October 1, 2005

G161: Yankees 8, Red Sox 4

New York wins the East. Red Sox clinch a Monday playoff game against Cleveland -- or they win the wild card tomorrow.


Tim Wakefield --on three days rest -- just didn't have it. The solo home runs by Matsui and Slappy in the third and fifth, respectively, deepened Boston's hole, but were not reason enough to yank Wakefield from the game. That has been his problem in several starts. The solo home runs start to add up after awhile, but it's often not a clear sign of trouble. Besides, who would have come in? DiNardo? Gonzalez? Francona was correct to stick with Wakefield (though pull him if he really faltered) and hope the bats woke up.

They didn't. Randy Johnson got his shit together after a shaky start and pitched 7.1 good innings. (People think Pedro is a diva? Man, this guy is the biggest ball-and-strike whiner I've ever seen.) If the Sox had been able to get it him a bit more, there was a decent chance he'd go postal. ... They helped him out by hacking early in the count. Johnson retired the Sox in order on five pitches in the fifth; the third (12 pitches) and seventh (13) were also quick innings. And Sheffield made two diving catches, which, if they had fallen for hits, might have altered the outcome.

Also, Francona's managing seemed less urgent today. In the sixth, trailing 7-2, he let Millar and Mirabelli bat (even though Wakefield was out of the game).

But thanks to Chicago's 4-3 win in Cleveland, this loss doesn't hurt as much as it would otherwise.

If Boston wins, they win the wild card.
If Cleveland loses, Boston wins the wild card.
If Boston loses and Cleveland wins, they play a playoff game on Monday at Fenway.
That's it.

Manny hit home runs #43 and #44, two absolute bombs -- one that landed on the roof of the Cask (true?) and one that hit the back wall in dead center. Graffanino got three hits, Damon walked twice and stole a base, and the team got nice relief appearances from Stanton, DiNardo and Hansen. ... But the bats were quiet. The Red Sox have totaled only 11 hits in these two games.

By the way -- Matsui should have been called out in the eighth and the Yankees' last run should not have scored. Rule 7.08 states that any runner is out when "He runs more than three feet away from a direct line between bases to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball."


From the Vined Smithy said...

I'm surprisingly upbeat just now--of course, the White Sox have a lot to do with that...can't really accuse them of having slacked off.

Okay, boys, let's tie the record (that would soothe my ego a lot) and seal our place in the postseason without relying on (or having to beat) the Indians.

Anonymous said...

So the Sox win tomorrow, have the same record as New York, and finish second because of a "tie-breaker"? Ridiculous. That's football crap. What logic does it make for the Indians' record, a team not even in the same division, to determine whether there is a play-off between two teams in the same division with the same record? A division "championship", this system says, is essentially meaningless...not worth the effort to settle. "Ok, fine,one of you is "first," the other is "second." If the Sox tie the Yankees tomorrow, the W-L record says that the teams tied for the division, and screw the Yankee fan who says otherwise. Stupid, lazy, disgraceful system. Thanks, Bud, you sleazy hack. So much for "Integrity," but then, you were a used car dealer.

Sfumato said...


They changed to this system because of the 1995 playoff between the Angels and Mariners.

The Angels and Mariners tied for the AL West title and both had the same record as the Yankees, who were second to the Sox in the East.

The Mariners then beat the Angels in a playoff. Thus, the Angels then had a worse record than the Yanks, who were able to back in to the Wild Card without playing the extra game.

It works out better this way for the Sox, because now they hold their own fate. They win Sunday, they're in. They lose, they might be in anyway, and at worst they play the Indians on Monday for the spot.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for providing the tie-break explanation, sfumato. I was confused and upset to learn of the tie breaking system around the bottom of the eighth in todays Sox game. I'd believed the various scenarios I'd seen for the playoffs, some of which turned out to be wrong. Some were just too confusing.

I empathize with jack, and I feel the same disappointment.

Our chances still look good, but a win today would have been a real momentum builder.

I feel for Wake, he's had an up and down season and should have 20 wins already. He did not have good stuff today, and Johnson battled like a pro, just as Wells did last night.

I hope Schilling can prove he's still a big game pither tomorrow, because it's his last chance to prove me right. I keep telling folks that Schill will contribute bigtime down the stretch when it counts most. Tomorrow it counts. It's in his hands to negate whatever Cleveland may do.

The bats need to produce more than 4 runs, though.

I predict Schill goes 7, holds the Yanks to 5 runs or less, and if the bats come alive, we walk away with a big win.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, sfumato (if that indeed IS your name)...I thought I recalled a play-off in the past in this situation. I know this new system benefits the Sox (sort of), but it's still Mickey Mouse...and I just hate seeing the Yankees celebrating in Fenway for any reason...

