Jobu reviews the Yankees first series against the Boston Red Sox in 2012.
The Yankees came into this series hoping to spoil the 100th Anniversary of Fenway park. They did just that, sweeping the Sox in a shortened two-game series (the Sunday night game was rained out) in pretty crushing fashion. This series has really turned things upside down in Boston, and it’s something some people think the Red Sox might not be able to recover from.
Game 1: Yankees 6, Red Sox 2
Friday afternoon was a special day for the Boston Red Sox, and really all of baseball in general, so it was kind of nice to see the Yankees dump all over it. The Yankees got some solid starting pitching, another good effort by the bullpen, and a whole lot of home runs, and they spoiled the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park in a 6-2 win. The Red Sox actually had a very cool opening ceremony, bringing back almost 200 former players and coaches (including José Canseco and Terry Francona) to delight their fans. Kevin Millar and Pedro Martínez took a little of the class away from it by making fun of former Yankees OF Karim García (Pedro and García had a situation during the 2004 post-season), but they’re self-proclaimed “idiots,” so you can’t blame them too much. Both teams aso wore throwback uniforms to commemorate the opening of the stadium, which was also neat.
All I Do Is Win, Win, Win… No Matter What:
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. Iván Nova does not lose. Nova used 93 pitches to go six strong innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, while not walking anyone and striking out five. The runs he allowed came on a solo home run by David Ortiz, and a ball Nick Swisher lost in the sun. As Michael Kay noted, it was the same sun that blinded Lou Piniella in 1972 on a similar play… the same sun? You don’t say, Michael! Earth should really upgrade that, it’s at least forty years old… Anyway, this was definitely Nova’s best start of the season, which is very impressive considering his struggles in previous starts against the Red Sox.
After three more scoreless innings from the Yankees bullpen, this one was in the books. This time, Corey Wade pitched a scoreless seventh and David Robertson pitched his typically scoreless eighth. Newcomer Cody Eppley took the ball in the 9th to try to save the arm of Mariano Rivera, but he allowed a single to the first man he faced, so Mo came in to clean things up.
Chicks Dig the Long Ball
So does Clay Buchholz, apparently. The Red Sox came into this season hoping Buchholz could recapture his dominance from 2010 (17-7, 2.33 ERA), but he really hasn’t yet. On Friday, he looked pretty terrible, allowing five home runs, and an unearned run following a dropped pop-up by Dustin Pedroia. Hey, at least the home runs were all solos, right? Ah?
The home run barrage got started in the top of the second, when Nick Swisher popped one over the monster to extend the Yankees lead to 2-0. Later in the inning, Eric Chavez hit a high change up into the Red Sox bullpen, and the Yankees led 3-0. His next time up, Chavez crushed one out to dead center, and the Yankees led 4-0. Chavez came into the game with six at bats on the season (he had managed two singles). His power display matched his home run total from all of last season. It’s nice to know the Yankees have some quality bats on the bench that can step in and play when needed, right?
Anywho, Next up on the home run parade was Alex Rodriguez, who hit one onto Landsdown Street in the top of the fifth inning. The home run was the 631st of Alex’s career, moving him ahead of Ken Griffey Jr., and putting him in sole possession of fifth all-time on the leader boards. Next up is Willie Mays with 660, just 29 away. Russell Martin, who seemed to take some steps towards busting out of his slump in this game, hit another ball over the Green Monster to make it 6-2 in the top of the sixth. That was it for the home runs, and the scoring. It was a solid day for the Yankees’ offense, as they flexed a ton of muscle in a big win.
Notable Offense: HR – Swisher (3), Chavez 2 (2), Rodriguez (2), Martin (1), RBI – Rodriguez 2 (4), Swisher (14), Chavez 2 (2), Martin (2), 2 hits for A-Rod, Swisher and Chavez.
Game 2: Yankees 15, Red Sox 9
This game was truly ridiculous. The Yankees looked terrible against Red Sox rookie Felix Doubront in the first 5.2 innings and the Sox jumped all over Freddy García early and often. This led to a 9-0 Red Sox lead heading into the 6th inning, and one of the biggest bullpen implosions I have ever seen. Red Sox relievers allowed 14 runs on 12 hits and 5 walks, turning a 9-1 lead (Doubront allowed a home run in the 6th) into a 15-9 devastating loss that already has Boston newspapers calling for Bobby Valentine’s job.
The murmurs of removing Freddy García from the rotation, or at least of skipping his next turn, turned to yells after this brutal performance at Fenway. Freddy didn’t make it out of the second inning, allowing five runs on seven hits and not registering a single strikeout. Frankly, I don’t remember him registering more than a couple swings and misses. Everything seemed hard hit and into the outfield, and four of those hits went for extra bases. It was not pretty. In his four starts now, Freddy has a 9.75 ERA and has allowed 20 hits in 12 innings. Hey, at least he hasn’t walked anyone the last two starts. Although, he didn’t really have time to on Saturday. I think they should skip his next turn rather than remove him from the rotation already, but time is definitely running short for him.
