Both Sean McAdam and Chris Snow (as well as one Yankee beat writer) said last night's win felt like a playoff game. The teams used 11 pitchers, seven by the Yankees, including four for four Sox hitters in the sixth -- Scott Proctor for Loretta, Mike Myers for David Ortiz, Tanyon Sturtze for Manny Ramirez, and Ron Villone for Trot Nixon. The Sox got some great pitching from Tim Wakefield, Mike Timlin, Keith Foulke and Jonathan Papelbon.
David Ortiz has the highest batting average against the Yankees (.360) of any Red Sox player since 1960 with at least 100 AB. The rest of the top six: Jody Reed (.355), Jim Rice (.336), Manny Ramirez (.324), Nomar Garciaparra (.298) and Reggie Smith (.293). ... Boston has won three of its four games against New York, and has come from behind in all three victories. The Sox have 12 come-from-behind wins.
No one knows why Curt Schilling left Yankee Stadium for approximately an hour before yesterday's game for what the club called a "non-pitching-related medical issue". Schilling: "It's nothing. I'm fine. It has nothing to do with baseball."
David Wells's advice for Alex Rodriguez: "In order to get the respect of George, you have to fight back. He can be tough to play for, but if you can overcome the jabs, it's great. You've got him in your hip pocket. ... I think [Rodriguez] cares about what's written about him in the papers instead of letting it go in one ear and out the other."
0511, 4:30 PM -- And the pendulum swings back again.
The Globe's Chris Snow wonders whether it's a coincidence that Curt Schilling was 4-0, 1.61 before throwing 133 pitches in Cleveland, and 1-2, 6.20 in his four subsequent starts.
Schilling on his troubles last night:
Early on, I could tell the way Mike was throwing that it was a small strike zone. Not having corners, he figured it out and I didn't. Any time you're facing either one of these lineups and the strike zone is smaller than you're used to, you got to make adjustments. He did it and I didn't.
Random Stuff: Manny Ramirez, who has not missed a game this season, is playing with a sore right knee. In his last 21 games, Manny has hit .386 (27-for-70), lifting his average from .205 to .321.
On Tuesday night, Wily Mo Pena became the first Red Sox outfielder in at least 46 years to play all three outfield positions in the same game. ... Before homering in his first AB last night, Mike Lowell's previous eight hits were all doubles. It was the longest such streak in MLB since 1995. ... David Wells threw approximately 75 pitches in a simulated game on Wednesday, will pitch another simulated game Saturday, and is on schedule to make a rehab start for Pawtucket on May 18.
David Ortiz went 4-for4: "Hitting is just crazy, man. Sometimes you can put a perfect swing on the ball and you'll hit it right at somebody. This past week, at home, I felt like there were 20 guys playing defense, three pitchers on the mound and I was guessing who was throwing the ball." ... Coco Crisp is sick, likely pushing his return back to around May 22-23. ... Before last night's game, Kevin Youkilis led all leadoff hitters in on-base percentage (.438). ... David Riske, on the disabled list since April 12 with a lower back strain, threw 26 pitches (2 walks, 2 strikeouts) for Pawtucket last night.
After his horrible start on Tuesday, the Yankees sent Randy Johnson for an MRI, which revealed no structural problems with his left shoulder. The ProJo quoted a longtime AL scout:
It looks to me like he doesn't trust his fastball (which registered mostly 91-92 mph Tuesday). He threw an awful lot of sliders. ... I think he's kind of in transition, going from power pitcher to a guy who isn't quite as dominant and he's not sure how to go about it. Pedro did it; Tom Seaver did it. I don't know if Randy knows how. He's so accustomed to intimidating hitters, and he can't do it anymore.
0510, 12:30 PM -- Here are some snips about Game 1 from the New York papers. Enjoy!
Joel Sherman, New York Post
Slowly all Randy Johnson's weapons are oozing away. His fastball, his menace and precision have all degenerated. But most disturbing of all is the absence of anything resembling a fight.Jon Heyman, Newsday
He lost more than the strike zone and a game last night. Before a full house that included George Steinbrenner, Johnson lost his nerve. He sure appeared like a guy who wanted nothing to do with being 60 feet, six inches away from the Red Sox. And we are all going to love to hear how that is Jorge Posada's fault. ...
Joe Torre alibied for his pitcher in the aftermath of a humiliating 14-3 loss to Boston, saying the defeatist body language was "frustration" not surrender. Thus, Torre had more spin than any of Johnson's sliders. ...