Anonymous said...

By the way...that was an awfully short lived offensive revival by Renteria, wasn't it? And whose idea was it to throw Scheffield a 77 mph fastball?

I had to listen to the game on ESPN radio because Fox didn't carry the game in DC. Can someone tell these fools that the season stats on the Sox pen are irrelevant now? Arrojo, Bradford, Myers, Papelbon and Timlin is just NOT that terrible League-worst pen with the 5+ ERA. THAT pen includes the numbers of Blaine Neal, Halama, Embree, Foulke, "Cla," and Mantei. They sucked...so what? They ain't coming out that bullpen door, guys, get current! This pen, plus either Lenny or the Kid, has an ERA under 4 and will be just fine, thanks.

Shut up, Buck.

Dan said...

I couldn't believe more people werent't screaming about the idiocy of that 3-2 pitch to Sheff, Jack. Pretty much the worst fastball in the league thrown to the best fastball hitter in the league.

But although it sucks for us today, would you really change the rule? Would you make the Yanks and Sox play an additional "division champ" tiebreaker game even if both of them are going to the playoffs anyway? That's the only other solution ...

Edward Lee said...


If I understand correctly, under the current system, if the Yankees, Red Sox and Indians all ended up tied, the Yankees and Red Sox would play a game for the division championship. But this game would not count in the official standings, so the loser and the Indians would still tied for the wild card and thus have to play another game.

It seems somewhat unnatural that the division championship would be decided by an extra game if the Indians were also tied, whereas it would be decided by head-to-head otherwise. Of course, it is debatable whether it's worth it to play an extra game to have a chance at home-field advantage for the first round.

Sfumato said...

Going into this thing, I looked at Wells, the Unit and Schilling as the respective "guys who were brought here for this game" pitchers. So far, Wells and the Unit have done what they needed to do, and the Yanks regulars never touch Schilling. But Torre is going to play the scrubs on Sunday, so the Bubba Crosbys and Mark Bellhorns might be the roasters. We shall see.

Anonymous said...

Forget all this "Yanks clinch" stuff. If the Sox win tomorrow, they're co-champs of the AL East. Period.

College football has ties for conference championships all the time, and both teams are honored as such, even if practicality requires tiebreakers for postseason assignment. I don't see any reason why this situation is any different.

I understand why baseball doesn't play it off--why risk scrambling the pitching rotation just to get homefield advantage, but the media should not be spinning this as though supremacy of the AL East was somehow indispuatably settled this afternoon.

Anonymous said...

^^ exactly. good point.

the media spins something any which way they want, and suddenly that's the official version of what has happened. when it's really totally not true at all.

is it really true that torre will be playing the 'scrubs'? i know anything can and does happen in baseball, but don't you think he'd be putting his best foot forward in an effort to try to knock us out of the playoffs altogether? i don't think anyone wants to face us no matter what has happened in this month of september.


ps. how embarrassing/sickening is it to see joe torre crying? bloody hell, this guy is so damn sentimental isn't he? to me it's like watching a sore winner. it reminded me when they won the alcs in 2003 and him (and rivera) got all weepy. pansies! ;D

Anonymous said...

Would I have them play an extra game? Sure I would...or don't call it a championship. Nobody apparently figured this thing out until today..what was all this "best 2 out of 3" crap in the papers? This one game was for the championship (if the Indians lost...sorry, I can't get my mind around a system in which the champion of a division is determined by a game between TWO TEAMS NOT IN THAT DIVISION!!!!!!) and baseball didn't make that clear? "Thank you, schedule-makers..." thanks for WHAT? For hyping a "winner take all series" that wasn't?
Where did anyone read on Thursday night, "Unless the Sox sweep the Yankees or the Indians take one of the first two from the White Sox, the Yanks win the East.?" NOWHERE, that's where...I just checked five major dailies. This is total, complete horse%$#&!

Anonymous said...

I knew I read something about tie-breakers last week, and I just found it on the Boston Globe Website.

Here it is:

"Playoff tie-breakers
September 27, 2005

A rundown of the tie-breaking procedures if one or more teams finish the weekend tied for first in a division or tied for a wild-card spot.

Whether for a division or a wild-card spot, the teams would stage a one-game playoff on Monday, with the site already determined by a coin flip.

If the tie involves two teams tied for a division lead and another vying for the wild card (as could happen with the Red Sox, Yankees, and Indians), the two division teams play Monday with the winner the division champ and the loser playing the other team for a wild-card spot on Tuesday.

