Yankees - 001 000 000 - 1 9 0Update: "Terrible, Terrible Strike Zone"
Red Sox - 000 000 000 - 0 6 0
"Strike 3" to Lowell is circled. As you can see, the baseball was not close to the strike zone.
A few more games like tonight's and I will have completely changed my position on keeping the human element in umpiring.
Home plate umpire Marty Foster embarrassed his entire profession tonight. It's bad enough that no one raises an eyebrow when media talk about umpires having their "own strike zones". But when an umpire is inconsistent all night long, often batter-to-batter -- then it's time to start thinking about phasing out the men in blue.
I have argued in favour of having on-field umpires having the final say in all facets of the game -- for better or worse -- for more than 30 years. However, pitch calling has gotten much worse in the past five years and if the technology now exists to negate the imperfect human eye and render a truer decision on what has actually happened on the field, then why not take advantage of that? As it stands now, I am in full support of MLB's plan to have an off-field arbiter ruling on fair/foul disputes. I'll be thrilled if it's in place by the playoffs (Selig's stated goal).
There were so many blatantly wrong calls tonight -- most of them going in favour of the Yankees (Update: he sucked all night long). I'll comment on the worst one. With Kevin Youkilis representing the tying run at first base and one out in the bottom of the ninth, Mariano Rivera worked Mike Lowell steadily away. Ahead in the count 1-0, he took what looked like ball 2 for strike 1, then fouled off three outside pitches, took ball 2, and fouled another pitch off. Rivera's 8th pitch was well inside and a bit high, clearly off the plate. Foster called it strike 3.
The normally reserved Lowell exploded. He jumped straight up in the air and when he came down, he was giving it to Foster at a volume and intensity I have never seen from him. I have no doubt he was talking about other calls that night in addition to the one that had just retired him. He was quickly ejected. J.D. Drew was also called out on strikes -- ending the game -- but at least that strike 3 was actually a strike.
Beckett (7-9-1-1-6, 110) allowed nine hits, and only a 10-hopper to the shortstop spot with the shift on for Jason Giambi put the Yankees on the scoreboard. And it was Foster's bogus strike zone that set it up. Beckett fanned Johnny Damon and got Derek Jeter to ground back to the mound. He got ahead of Bobby Abreu 0-2, then threw him strike 3. Foster called it a ball, and Abreu promptly singled to center. Alex Rodriguez also singled and Abreu raced to third. Because of the runner on third, Lowell was playing closer to the base. Giambi's squibby grounder went right to the spot where Lowell would usually be positioned. The ball barely rolled out of the infield, but the run scored.
The Red Sox got only three runners to second base -- and no one to third. Their best shot at tying the game came in the eighth. Kyle Farnsworth took over for Chamberlain (7-3-0-1-9, 103) and gave up hits to Jed Lowrie (opponents had been 0-for-their-last-28 against the Mop) and Coco Crisp. Joe Girardi summoned Rivera, who struck out Jacoby Ellsbury and got Dustin Pedroia to tap back to the hill.
Oh: JtC threw yet another pitch at Yook's head, this time on an 2-0 count in the seventh inning. Both benches were warned.
Joba Chamberlain (2.52, 163 ERA+) / Josh Beckett (3.98, 110 ERA+)
Plus: The Large Father returns!
The Sox went 26-19 without Ortiz -- a .578 winning percentage, which would work out to a 93.6 win season. Boston's offensive numbers actually improved (slightly) with Flo out of the lineup.
And, thanks to Kansas City, we are tied for first place.
Chamberlain pitched six strong innings against the A's on Saturday afternoon but came away with his seventh no-decision in nine starts. ... He has not given up more than three earned runs in any of his starts. ... [Beckett] fired a complete game in his last start, though it was in a losing cause. ... Beckett has given the Red Sox at least six innings in 10 of his last 11 starts. In seven Fenway starts, he [has] a 4.82 ERA.Joba's stats in his nine starts: 47.2 IP, 44 H, 22 BB, 54 K, 2.64 ERA (.249/.337/.316).
George A. King III, Post:
The A's can't hit and the Twins' bowels lock every time they enter Yankee Stadium, so the six wins [following the All-Star break] have a "So What?" feeling attached to them.Beckett understands that It. Is. On.
The Red Sox ... can hit - and are getting Yankee-killer David Ortiz back from the disabled list tonight - and don't wet themselves upon seeing the Yankees.
Also: Rays/Royals, 8 PM