What can the Yanks now think they are getting in 2007? Johnson took a step back from being an ace last year. This season he looks as if he is sliding further down the rotation hierarchy. At this rate, he will be Jesse Orosco next season. ...
In both the third and fourth innings, Johnson was set up for big damage by being unable to subdue eighth and ninth hitters Dustan Mohr and Alex Gonzalez, the kind of batters he had spent his career overwhelming. Johnson was booed vehemently off the mound in the fourth, and it was only partially about the numbers.
Johnson has no goodwill here. He is a snarling outsider who came for the money. And the fans could sense that when the going got tough last night, Johnson got timid; afraid of the strike zone, afraid of the Red Sox. The Yankee faithful might be able to accept him as less than an ace, but not as the Small Unit.
An open letter to Randy Johnson:Murray Chass, New York Times
Perhaps you were on to something when you recently said you'd "walk away" if you could no longer pitch like you used to.
If you think about it, retirement to your home in awfully idyllic-sounding Paradise Valley, Ariz., offers you a lot of pluses. ...
There are no teammates to let you down, to fumble grounders and to drop fly balls. You and I know who I mean, Randy. Yes, Alex Rodriguez, who makes more than you (the indignity of it all!), and that famed Triple-A stalwart Melky "Shaky" Cabrera, who teamed up to sabotage you in your 14-3 defeat last night.
In Paradise Valley, there are no pitching coaches to annoy you, no ill-informed writers to rip you, no nosy cameramen to snap your picture. ...
If you left, you'd never again have to deal with, listen to or see Jorge Posada, Joe Torre, Charlie Reliford, big hitters like Mark Loretta and Alex Gonzalez, tabloid writers, the clubhouse rubdown guy, or anyone else you'd normally care to blame for making you look bad last night. ...
You've had your Hall-of-Fame career. You've had great moments, many against the Yankees, and practically none for them.
This is no time, 20 years in, to start injecting Rick Ankiel moments, Randy. You have to know that.
The one and only reason for you to stay would be to collect all the loot you have coming to you. Since you probably came here for the green stuff, anyway, the guess here is you ignore my advice - and your own promise and you keep pitching.
After the debacle at Yankee Stadium last night, the Yankees will invoke in mind and matter tonight the baseball cliche that momentum is as good as the next game's pitcher. Or how about the one that the baseball season is not a sprint but a marathon? Or the one that says one game is just that — one game, one-162nd of the season. ...Jeff Jacobs, Hartford Courant
[Those cliches] had better be right and meaningful in order for the Yankees to have hope for the rest of the season, because the Yankees played a game last night that would be enough to bury a team of mere mortals.
The game would have been bad enough had the Yankees played the Tampa Bay Devil Rays or the Kansas City Royals. But they played the Red Sox, their archrivals, the team that lives for their death, the team whose chief executive labeled them the Evil Empire.
The Empire did not look so evil last night. Ugly, but not evil. The Empire wore no clothes. With no clothes, the Empire was ugly, oh so ugly.
Johnson will be 44 when his contract expires at the end of the 2007 season, and it has grown clearer through the first six weeks of 2006 that the Big Unit is an intimidating legend of yore.George King, New York Post
The present-day Randy Johnson is not nearly as menacing.
The 2006 Johnson is hittable for righthanders.
The 2006 Johnson doesn't scare lefties to tears anymore.
And the 2007 version doesn't figure to get any more frightening. ...
The Yankees had averaged 9.3 runs through Johnson's first seven starts, and there have been times when it looked like he has needed all 9.3. ...
If this was a statement game, then Johnson's statement is this after allowing seven runs, albeit only two earned: I'm no longer the dominant pitcher in the game. Not even close. ... Johnson can't overpower his way out of trouble anymore. ...
On a night when the Yankees were Coyote Ugly, it wasn't hard to spot the most unattractive man in pinstripes. Randy Johnson could be midget and he would have stood out because he was putrid. ... In Johnson's last five starts, he is 3-2 with a hefty 7.09 ERA. During 26.2 innings, he has allowed 30 hits, 14 walks and notched 16 strikeouts.Mike Lupica, New York Daily News
If his name wasn't Randy Johnson and the Yankees weren't paying him $16 million this year and next, Scott Proctor would replace Johnson in the rotation and nobody would growl. But he is who he is, and that's too much money for a long reliever, so Johnson will remain in the rotation - and remain the Yankees' biggest worry.