If the tie involves teams all vying for the same division title or the same wild-card spot, team C gets a bye while team A hosts team B on Monday, then the winner hosts team C on Tuesday. The designation of teams is based on regular-season record amongst one another, or by a draw if all records are equal.

Boston at New York; Chicago at Cleveland; Oakland at Los Angeles; New York at Cleveland; Oakland at Cleveland; Oakland at New York; Cleveland at Boston.

Atlanta at Philadelphia; San Francisco at San Diego; Houston at Florida; Houston at Philadelphia. Florida at Philadelphia;

© Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company"

Anonymous said...

sfumato - you're actually incorrect regarding 1995. The Yankees finished a game ahead of *both* the Angels and Mariners, so they didn't back into anything. Even before the playoff game they had a better record than both AL West teams.

In fact, I don't believe there was ever an occurrence (fortunately) of the wild card team finishing tied with co-division leaders before they changed that rule.

Anonymous said...

What's the record for finishing 2nd the most years in a row?

allan said...

I believe this is it.


And I agree fully on the "co-champions" of the East. The head-to-head record is bullshit.

Dan said...

I just can't see forcing an extra game into an already-packed postseason schedule just because the term "division championship" sounds like it should be important. In a four-team playoff system, with the wild card winning the World Series three years in a row, "division champ" ISN'T important. The Yanks can't put it on some t-shirts and get drunk in the clubhouse if they want, but I count us co-champs if we finish with the same record. And I'd much rather head straight to the first-round playoff matchup than stick around and fight the Yankees for the right to use the term "division champ." World Series champ is the only title worth fighting for.

Robin said...

Look lets just get into the playoffs. You think the Padres are upset that they got in the way they did? Well they arn't. They are gloating while the Astros or Phillies have to stay home and watch.

Look as long as you win enough to get INTO the final 11-19 games... who cares what you do in the first 162?

Michael Leggett said...

Gee, why aren't there any blood tests, for some CHEMICALLY ENHANCED YANKEE SLUGGER, who affected this race by 10 to 15 Games?

Bud must be interested in the ad revenue, he's trying to recoup from last year.

Anonymous said...

This actually happened in 2001, when the Cardinals and Astros tied for the division lead and the Wild Card. Due to tiebreaker rules, the Astros were seeded as the Division Champs and the Cards as the WC, but the Cardinals are listed in various places as either the co-champs or champs; MLB has not taken a firm stand on the issue.

If we win tomorrow, we will have had exactly as good a season as the Yanks. We will be the co-champs, end of story.

Iain said...

If we win tomorrow, we will have had exactly as good a season as the Yanks. We will be the co-champs, end of story.
That's the bottom line - the rest of just semantics. I would take the Wild Card spot in a heartbeat. Let's win the game, get in to the playoffs and then take it from there.

Neil Monnery said...

Matsui should have been called out yes but the run would have still scored as you cannot assume the DP and it was only 1 out.

DanM said...

Sigh, this year drags on toward an inevitable heart-break. We got no horses left on the mound - it is a wing and a prayer time. the antiCoach has shown no inspiration, no leadership and sounds more like Elmer Fudd everyday.

Fresh off my cruise to Bermuda (I watched TOR clobber BoSox in game two on the Cruise ship. I almost jumped ship! Onwards to the end.

allan said...

Matsui should have been called out yes but the run would have still scored as you cannot assume the DP and it was only 1 out.

There was one out already (HGH had K'd), so I was thinking Matsui gets called out and ER makes the play to first. But I suppose you're right. Even if the umps changed their minds, ER did not get Cano at first.

Sigh, this year drags on toward an inevitable heart-break.

Just like 2004, you mean?

I thought all that "woe is us, gloom and doom, we always lose because we're cursed" shit was finally put to rest last October.

How can ANY Red Sox fan say stuff like this with a straight face anymore? ... Is it just me?

Anonymous said...

Redsock: I agree... the gloom and doom stuff was bullshit BEFORE 2004, but to do that crap now is completely unjustified.

I too am annoyed by the fact that Giambi, who is every bit as much of a cheater as Palmiero, continues to have any impact on the race, and may even (gag me with a spoon) win comback of the year honors. But please, can we have an official end to "Game impact" inflation? Bill James has conclusively shown that even MVPs have a maximum of 5-8 games impact on a team's W-L record, yet I read that the Jays think another half season of Halladay would have made them champs (that would be a 16 game swing in half a season!) and Michael writes that Giambi had a "10-15 game" effect on the race. It was probably more like 3 (compared to what Tino would have done), and that's plenty, but let's not be absurd.

If the Yanks play scrubs today, it means that they would rather play the Sox than the Indians...and they are fools. Pitchers or not, the Sox are far more dangerous, and I'll look to the ALCS to settle who REALLY won the East.