Showing posts with label Red Sox. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Red Sox. Show all posts

Saturday, June 28, 2014


One Slip Sinks Tanaka

Jon Lester Tops Masahiro Tanaka in Impressive Pitcher’s Duel at Yankee Stadium

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 29- On Saturday night, a sold-out house of 48,433 at Yankee Stadium, the third largest crowd of the season, was attracted to another contest between the biggest rivals in baseball, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.

The two courageous and talented starting pitchers, Jon Lester of Boston and Masahiro Tanaka of New York hooked up in an outstandingly performed and fast moving pitcher’s duel.

Lester, 30, was starting his 237th game in the majors. The number of starts would be even higher, but Lester missed large parts of his first two seasons with Boston, 2006 and 2007, after being diagnosed with lymphoma in the summer of 2006. Tanaka, 25, was making his 16th start of his first season in MLB.

Lester pitched no-hit ball for the first five frames. The first hit he yielded was a single up the middle by Brett Gardner, leading off the sixth. After Gardner was thrown out trying to stretch his single to a double, the next two batters, Derek Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury, each singled, but were left on base when the inning ended.

The only run given up by Lester was scored without a hit. Brian Roberts was safe on an error to begin the Yankee third. The next batter, Yangervis Solarte, was hit by a pitch. Gardner pushed them each up one base with a sacrifice bunt. The unearned run was scored on an infield groundout by Jeter.

Lester’s superlative performance of pitching eight innings without allowing an earned run, while only yielding five hits, was last equaled by a Red Sox pitcher in the Bronx when it was accomplished by Lester on July 3, 2008 in the original Yankee Stadium’s final season.

When asked to describe Lester’s outing, Yankee skipper Joe Girardi remarked, “He does what he always does. He cuts it; he sinks it; he locates. He pitched extremely well tonight.”
The leading Rookie-of-the-Year candidate, Tanaka, pitched his third complete game of the season. He walked one batter and surrendered seven hits, but only two pitches were responsible for his loss.

Catcher David Ross took a 1-0 pitch into the stands for a solo home run with one out in the third.

The winning run came with two out in the ninth on the 112th pitch thrown by the Yankee starter. With the count 1-2 on Mike Napoli, who had two hits and homered off Tanaka in their previous encounter on April22, Tanka threw a fast ball over the plate that Napoli sent into the right field stands.

Through his translator, Tanaka explained what happened, “The sign was for a breaking ball, but I wanted to go hard outside. That’s why I shook him [catcher Brian McCann] off twice. He asked for a splitter and a slider. I wanted to set up for a breaking ball on the next pitch, but I missed my spot.”

After the game, Girardi was asked why he didn’t remove Tanaka in the ninth. He responded with the following statement, “He’d been excellent all night. His stuff was really outstanding. I liked how he’d been throwing the baseball.” 

Neither deserved to lose such a well-pitched game yet one did. Both deserved to win such a well-pitched game yet only one did. That’s baseball, a game of inches.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Yankees Sock it to Boston

Yankees Sock it to Boston

Yanks Put to Rest Some Questions with Dominance of Red Sox, Ejection of Manager John Farrell

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK, APRIL 14- The rivalry changed a bit when the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox met for the first time in the Bronx the past three days. The Yankees, a team with questions will take what they accomplished after their 3-2 win Sunday night taking three of four games from their rivals.

This early in the season, and with questions about a Yankees bullpen that is being tested, they conquered. Matt Thornton, David Phelps and Shawn Kelley closed the door with David Robertson on the disabled list. It was intense baseball in the Bronx and from the looks of these first four of 19-games that will be played between these division rivals, there will be more intensity.

And count on a little of everything, including spectacular defense that came from the Yankees outfield. With a decimated infield, plagued by injuries, Carlos Beltran was shifted from right-field to first base in the top of the fifth because of an injury to Francisco Cervelli.

Cervelli, will likely go on the disabled list. Sunday night, Beltran went 3-for-4 including a home run, single and a double He has been everything the Yankees wanted in their lineup, perhaps something they did not have last year when the Red Sox dominated New York.

"I didn't have a whole lot of choices tonight," said manager Joe Girardi about putting Beltran in at first for the injured Cervelli. "Just tells you the type of player he is. Willing to do anything you ask him to do.”

He added, “Very, very unselfish."

