April 17, 2004

Red Sox 6, Yankees 2. Was Tim McCarver crying? Some highlights:

The first inning. After Wakefield set down the Yankees in order on only 8 pitches, the Red Sox bat around and score four runs. Two errors (Giambi and Jeter), two home runs (Mueller and Manny) and a 4-pitch walk to Mark "OBP" Bellhorn spelled trouble for Vazquez. ... Bellhorn drew another walk in the 8th (he now has 14); his OBP is .476.

The catcher. Tito says he won't fall into the trap of having Mirabelli catch only/all of Wakefield's starts, but he was in there last night. And he reached base in all four plate appearances, inluding a 1st-pitch home run in the fourth and a RBI double into the left field corner in the 6th. The double came on a 3-0 pitch. In the previous inning, Vazquez had gone 3-0 on Ortiz and then poured in a mid-80s fastball that Ortiz took (but was drooling at). I can only assume the Sox felt Vazquez might do the same thing with Mirabelli. Green light -- good call.

The Empire. Rodriguez went 0-4 and did not hit the ball out of the infield. He looked particularly bad on a strikeout in the 4th, waving at a 61 mph pitch that was way outside. He also was gunned down on an ill-advised attempted steal of third in the 6th. Sheffield was the tying run at the plate at the time -- with only one out and Posada (who had already homered) on deck. But Mirabelli caught Rodriguez and then Sheffield stared at strike three and the inning was over. ... Lofton made outs in all five of his at-bats, hitting the ball (in order) to shortstop, third, second, first and the pitcher.

I listened to the Yankee radio broadcast while watching Fox on mute. McCarver and Buck were apparently as horrid as usual. The visuals were also pathetic. Coming back from commercial for the bottom of the second inning, Fox posted the score as 5-1 Boston and 1 out. It was actually only 4-1 and there were no outs -- Damon was leading off. It took two batters (and 7 pitches) for Fox to finally figure out what was going on. ... And I'd be shocked if even one person watching thought that talking cartoon baseball was a good idea (explaining what a fastball is??). Just horrible -- and when Fox ran one of the animated bits for the second time, they completely missed Wilson's ground out in the 3rd. ... The stop light-colored bar showing a runner's lead at first was equally useless.

Anyway, the radio. Charlie Steiner made a couple of comments about the poor Red Sox defense -- this after two first-inning errors on extremely playable balls by the Yankees. Just the idea of a Yankee announcer criticizing another team for poor glovework is absurd. Also, Steiner and Sterling kept wondering if the cold weather would affect Wakefield's knuckleball. It didn't. Wouldn't it affect pitchers who rely more on breaking stuff -- one reason why Pedro has had so much trouble with his curveball in two of his three starts? The cold may have bothered Vazquez, particularly in the first inning, but S&S never mentioned it. I guess the Yankees are impervious to intemperate weather. ... Finally, Sterling referred to a Red Sox bench player as "Felipe Crespo."

Notes: Byung-Hyun Kim will pitch three innings for Pawtucket on Monday. Nomar is expected to play catch over the weekend and possibly take some grounders. Nixon will be reevaluated Monday and could begin working out at the Fort Myers facilities. ... ... Ramirez has hit safely in seven straight games at a .419 (13-31) clip. ... Schilling/Mussina at 1:00 pm.

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