The Yankees, who often buy the past, thought they were getting the old Randy Johnson, the one who started Game 6 of the 2001 World Series and finished Game 7. They thought they were getting the lefthanded Roger Clemens, thought it wouldn't matter that he was old the way it didn't matter that Clemens was old and he got here after winning all those games somewhere else. Sometimes it works out when the Yankees pay you all that money for what you used to be. Not with Johnson. Not now in New York, maybe not ever. He is just another pitcher now. The idea that the old Johnson is going to show up any day is getting older by the day, the way he is. Big Unit last night at the Stadium? Not even close. Big Mess is more like it.Steve Politi, Newark Star-Ledger
Johnson was all over the map in this one. He threw 92 pitches to 21 batters, nine times reaching a three-ball count. He fell behind guys like Wily Mo Pena and Dustan Mohr like they were Gehrig and Ruth. ... A-Rod tried his darnedest [to absolve Johnson], but he wasn't exactly convincing when he mused that Johnson "maybe he probably would have thrown a shutout or something" had he made the play in the third inning.Bob Herzog, Newsday
Johnson wouldn't have thrown a shutout against a Little League team, or even the Kansas City Royals, the way he pitched in this one. Taken alone, maybe the Yankees could dismiss this as one in 162, a night to forget. But they have to know something is very wrong with their supposed ace. ...
A new sign that Johnson isn't what he once was seems to pop up every start. In the fourth inning, light-hitting Mark Loretta came to the plate with runners on second and third and two outs. Johnson quickly fell behind 3-0 in the count to a guy with a lifetime .075 average against him, and that wasn't the surprising part.
Boston manager Terry Francona gave Loretta the green light, and he lined the pitch from Johnson down the left-field line for a two-run single.
There was a good reason why George Steinbrenner left last night's game after only seven innings. The Boss had seen enough.Mike Vaccaro, New York Post
"What did you think of the game?" a writer yelled at Steinbrenner as he was about to get into his blue Lincoln Town Car outside the press entrance at Yankee Stadium at 9:50. Then he stopped briefly and barked, "What'd you think of the game?" To emphasize his displeasure, Steinbrenner pointed at the trio of writers and repeated, "What'd you think of it?"
As an angry Steinbrenner was climbing into the rear seat of his car, a Newsday reporter shouted, "Are you a little upset at Randy?" The Boss stopped again. "I'm upset at a lot of them," he snapped, then so there was no mistaking one of his targets, added a closing statement. "The third baseman!"
That's the way of Alex Rodriguez' world, of course. He wasn't the only blight last night, the only reason why Yankees fans had indigestion as they left Yankee Stadium after watching the Red Sox lay a 14-3 pasting on the Yankees. A-Rod carries a Grade-A persecution complex on his back like a set of wrought-iron shoulder pads, but there's never anything about the Yankees that's completely his fault.John Harper, New York Daily News
It just seems that way sometimes. ... [T]here is always something extra special about the struggles of Alex Rodriguez, especially against the Red Sox, because it is his fate and his destiny. That is the way he is forever going to be judged. These are the games that define him, that will always define him.
And so last night, with a chance to end the third inning with a routine ground ball, Rodriguez let David Ortiz dribbler eat him up, then couldn't find the ball, then couldn't throw Ortiz out, and before long three unearned runs came trotting home and Johnson's night took a permanent turn for the worst.
There was another error later on. There was another ultra-soft 0-for-3 collar, dropping his batting average to .259. ...
On a night that was a complete washout for just about everyone involved, Rodriguez should have just blended in with the rest of the banana peels. But that's not the way it works for Rodriguez. He's never been a blender. He's the red sleigh on a mountain of untouched snow, the yellow jacket in a glee club of blue jackets. He stands out. He always has. He always will.
And in this series, this rivalry, that will be the case forever - partly because he was almost a Red Sox player, partly because last year he won a close MVP battle with David Ortiz, a race that was too close to call the whole way and one that many people still think went the wrong way. Naturally, last night, Ortiz seemed to break out of a terrible slump. A-Rod had his 0-fer.
All we know for sure is that A-Rod failed the Yankees again at an important moment, this time with his glove instead of his bat. And so you begin to wonder if he is ever going to win over this town, no matter what kind of numbers he puts up, or how many MVP awards he wins.
You begin to wonder if he is ever going to do something big to beat the Red Sox. They seem to bring out the worst in him, which is why Yankee fans are always ready to boo him at their first opportunity, as they did last night.
