Monday, May 17, 2010

Game 38 Recap

1. After Phil Hughes sat the Sox down in order in the first, the Yankees made it abundantly clear that this start would be nothing like Daisuke Matsuzka's last one. Before Dice-K could blink, the Bombers had loaded the bases with two singles by Derek Jeter and Brett Gardner and a walk to Mark Teixiera. A-Rod battled through a seven pitch at bat consisting of nothing by fastballs and after fouling two off, finally found one he liked. He served it into right center for a single and put the Yankees up 2-0.

Robinson Cano swung at the first pitch he saw and hit a deep, looping line drive to left. Jeremy Hermida went back after it but couldn't make the play and the ball caromed off the wall and back into the field. If nobody was on base, Cano could have easily made it to second, but A-Rod had to hold up to see if the ball was caught and was nearly passed by Cano. It went in the books as a RBI single.

Still with no one out, Francisco Cervelli lined a double into the gap in right center that scored A-Rod. Cano was sent home but a strong throw from Darnell McDonald and a solid block of the plate by Victor Martinez gave the Sox their first out of the inning. However, Cervelli advanced to third base on the play and scored on a sac fly by Marcus Thames. Add all of that up and the Yanks were ahead 5-0 after the first inning.

2. Kevin Youkilis led off the top of the second with a single, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a two out single by Adrian Beltre, cutting the Yanks lead to 5-1.

3. The Yanks got that run back in the third. Brett Gardner worked a two out walk and Mark Teixeira drove him in with a double that looked like a home run off the bat. McDonald was fooled too as he got to the ball in time but overran it slightly and it hit off of his forearm as he neared the wall. 6-1 Yanks.

4. David Ortiz, who has now driven in seven runs in his past four games, lifted a sky high home run to the mezzanine level in right during the fourth inning that made it 6-2.

5. Phil Hughes got two easy outs to begin the fifth inning but the final out was much more elusive. Marco Scutaro fell behind 1-2, but fouled back three straight pitches before punching a single back up the middle. Dustin Pedroia also fell behind 1-2 before fouling off four in a row, taking a ball and serving a double to left. J.D. Drew came to the plate with men on second and third, promptly fell behind 0-2 but fought back and eventually hooked a ball around the right field foul pole to bring the Sox right back in it. 6-5 Yankees.

6. Cervelli flipped a two out single to center in the fifth and was driven in on a double by Thames. 7-5 Yanks.

7. Boone Logan began the sixth inning for the Yanks and the first thing he did was fall behind Victor Martinez 3-0. VMart took one for a strike but then mashed a home run to left field to bring the Sox within one run.

8. After pitching a scoreless seventh, Chan Ho Park came back on for the 8th and allowed the Sox to complete an improbable comeback. Drew led off with a single to right and the Fackin' Youkstah drilled a two run home run to left field to put the Sox ahead 8-7. Victor Martinez followed with another solo shot (this on over the Yanks' bullpen in right) and just like that, the Yankees were trailing by two runs with only six outs left to use up and bottom third of their line up due up.

. Juan Miranda pinch hit in the eighth inning and brought the tying run to the plate when he worked a walk but Daniel Bard struck out Derek Jeter to end the frame.

Gardner led off the ninth inning with a slicing double just out of the reach of McDonald and Teixeira got the crowd going with a long, loud out on the warning track. Jonathan Papelbon didn't get off so easy with A-Rod. Alex was waiting for a fastball on the first pitch and absolutely blasted a homer into the Red Sox bullpen.

Cano flew out to deeeeep center and Papelbon hit Cervelli on the elbow with a pitch. Knowing that he was the only catcher available, Frankie was none too please, but he took his base without much of a scene. Then, like A-Rod, Marcus Thames was ready for a first pitch fastball and smashed it into the right field seats to give the Yankees their first walkoff win of the year. Final score: Yankees 11, Red Sox 9.

IFs, ANDs & BUTs
  • Hughes was just one strike away three different times from escaping the fifth inning with a four run lead with a chance to throw another frame. Instead, he threw a combined 22 pitches to Scutaro, Pedroia and Drew and was chased from the game right then and there. he was still in line for the win until CHoP let the lead slip away in the 8th.

