The game was not as close as the final score would indicate.
Johnson did alright, considering who he is, but Francona stayed with Snyder way too long. Contrast Tito allowing Snyder (trailing 4-3) to allow four straight batters to reach base in the top of the seventh with Torre pulling Wang (up by 8-3) after the leadoff Sock got on in the bottom of the 7th.
Torre said he was managing this game as if there was no second game. Tito appeared to do the exact opposite. ... And Lester is no lock tonight.
I would comment on Francona failing to hit Pena for Gonzalez in the 8th -- when a long ball could have brought the Sox to within 8-6 (but decide to have him bat for Ortiz down by 9 in the 9th) -- but I fear I would throw my computer out the window and have a stroke.
Yankees 1st: I opt for ESPN -- with former Red Sox announcer Sean McDonough and current baseball moron Steve Phillips -- over the YES broadcast on Sportsnet. ... 86 degrees. ... Jason Johnson making his 20th start, 6.26 ERA and a .337 OBA. ... Damon looks at ball 1 at 1:10. Clubs a 2-2 pitch over Crisp's head into the triangle, standup triple. Jeter grounds a single past JJ (on the 7th pitch) and into center field. 1-0. Abreu singles to center, Jeter to second. Giambi pops to Gonzo in short center. Slappy (full count, 7th pitch) pops up to pretty much the same spot, this time caught by Coco. Cano grounds quietly to second. Very nice, could have been WAY worse. Johnson staying away from most of the hitters. 29 pitches.
Red Sox 1st: Crisp bunts the first pitch from Wang right back to the mound, easy out. Fucking A. Way to "get something started", leadoff man. Loretta lines a 2-1 pitch down the LF line and into the corner. Just gets into second, looking like he's running underwater. Ortiz swings at the first pitch (grrr) and pops up to short left. Manny gets ahead 3-0 and Wang throws an intentional ball four. Youkilis works a full count and flies to left. Abreu makes the catch about 10 feet in front of the track. Wang: 17 pitches.
Yankees 2nd: Posada lines out to Manny in left. JJ threw him 7 pitches -- MFY working the count like the Sox should be doing. Craig Wilson strikes out. Cabrera pops out to Lowell, who makes thecatch on the lip of the Yankees dugout. he fell in, but no damage. Good inning for JJ -- he absolutely has to get the lower half of the MFY lineup. JJ PC: 12, 41 total.
Red Sox 2nd: Lowell hacks at the first pitch and grounds weakly to second. WTF? Hinske (wearing #12) sees three balls, takes a strike, then doubles to the gap in LCF. Damon watches it roll the wall, then throws it in. Lopez flies to straightaway center and Gonzalez flies to right. ESPN's gun has Wang at 94-96, so why does he have one of the worse K rates in baseball? Wang: 11 pitches, 28 total.
Yankees 3rd: Damon grounds out to first, Yook unassisted. Jeter grounds to shortstop -- Gonzo grabs it on the short hop and throws him out. Two outs on six pitches. JJ brushes Abreu back with ball 1, gets a couple of quick called strikes, but walks him in a 9-pitch AB (ball 3, the 8th pitch, was a very nice strike). Abreu steals second on a 2-1 pitch to Giambi, who strikes out. JJ: 21 pitches, 62 total. (Looks like we'll see Snyder soon.)
Red Sox 3rd: Crisp tries to bunt on the first pitch -- again -- and fouls it off. Cut that shit out, Coco!! (Tito, if you're not calling that crap, please have a chat with Crisp. And if you are calling for bunts, you're fired). Crisp ends up grounding to second. Loretta pulls an inside pitch that hits off the Wall, above the linescore. It bounces away towards the corner, but it's a double anyway. After two balls in the dirt, Ortiz lines right to Wilson at first. Wang falls behind 2-0 to Manny, and then walks him intentionally (again). Youkilis walks on five pitches (see? making Wang work is good), loading the bases. Lowell lunges for an outside pitch and flies routinely to right. He should not be hitting 6th. Wang: 23 pitches, 51 total.
Yankees 4th: Slappy grounds a single through the hole into left field. Cano grounds the first pitch to second. Loretta moves to his right, backhands it, takes two more steps to the bag, then turns and throws to first. Youkilis gloves the ball on a short hop for the double play! Posada, who should have been called out on strikes on what was ruled ball 3, flies to center. JJ PC: 15, 77 total.
Red Sox 4th: Hinske doubles again -- this time to right center, one hop to the bullpen wall. (It's a crime that Lowell is hitting ahead of him.) The strike zone is quite small and Wang is struggling when he has to throw more than a few pitches per AB. So naturally, Lopez hacks at the first one, and flies to right. It's towards the corner, so Hinske can take third. Gonzalez grounds the first pitch to Jeter's left. It's a pretty routine play -- we've seen Gonzo make it many times this season while stifling a yawn -- but Jeter has to dive for it. He makes the play and Hinske scores. Tie game 1-1. Crisp tries to turn away from a 1-2 pitch inside and gets rung up by the third base ump. Wang PC: 8, 59 total.