It has nothing to do with the money, either. This town gave A-Rod a hero's welcome upon his arrival, and New Yorkers wanted to love him as much as they love Derek Jeter. But you can't fool the fans. They know who produces in the clutch and who doesn't.
It's not as if A-Rod has never delivered for the Yankees. It's just that the failures have been so much more memorable: the 1-for-17 on his first trip to Fenway as a Yankee; the silent bat over the final four games of the 2004 ALCS, the historic collapse against the Sox; the double-play ground ball in the ninth inning last October against the Angels.
His glove has been good, except for that ground ball against the Red Sox early last season with the bases loaded. And now two errors last night, including the big one in the third inning, to go with an 0-for-3 night at the plate. ...
The good news for the game's highest-paid player is that there are always chances to redeem himself against the Red Sox, win his way back into The Boss' heart. Two more games in this series. Still 17 more to play against them this season.
Surely it has to change at some point, doesn't it? ...
0510, 11:30 AM -- Game 1 is a laugher ... with season highs in runs (14) and hits (16).
Facing a lineup with a collective .176 career batting average against him, Randy Johnson lasted only 3.2 innings -- his shortest outing against the Sox since September 7, 1991. He walked five batters for the first time in almost four years. His ERA this season is now 5.01. ... Jon Heyman of Newsday suggests that Johnson retire -- now!
And although yesterday's New York Post suggested the Yankee pitchers should "DROP PAPI"
The Yankees have to droppy Papi. They need to brush the beast back. They need to pick out one of David Ortiz' chins and let a little music dance across the whiskers. And they need to do this immediately. ...there was no chin music.
It's been three-plus years now, and it's time. Look, Ortiz has battered and butchered American League pitching of every stripe, rank and pedigree ... And in The Bronx, he is otherworldly. ...
Part of that is sheer skill, of course. Part of that is confidence. Part of that is the nervous buzz that fills Yankee Stadium - a nice bookend to the electric jolt that consumes Fenway Park - whenever Ortiz digs in 60 feet, six inches away from a Yankee hurler.
And that's the problem. That's what's maddening. If Ortiz were any more comfortable at the plate, he'd bring a chaise lounge, a pitcher of Pina Coladas and a couple of Cuban cigars with him to the batter's box. If he were any more settled in, he'd hang a badminton net on the grass.
Johnny Damon now says the poor reception he received at Fenway Park was "pretty vicious". Maybe it would have been less harsh if he had kept his yap shut all winter. Also, no word on what he thought about the Yankee Stadium yahoos booing Randy Johnson last night.
Alright, I admit it, sometimes when Curt Schilling runs his mouth, I like it. On Yankees fans:
They don't like us, and they're not shy about expressing their dislike for us. Part of the experience of pitching here, for me, is the fans. I know they are waiting with baited breath for that first mess-up. If you're a Yankee, they're phenomenal fans. They're not stupid - well, most of them are. ... [T]hey love their team, and they hate everybody else. And in a nutshell, that's Red Sox fans, too. That's the beauty of playing there.and on the Gotham media:
Most of the guys and gals that write [in New York] are such horrific hacks anyway ... I mean, seriously, I've played in a couple of cities before coming to Boston, and the dredge of the places that I played in respect to the media, the people who wrote there have left those cities and come here, and they write here now.
0509, 3:00 PM -- Josh Beckett returns to Yankee Stadium for the first time since Game 6 of the 2003 World Series (October 25), as do former Marlins Mike Lowell and Alex Gonzalez.
The last out, that was the most exciting moment, the most exciting time of them all. It was almost like a surreal feeling. It took a good, solid three weeks or so for that to go away.Beckett Stats:
IP H ER BB K HR HBP ERAThe Red Sox have called up lefty Mike Holtz for the New York series, sending Manny Delcarmen back to Pawtucket.
1st 3 starts 21 16 3 6 12 0 0 1.29
last 3 starts: 16 16 17 10 11 6 3 9.56
The Yankees put Garry Sheffield on the 15-day DL. ... Also the Post suggests the New York pitchers throw at David Ortiz.
Roger Clemens will decide by mid-June if he will pitch this season, and one subplot to this series is that both Boston and New York are in the running.
In The Bronx.
New York 18 11 .621 --
Boston 19 12 .613 --
Toronto 16 14 .533 2.5
Baltimore 14 19 .424 6.0
Tampa Bay 13 19 .406 6.5
Tuesday, May 9 - Red Sox 14, Yankees 3
Wednesday, May 10 - Yankees 7, Red Sox 3
Thursday, May 11 - Red Sox 5, Yankees 3