Beltran is that type of player. He was one of the four players the Yankees purchased for over $450 million to get them back to October. But, with the Yankees decimated with injuries in the infield, Beltran was pressed into service and was put in the infield for the first time in his career.

It was another dimension to this rivalry, a new one that has developed. The Red Sox don’t resemble the team that went on to win a World Series last October. And the Yankees, without Derek Jeter this night ,were pressed to do something and Beltran did not say no.

"Thank God nobody hit the baseball to me," said Beltran. He made three putouts and without Mark Teixeira, on the disabled list with a right hamstring pull, Girardi may not hesitate to put Beltran at first again.

“We have to do what it takes," Beltran said. I hope I don't have to do it again." The Yankees are doing what they have to do, 13-games into a young season. He has homered in consecutive games since May 28-29 of last season against Kansas City when he was with the Cardinals.

The Yankees scored their third run in the fourth inning. The new instant replay rule went to their benefit and caused the ejection of Boston Manager John Farrell. Cervelli was ruled safe on a bang-bang play at first. Girardi challenged.

Farrell contested the change of a call that enabled the Yankees to get what was a decisive run in what could have been an inning ending double-play. Under the new rule a play overturned is not supposed to be argued by a manager, hence the ejection. More, so the Yankees got the benefit and the rivalry got more intense.

So much of what transpired renewed a rivalry that seemed to disappear last season. Ichiro Suzuki, replacing Beltran in right, crashed into the outfield wall and made a spectacular catch that took an extra base hit away from David Ortiz in the eighth inning.

And by the eighth inning, with Mike Napoli on second, after a double to left that the Yankees’ Brett Gardner did his best to get, the Yankee Stadium crowd could be heard again, as it was when this rivalry was so intense.

Phelps, part of the mix and match late combination out of the Yankees pen walked Daniel Nava on a pitch that was low. A.J. Pierzynski got hit by a pitch that loaded the bases. Mike Carp off the bench after going behind 2-0 on the count went after a breaking ball and swung at strike three.

Then Kelley, in a role as one of the closers, sent the Red Sox packing in the ninth. It is only April, but these games are so important in a division that will be contested also with Tampa Bay.

“You know the division and wild card come down to one run,” said Girardi who always said these games are important now. However, if the Yankees want to be there in late September, they need to stay healthy. And they need good pitching as Ivan Nova got his second win in 7.1 innings. He struck out four on eight-hits and one of the Boston runs off Napoli’s third home run in the sixth.

“I thought he had a better command of his curveball tonight and that was a difference,” commented Girardi. In his last outing, Nova gave up seven runs and 10-hits in 3-2/3 innings to Baltimore.

The type of game on Sunday night that revived a rivalry in the Bronx and the Yankees, with an off Monday have a day to recuperate before welcoming the Chicago Cubs for a two-game interleague series.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Yanks Blast Sox Off

Yanks Blast Sox Off

Homers Give Yankees a 7-4 Victory over the Red Sox

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK APRIL 13- In a reversal of the circumstances of the previous night’s contest at Yankee Stadium, five Yankee four baggers drove in each of their seven runs and ensured them a Saturday matinee victory over the Boston Red Sox.

The good feeling of sitting under blue skies and mild temperatures in the 60’s was increased for the Yankee rooters in the ballpark by the success at the plate of the Yankee batters. The combination provided a pleasant Saturday afternoon outing for the 48.572 fans in the Stadium, the largest crowd of the season.

In the first frame, a two-out single by the hot hitting former star of the Red Sox, Jacoby Ellsbury, was followed by Carlos Beltran’s second home run of the 2014 campaign, which gave New York a two run lead.

A lead-off base hit by Xander Bogarts in the second led to a tied score of two as the next batter, AJ Pierzynski blasted the first pitch into the seats in right to drive in two runs.
Two innings later, Brian McCann and Alfonso Soriano connected for back-to-back homers to give New York a 4-2 advantage. The Yankees had last hit homers back-to-back on June 6, 2013 in Seattle.

Two additional Yankee runners crossed the plate in the bottom of the sixth. McCann with his second home run of the game also drove in Beltran, who had doubled to begin the inning. This was McCann’s tenth multi-homer game in his career in the majors. It was the first Yankee multi-home run game since Soriano blasted two round trippers on September 10, 2013.

Despite entering the contest with a batting average of .162, the Yankee skipper was not surprised by McCann’s home runs, “I know he’s going to hit; he’s too good a hitter not to hit.”