Yankees 5th: Wilson strikes out again, this time looking. #9 hitter Cabrera works a six-pitch walk. Big mistake. Damon golfs a 0-1 pitch for a two-run home run to right and starts smirking. All Hinske can do is watch it land about 5-6 rows up. Yet another give-back. NY 3-1. ... Synder up in the pen. ... Jeter grounds a single past Gonzalez's dive towards the hole into left field. ... Dave Wallace out for a talk. ... Abreu lines the first pitch over into LCF for a hit, Crisp throws it in. ... And here comes Tito. ... Snyder (10th game, 6.23 ERA) in. 1st & 3rd with 1 out. ... Giambi chops a single that gets past both Yook and Loretta, into right. Jeter scores, Abreu to second. NY 4-1. Slappy hits a high fly to center. Crisp battles the sun, and makes the catch as Abreu tags and goes to third. Cano grounds out to third. Johnson's line: 4.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 21 BF, 95 PIT.
Red Sox 5th: The 2-3-4 hitters against Wang. Loretta is called out on strikes, as the home plate ump's zone is now expanding. Bastard. Ortiz grounds out to first on the first pitch. Ramirez barks at a "strike" on 0-1, then Wang is miffed when he throws a strike on 0-2 and it's called a ball. Manny flicks the next pitch -- a good pitch on the outside black -- down the right field line. It lands on the good side of the pole -- HR. NY 4-2. Youkilis lines out to third. Sox get one back.
Yankees 6th: Posada flies deep to right. Hinske drifts back and makes the catch over his head with his back against the short wall, where the pen meets the stands. Wilson grounds out to third and Cabrera pops to Gonzo in short left. A quick, seven-pitch inning from Snyder (19 pitches total). ... Let's go bats!
Red Sox 6th: Lowell walks to start things off. And Hinske crushes another double -- his third in three Red Sox AB! -- that hops into the Boston pen. Theo = Genius! ... Mound visit for Wang and the oft-used Proctor is up. ... Lopez grounds back to Wang, who looks the runners back and throws him out. Gonzalez -- after waving at absolute crap outside -- lines to left center. Damon makes a sliding catch for the out, but Lowell comes across. NY 4-3. Crisp (1st pitch) flies out to Damon in left center. Coco has seen a total of 9 pitches in his 4 AB (and he bunted at 2 of them) and Tito wants to give him the most PA of any player.
Yankees 7th: Snyder facing the top of the order. Damon flies to Manny in short left. Jeter reaches when his grounder to Lowell's left hits off his glove for an error. Abreu singles to center (he's 3-for-3 with a BB) and Jeter stops at second. Snyder to Giambi: ball 1, ball 2, Wallace visit/Delcarmen up, ground ball to where Loretta would be, except he's shifted way over towards first. Ball rolls into right-center, Jeter scores, NY 5-3, Abreu to second. On 1-2, Slappy drills a double to left that gets by Manny to the wall. NY 6-3. (Love giving those runs back.) ... And it's Delcarmen time. ... Cano lines a single just over Loretta's glove to right-center. NY 8-3. Posada lines out to Manny, who makes a tumbling catch in left. Two outs. Cano steals second and goes to third on Wilson's single to left. He doesn't challenge Manny's arm. Cabrera lines out to center. (Snyder: 2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER)
Red Sox 7th: Loretta doubles into the left field corner, his third double of the afternoon. ... Wang out, Myers in. ... Ortiz taps a 2-2 pitch weakly back to the mound. One out. ... Myers out, Proctor in. ... Manny pops up the first pitch to left. Two outs. (The Sox are sure making this easy for Torre.) Youkilis pops up the second pitch to Posada near the Sox on-deck circle. ... Wang'sline: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2K, 29 BF, 90 PIT
Note: It would have been nice to have Craig Breslow to face Giambi and other MFY lefties. But he was sent down to make room for Hinske -- and so we have no LHP in the pen. Meanwhile, Tavarez is using up a roster space. If the Sox lost him on waivers -- though with his contract, I doubt it would happen -- but if it did, who cares? Very poor decision by the front office on the eve of this series.
Yankees 8th: Damon grounds to Loretta's right and Yook makes a great stretch for the out. Jeter grounds to shortstop. Two outs on four pitches. Abreu doubles to the left fielde corner and Giambi walks on five pitches. ... MDC out, Seanez in. ... Slappy strikes out on a pitch in the dirt and the ball goes to the backstop, but Lopez makes the throw to first.
Red Sox 8th: Lowell opens with a single into the left field corner off Proctor (yes, he's very slow). Hinske strikes out looking, frozen on a curve after hitting a hard foul down the RF line. Lopez gets a ground-rule double into the right field corner. Then Gonzalez strikes out -- as Wily Mo Pena rots away on the bench. ... Christ, Tito, this is a pennant race, you moron. Does Wallace have any smelling salts? Is anyone awake in that dugout? ... Crisp lines out to first.
Yankees 9th: Seanez still in. Cano singles. Posada walks on four pitches. Wilson walks, bases loaded. Cabrera pops up (1st pitch, after two walks, ha!) to left. Damon singles to center, NY 10-3. Jeter flies to right, Hinske has the ball hit off his glove (sun) for an error, bases reloaded. Abreu strikes out. Giambi walks, NY 11-3. Slappy walks, NY 12-3. (ESPN shows Tito turning and walking out of the dugout, down the runway. Kudos for not pulling Seanez and wasting another arm.) Cano strikes out.
Red Sox 9th: Farnsworth in. Loretta flies to center. Pena hits for Ortiz. Now that bald fucker sends up? Unbelievable! WMP fouls to Posada. Kapler walks. Youkilis doubles to left-center, Kapler scores. 12-4. Lowell flies out to center.