  • Phil just didn't have his best stuff tonight, as only 5 of his 103 pitches were swinging strikes. His cutter was working to some extent but it came back to bite him. He threw 30 of them - 24 for strikes - but two of them left the park off the bats of Ortiz and Drew.

  • PitchFX had Hughes throwing 21 two-seam fastballs, but I think they were actually four-seamers with too much arm-side run that fouled up the classification since Hughes doesn't throw a two-seamer, as far as I know. If so, it's an indication that his mechanics were slightly askew, and as Al Leiter likes to say, he wasn't "getting on top of his fastball" enough.

  • With Victor Martinez due up in the 6th inning, Girardi went to Boone Logan, which was pretty odd considering that Martinez has been great against lefties this year and terrible against righties (and that Boone Logan sucks). Not to put too much stock in small sample size splits, but for switch hitters, since they have two different swings, it seems like they are more significant. That could have been a good enough reason to go to Chan Ho Park in the sixth instead of the seventh, but instead VMart jacked one off of Logan.

  • Neither Joba Chamberlain nor David Robertson were available tonight, and that certainly led Joe Girardi to try to stretch two innings out of Park in his first appearance off of the DL. During his second inning is when the wheels really came off and Youk and Martinez hit back to back homers.

  • Evening out some of the bad luck from his start in Detroit, Javy Vazquez picked up the win for facing one batter in the 9th.

  • The double in the first inning brought Francisco Cervelli up to an unthinkable 11 for 14 with runners in scoring position on the season. That would be incredible for Albert Puljos, let alone a guy who was a below average hitter when he was in AA just a year ago.

  • In the fifth inning, Phil Hughes threw a fastball to Youk inside and at knee level that sent him to the dirt in an effort to dodge it and drew a loud applause from the crowd.

  • A.J. Burnett timed the walkoff pie perfectly. Thames was just beginning his interview with Kim Jones and just as he started to answer her first question, got slammed.

  • I like Thames significantly more than I did before this game started. Funny how those things work.

  • This was your typical Yankees-Red Sox game, checking in at 3:47 with 346 pitches thrown.
This had the potential to be a terribly frustrating loss but instead it was a thrilling victory. Matt was there, in the batter's eye seats and hopefully he'll have a little bit to share about his experience tomorrow. This mini-series should wrap up tomorrow at 7:05, but there is a chance that the weather may not cooperate.


  1. Just listened to the Red Sox tv and radio calls for Thames' HR. It made me smile.

  2. It just doesn't get any better than this, folks...unless it happens in October.

  3. Here are those calls for you:

    Also, reminded me a lot of last August:

  4. Yeah, it's funny how the blown lead actually makes the win even more satisfying. If the Yanks had just held them off the whole way and stayed ahead, it would have been a good win, but not an epic, unforgettable one like it turned out to be.

    Both teams had 93% chance of winning the game at one point - the Yankees in the fourth and the Red Sox in the top of the 9th. I'd be willing to bet that's only happened a handful of times this season.

  5. Jason from The Heartland5/18/10, 9:29 AM

    I bet some of the creatures at Sons of Sam Horn were ready to jump into the harbor after A-Rod and Thames smashes those two-run bombs off Purplebum. Pity.

    What is it about May 17, the Yankees, and dramatics? On that day in 2002, Giambi hit the grand slam in the rain to beat the Twins, JD hit a walk-off solo shot off Crain to win 3-2 last year, and yesterday A-Rod and Thames tag-teamed to slap around Papelbon. Don't mess with the Yanks on May 17.

    I was fuming over the Yanks' allowing five homers and letting Boston back in the game, then overtake them. But I kept the faith and, when A-Rod crushed that first-pitch fastball, I was laughing uproariously--not quite as hard and long as I did when AB sent Wakefield's knuckler into that good night, but close. When Thames launched it, I lost it.

    Agreed about last August 7th (8th when actually hit) and A-Rod's dramatics in the 15th, Jimmy.

  6. Jason, add Wells' perfect game to the list of awesome Yankees games to take place on May 17.

  7. Jason from The Heartland5/18/10, 10:36 AM

    THAT'S what I forgot, Upstate Underdog. I was thinking I forgot something between 2002 and now, when it was before. Good call, and thanks.