Sunday, August 23, 2009

Game 124: Take Me Home Tonight

So far this weekend, the Yankees and Red Sox have combined for 46 runs, 62 hits and approximately two and a half innings of compelling baseball. There have been exactly zero lead changes in the previous two games. On Friday, the Yanks were up 6-1 in the second inning and yesterday the Sox got ahead 7-0 in the 2nd and slowly pulled away from there. Looking at the 1-1 series record and a difference of 4 runs scored between the two teams, you'd think that there would have been more tense moments and big hits. But the vast majority of runs scored have seemed to be meaningless tack-ons or feeble attempts to chip away at insurmountable leads.

They don't have to be pitcher's duels, but the most watchable and gripping baseball games are see-saw battles where the momentum can shift with each pitch. The last two games were slopfests populated by mop-up men and bench scrubs in for garbage time, only enjoyable to one fan base at a time.Tonight looked like the best pitching match up coming into the weekend and now is the only chance to salvage an interesting game out of the trainwreck of a series.

CC Sabathia has won his last four starts, and has been especially sharp over his last 3. Starting with his last start against the Red Sox, he's gone 23 2/3 IP, given up 3 runs (1.34 ERA) 10 hits, 5 walks, and struck out 26. He's rounding into is legendary late season form and has been a treat to watch.

Josh Beckett was on a similar 3 game stretch (21 IP, 2ER) until it was rudely interrupted by the Blue Jays last Tuesday. Beckett gave up 7 runs in 5.1 IP but got off with a no-decision as the Sox scored 3 in the top of the 8th and won 10-9. He and Sabathia are tied for the AL lead with 14 wins but Beckett has fewer losses and a ERA two-tenths of a run lower.

Tonight's game will be the difference between the Yankees leading the division by 7.5 or 5.5 games with 38 left to play. Only 3 head to head meetings remain on the schedule after tonight and although the Yanks figure to make the playoffs with relative ease, it would be nice to win the division and more importantly get homefield advantage throughout the postseason.

What better way could there be for the Yanks to close down their longest road trip of the season than by effectively snuffing out the Sox' hopes at winning the division in an exciting, back and forth type of game? Take 'er home boys. It would be so money.

I can feel you breathing,
I can feel your heartbeat faster (faster)...

Take me home tonight,
I don't want to let you go to see the light,
Take me home tonight.