Yankee starter Hiroki Kuroda was removed from the game after 6.1 innings after walking two batters in the seventh. A hit batsman and a single by Mike Carp off reliever Matt Thornton allowed the last two baserunners of Kuroda’s outing to score.

Kuroda gave up six hits and four earned runs in his 6.1 inning performance. He earned his second win of the young season, but was critical of his pitching, “Overall, I wasn’t sharp. My command and precise control wasn’t there.”

Kelly Johnson began the eighth frame with a crushing blow that landed in the center field seats. Saturday’s game was the third straight in which Johnson homered. The two rookies, Yangervis Solarte and Dean Anna, followed with a single and a double respectively. They were stranded on second and third when the inning concluded after the next two batters could not move them.

The offensive onslaught was quite pleasing to the Yankee manager, “It definitely helps if you can score runs quickly. I think our offense is much more balanced than last year. I think it is much more explosive too.”

The final game of the series will be played on Sunday night. Ivan Nova will start for New York and Felix Doubront will start for Boston.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Heartbreak for Andy

Bullpen Collapse Leads to Boston Domination

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 7- After Friday night’s game between the Yanks and the Red Sox, Boston’s skipper John Farrell remarked, “It was almost two different games tonight.” The Yankees led 8-3 at the end of the fifth inning, but were held scoreless during the final four frames while the Red Sox scored nine runs in the seventh and eighth.

During the first five frames, the Yankee offense was in full throttle. In those innings, every Yankee batter had successfully reached base at least once. The Yankees scored two runs in four of the first five innings and six different batters recorded RBI.
Four of the first five Yankee runs were scored by batters who were walked by Red Sox starter Felix Doubront. After Derek Jeter walked with one out in the first inning, Alfonso Soriano struck his 13th home run in pinstripes since joining the club on July 26. The four-bagger was his 30th of the 2013 campaign.

Vernon Wells drew a base on balls to open the second inning and scored on a triple by Eduardo Nuñez, who later in the inning scored on a sacrifice fly by Chris Stewart.
Two out walks issued to Mark Reynolds and Stewart in the fourth were transformed into runs when Brett Gardner drove in both runners with a triple.

In the fifth, a double by Robinson Cano followed by singles from Wells, Nuñez and Reynolds resulted in another two run inning.

After the contest, Yankee starting pitcher Andy Pettitte gave credit to the offense, “The offense has been great. I like the way the guys have been swinging the bats. I love the fight in us.”

Unfortunately, for the large crowd (44,117) of Yankee fans, the offense was unable to continue the fight after the fifth. Boston relievers kept the Yankee batters scoreless and hitless during the final four frames. Six of the 12 outs were by strikeout.

Andy Pettitte had another quality start. In six innings, he yielded three runs on five hits. The veteran has turned his season around since problems earlier in the year. In his last five starts, the left-hander is 3-0 with an ERA of 1.71. The competitive hurler was self-critical despite his fine performance. “I wish I could have gone a lot longer in the game.”

In the past two games with Boston, the failure has come with the depleted relief corps. Mariano Rivera pitched in the previous three contests and was unavailable David Robertson, who pitched in Thursday’s game was found to have tendonitis in his shoulder and will be out for several days. Shawn Kelley is also not available for approximately one week.

Phil Hughes, removed from the rotation for David Huff, made his first relief appearance of the season. In the seventh, he gave up three hits and a walk on 0.1 inning, all of whom scored. Hughes honestly commented on his performance, “The stuff was flat. It was a terrible inning. It cost us big time.”

Hughes was followed by Boone Logan who also lasted 0.1 inning. The second batter he faced, Mike Napoli, just cleared the glove of right fielder Ichiro Suzuki for his second grand slam against New York in 2013. The game was tied at 8 at the end of seven.

Logan explained the problem that will have him undergo an MRI on Saturday, “It’s been a long year. I felt a little tightness 2-3 pitches into Napoli’s at bat.”

The story of the previous game was repeated as other relievers gave up four additional runs in the eighth to Boston. Preston Claiborne, the losing pitcher, and Joba Chamberlain each surrendered runs in their respective 0.2 inning stints.
Several spoke of the need for those left in the pen to succeed. Hughes said, “We have to find a way to get it done and not let a quality start go to waste.” The Yankee manager remarked, “It’s a chance for other guys to shine and they’re going to have to do it.”

