Remember back in April when sportswriters were genuflecting over the Yankees' roster of seven aces? Well, it turns out that will not be enough to hold back the Boston Bombers this September. New York has now allowed 10 or more runs in three of its past four games, including a 10-5 drubbing to the Red Sox last night.
The Nation continues to enjoy the results of the Contreras signing. A big part of Contreras's success is his sinker/split-finger fastball. Damon looked foolish flailing at it in two at-bats, but he was the only Sock who didn't spot and lay off the pitch. And after Posada had two passed balls in the first inning, Contreras seemed reluctant to throw it with anyone on base. Consistently behind every hitter in the first inning, Contreras allowed 3 runs after the Yankees had touched Lowe for 2 in the top half. Given a two-run lead for the second time, the Cuban crumbled in the 4th. Nixon singled and Mueller (who leads the AL in batting average) hit a home run to dead center. Varitek walked and Kapler doubled him home. Contreras was pulled with a 1-1 count on Damon for Jeff Weaver, who was actually an improvement, although he allowed home runs to Ortiz and Nomar.
Lowe wasn't very sharp either, but after Boston retook the lead, he held New York at bay in the 5th and 6th; Timlin walked one batter in the 7th, Sauerbeck got 3 ground ball outs in the 8th and Williamson (with two runners on) struck out Soriano and Jeter to end the game. ... And thus did the hugging begin; Kapler described "a sense of camaraderie... there's a lot of love on this team between the players. It's something you don't always see. There's a lot of affection, to be honest with you. It's kind of cool."
Ortiz was asked when he thought the Red Sox offense would slow down: "December." ... Joel Sherman says it's hard to believe, but the Red Sox are the better team. Then again, he predicted the Red Sox would get by the Yankees and win the 1999 World Series. ... Elsewhere in the Post: "The Yankees' bread and butter [starting pitching] is stale and smothered with mold." [By the way, I searched several places for that "seven aces" quote, but had no luck. If anyone can find it, send it to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.] ... Manny was out with a throat infection. I hope he is well enough to play Saturday, as he is .414 against Pettitte (24-for-58), with 7 doubles, 3 home runs and only 4 strikeouts. ... Also, Nomar went shopping for his wedding tux.
Here's a quote from Yankee shill Michael Kay (his April column was headlined "Yanks a virtual lock in AL East"): "If the Yankees don't win the American League East by at least 10 games, I would be shocked. ... the Yankees are so much better than the Boston Red Sox that they simply should not be on the same level. And they aren't. ... In sum, there is no way they can keep up with the Yankees for a 162-game season."
Pedro and Pettitte at 1pm.