Not Quite Dominance, but It Will Do
After García blew up on the mound and Clay Rapada finished the second inning, the Yankees turned to resident long man, and budding new secret weapon, David Phelps. While Phelps wasn’t nearly as dominant as he was against Anaheim and Baltimore, he still put in a solid performance against a some tough hitters. In all, Phelps went four innings, allowed three runs on six hits and a walk while striking out two. Not a shutdown performance, but it was good enough to hold the Red Sox at bay while the offense did their thing. After Phelps, the Yankees got scoreless innings from Alfonso Soriano, Boone Logan and Cody Eppley, and the game was over. The bullpen was not the big story of the night though.
They’re Getting Crushed Right?
That’s what my friend Tom, my dad and my brother all said when I called them to see if they were paying attention to the game during the seventh inning. Like me, they had seen the Yankees go down 9-0 and drifted away from the game and into other life interests. Luckily for me, I was tooling around on my iPad, which is constantly connected to an ESPN app that updates me on pertinent scores. As I watched a movie on HBOGo, I got an update that said 9-1. Soon i received a second update that said 9-5, and a third that read 9-8… Needless to say, I put the game back on to watch the rest of the fun.
But first, here’s how the parts I didn’t see went down. Felix Doubront pretty much dominated the Yankees through the first 5.2 innings before Mark Teixeira touched him up for a solo home run in the sixth. No matter, Doubront got the next batter out and that was that. An innocent little solo home run. Nothing to see here, right? Enter the Red Sox bullpen. Let’s keep in mind that the Red Sox let their best reliever sign with the Phillies and put their second best reliever in the starting rotation this season. They then traded for Andrew Bailey, who predictably got hurt in Spring Training (Bailey has spent time on the DL every year of his career).
The Sox opened the inning with Vicente Padilla on the bump, and he promptly struck out Andruw Jones to start the inning. Hey now! Unfortunately, that’s the last out Padilla would record. Russell Martin and Eduardo Núñez singled, and a walk to Jeter brought up Nick Swisher. Swisher hit a first pitch fastball over the monster for a Grand Slam, and the Red Sox lead was cut to 9-5. The next batter, Robinson Cano doubled and (after Matt Albers came in for the Sox) Alex Rodríguez reached on an error by shortstop Mike Aviles, which brought up Teixeira again. Now I know my TV has been acting funny lately, but this time I was at my girlfriend’s house, so I’m pretty sure what I saw was accurate. Tex hit a 2-2 sinker over the monster for a 3-run homer. It was his second of the game, and closed the deficit to 9-8. Franklin Morales finally ended the inning for Boston, but the damage was done. Two innings to score one run against the Red Sox bullpen? Don’t mind if I do!
It turns out, the Yankees needed a lot less than two innings. Núñez led off the top of the eighth with a single to left, and that here we go feeling started forming a cloud over Fenway. Bobby Valentine decided enough was enough, and went straight to former Yankee Alfredo Aceves to close things out. Uh… about that. Aceves immediately walked Derek Jeter, and Swisher hit a ball off the center field wall to give the Yankees a 10-9 lead. They had overcome the largest deficit in franchise history (also done several times prior), but they weren’t done yet.
The Red Sox then intentionally walked Robinson Cano (always smart to put more runners on base against a shaky bullpen when you’re already losing), and Aceves unintentionally walked A-Rod to load the bases, bringing up Tex again. Tex drove in his fifth and sixth runs of the game with a double, and it was 12-9. After issuing yet another intentional walk to Curtis Granderson, Aceves was taken out in favor of Justin Thomas. Thomas got extremely lucky when Raúl Ibañez crushed a line drive right at Adrián González, who turned it into a quick double play. Fortunately, for the Yankees, Russell Martin came up next and doubled off the center field wall, which made the game 14-9. Thomas gave way to Junichi Tazawa, who got Jeter to ground out to Aviles to end the inning. Just kidding, Aviles fielded the grounder, then slipped and fell on his ass, allowing yet another run to score. Mercifully, Swisher then flew out to center to end things for reals.
In all, the Yankees scored 14 runs in two innings against the Red Sox bullpen. You can’t win too many games if you’re doing all that. I can’t think of too many games that started as laughers for one team and ended up as laughers for the other. What the Yankees did was pretty damn impressive, although I liken it to beating your little brother at basketball. No matter how hard they try, they just don’t have the size or skill to beat you. That’s what it’s like beating the Red Sox bullpen right now. Congratulations, Yankees.
Notable Offense: HR – Teixeira 2 (3), Swisher (4), RBI – Teixeira 6 (11), Swisher 6 (20), Martin 2(4), Jeter (12), SB – Núñez (3), 3 hits for Jeter, Swisher, Teixeira and Núñez, 2 for Martin
Boxscore – 4/21/2012
Featured image courtesy of: FOX
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