David Huff (2-0) and John Lackey (8-12) will be the starting pitchers in game three on Saturday afternoon.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Bad Sox

Heartbreak Over Loss

Yankees almost had it against the Red Sox in another important game that goes as a loss

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 6- This was a game the New York Yankees thought they had and just as quick it went away as a loss. It took 10 innings and over four hours, a typical Yankees-Red Sox game. It is September and a post season drive for the Yankees and for them it is more important.

The Yankees are 11-6 since coming back to beat the Red Sox, 9-6, a few weeks back up in Fenway Park. It was Alex Rodriquez who hit a home run then off Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster. Four innings before that, he got hit by Dempster in the first inning. That has claimed to be, what has rejuvenated this Yankees team.

A claim to make September interesting and make a push for playing baseball In October, and after a heart breaking 9-8 loss in the Bronx Thursday evening, the Yankees know how crucial this loss was.

“Tough loss,” said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. His closer Mariano Rivera recorded his sixth blown save of the season. With two outs in the ninth, Steven Drew singled to right-center and drove in Quintin Berry for the tying run.

You can’t expect Rivera, the all-time saves leader and with 41 this season to close them all. Even if it is September and his team is fighting for a spot to play in October, the best can’t be perfect. Berry came in to run for Mike Napoli who would steal second and advance on a throwing error by catcher Austin Romine.

“Its’ part of the game,” explained Rivera. It was a tough one. We have to forget about it.”

Romaine will also have to bounce back. He could not handle a throw to home from Ichiro Suzuki that could have nailed Jacoby Ellsbury. The eventual winning run scored in the 10th as the ball eluded Romaine at the plate. Maybe if he was closer to the plate the Red Sox don’t score.

It was a bad inning for Romaine who failed to nail Ellsbury from going to second.

“I held on the ball too long,’ said Romaine about the play at home. “Ball was short hopped… could have done a little better back there tonight.” He came in for Chris Stewart who was pinch hit for in the seventh, the inning where the Yankees came from behind and scored six runs on five hits.

The Yankees overcame a five-run deficit, and have at least one inning of four or more runs scored in each of their last four games. 

Joba Chamberlain will have to forget about this one also. He got the loss in a 10th inning that saw the Red Sox score the decisive run, and quietly getting ejected for barking at a call he thought should have went the Yankees way on a check swing third strike to Shane Victorino.

It was a tenth inning the Yankees want to forget and all that was heard in the clubhouse was, “We have to bounce back tomorrow.” Every game counts, with 22 remaining, and it will be up to Andy Pettitte on the mound Friday night to hope and get the Yankees to bounce back.

But, these are the Boston Red Sox who scored 20-runs the night before against the league leading hitting Tigers. Ivan Nova started for the Yankees and threw 58 pitches in two innings. The Red Sox scored two runs, though the Yankees and Nova got a break when Jacoby Ellsbury hit a ground rule double that bounced over the center field wall that scored Will Middlebrook.

Nova was fortunate to get out of the inning giving up only two runs. The three –hit inning and two walks, one intentional to David Ortiz, ended when he caught Mike Napoli looking with the bases loaded.

It was going to be that typical Yankees-Red Sox game. New York came back in their half of the inning scoring two runs off Boston starter Jake Peavy who recorded a no-decision, Robinson Cano with the bases loaded, off a good  Derek Jeter at bat, who walked, lined a ball to right that almost cleared the wall and went for a two-run double.

It went on with the Yankees and Red Sox scoring runs. There were six stolen bases by the Yankees, a season high, including one by David Wells in the six-run five-hit seventh that put the Yankees ahead, 8-7 and their third big inning on this home stand that happened also this week with Baltimore and the White Sox.

And there was the go-ahead single, and what the Yankees thought would be the winning run from Lyle Overbay in that seventh inning, a run that would not stand up.

There was that bottom of the ninth inning when it appeared these comeback Yankees were headed to a last at bat walk-off win. Alfonso Soriano would draw a walk and steal second after the Red Sox botched the pick-off attempt. With Curtis Granderson at the plate, Soriano got nailed trying to take third that went from the pitcher-to third-to shortstop- to second.

“Just trying to go to third,” claimed Soriano who has been a major part of this post season playoff push in the Bronx. It is a stretch of baseball being played in the Bronx that did not go the Yankees way in the first of four against the rival Red Sox.

There is more to come for sure, Friday night in the Bronx.

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