 04:12 AM EST

...The Red Sox return to Yankee Stadium tonight to begin a three-game set against their historic and storied rivals, but, suddenly, it’s a series with all the magic of that pinch-me-I’m-dreaming Colorado Rockies-Kansas City Royals interleague showdown of this past weekend.

We’re grown accustomed to every Red Sox-Yankees game being riveting, stop-the-presses stuff. We assume the entire nation - the world, even - tunes in when these two go at it. It’s the Baseball Border War, with the whiz kids from ESPN and Fox being ever vigilant in their quest to make sure we see countless replays of Zimmer vs. Pedro, Fisk vs. Munson, A-Rod vs. Varitek, etc., as a setup to each game.

And then the voiceover guy says, “It’s the Red Sox. It’s the Yankees. When these two teams go at it . . . ”

Not this time. Not with the Red Sox, 6-3 winners over the Braves yesterday at Fenway Park [map], holding a double-digit lead over the rest of the pack in the American League East. Not with the Yankees so banged up that it’s just a matter of time before pitching coach Ron Guidry is asked if he can go an inning or two in middle relief.

But . . .

“We’ve got to focus on ourselves, and continue playing good baseball, no matter who we’re playing,” said captain Jason Varitek [stats]. “We’ve found ways to win, but we can’t control what happens outside of us. We just have to control ourselves.”

And . . .

“Distance doesn’t matter to me until we’re 10½ games ahead with 10 games left to play,” said Kevin Youkilis [stats], who went 3-for-3, including a home run, to raise his average to .340. “It’s still May. It’s a long season. We’ve got to play.”

OK. Fair enough, but is anybody, well, surprised that the Yankees are screaming, “Help! I’ve fallen! And I can’t get up!”

“Yeah, a little bit, to tell you the truth,” said infielder Alex Cora [stats]. “But I’m not surprised the way we’re playing baseball. I’ve been saying from the get-go, we’re a great baseball team. We’re a complete baseball team.”

Yes, the punditry business, too, is full of cautious hand-wringers who warn us that it’s early, that history has taught us that the Yankees have a way of getting hot right along with the summer weather. But that’s later on. This is now. And now - today, tomorrow, Wednesday - the Red Sox and Yankees are going to be engaging in a series that lacks its traditional testosterone.

To be sure, ESPN plans to televise two of the three games, but it won’t be the same.

This series needs some pop. Any chance the Yankees can void Jason Giambi’s contract while the Sox are in town? Can Roger Clemens make it back by Wednesday? Any new Joe Torre-gets-the-gate rumors?

It’s the Red Sox. It’s the Yankees.

And it’s missing the usual pizzazz.

Let's check the standings on Thursday morning.

Sox Going to the 161st Street Crack House

My buddy D'Sean calls Yankee Stadium the "161st Street Crack House." That's a jab at the Yankee spending habits, not an implication that it really is a drug den. They go through money like a coke fiend. They have spent hundreds of millions to maintain their domination of the AL East. But since 2001, they have spent big and have fallen down hard in the post-season.

This week presents a golden opportunity for the Red Sox to bring more pain to the Yankees in a season that is signalling their downfall. 2001 brought an end to the Yankee dynasty of 1996-2000. But the Yankees continued to rule the AL East through 2006. Now they are falling. It took a lot of used crack pipes to get them this low. The Red Sox need to show no mercy. Win two out of three, boys. Get it done. The Yankees are 10 games behind the Sox in the loss column. They could be 11 games back come Thursday morning.