It was a tough night for Jon Lester who was getting hurt by the Yankees even before Melky Cabrera ripped that line drive that hit him just above his knee in the bottom of the third. It was a scary moment for all baseball fans when Lester hit the deck. He was on his back for quite a while, appeared to be in serious pain and had to be helped off the field. However, X-Rays were negative and Terry Francona thinks Lester will make his next start.
Last night was the young lefty's worst outing since May 9th against the Rays, as he allowed 11 baserunners in just 2 1/3 IP, four of whom scored on his own watch and the last who probably would have came to the plate regardless of who was pitching. His post game comments sounded like something Joba Chamberlain might have said: "I felt like I had good stuff tonight, but it was one of those nights where [the Yankees] made it seem like I didn't."
Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger declared early on last night that it was backwards night at the Stadium and instead of his usual routine Chamberlain has decided to pitch well but then rip himself to the media after the game. That latter part didn't come true, but Joba's final line of (6IP, 5H, 3ER, 1BB, 5K) probably undersells his performance last night just a bit. He'd retired every batter he faced until allowing a solo shot to Victor Martinez with two outs in the fourth inning. As Michael Kay endlessly reminded us, the long bottom of the third due in part to Lester's injury delay probably didn't help much.
The other two runs Chamberlain allowed come via an opposite field 2 run homer by David Ortiz with two outs in the 6th, so he very nearly escaped with only one earned run. Even still, Joba needed only 86 pitches to do his work and there was plenty to be encouraged about.
Chamberlain got into trouble in the fifth inning with men on 2nd and third with no one out but squeezed out of the jam without allowing a run by getting Jason Varitek to pop out to third, striking out Alex Gonzalez swinging and inducing a grounder to Jacoby Ellsbury.
Speaking of the Red Sox' Captain, the Yankees ran absolutely wild against him tonight, stealing a season high 7 bases. It started when Derek Jeter singled and immediately took of for 2nd in the bottom of the first, setting the tone for the rest of the game. The inability to prevent runners from stealing could turn out to be a tragic flaw for the Sox when they match up with the Angels in the ALDS. The Yanks did their part to expose that tonight with Robinson Cano even getting in one the action, picking up just his 5th SB of the year.
A-Rod was the biggest thief of the night, swiping three bags but that only begins to describe his contributions. Alex didn't make an out all night, going 3-3 with a HR (off of Lester), a double, two walks and 4 RBIs.
It was an excellent night for the Yankees and a terrible one for the Red Sox. It was a testament to how quickly things can change. Which of these two teams looks primed for the playoffs now, pundits? Let's not get too excited though because things will probably change a little more today when CC and Dice-K take the mound at 4:00.