So, here’s a thought experiment for you: when your starting pitcher, your number two pitcher – let’s call him, say, Josh Beckett – gives up five runs to the Yankees in the top of the first inning what are the chances of then witnessing any kind of close, fun, enjoyable baseball game?
Turns out, if you’re talking about a Red Sox-Yankees game, the chances are pretty good. The Red Sox stormed back against an equally ineffective Hiroki Kuroda in the bottom of the first, and tied the game at five. A wild first inning kicked off the last series before the All-Star break: Beckett gave up two singles and then hit Alex Rodriguez to load the bases, before walking Derek Jeter home on a Robinson Cano walk, allowing a two-run single to Mark Teixeira, and giving up sacrifice fly balls to Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez.
Phew. Exhausting! Good thing Kuroda had a similarly tough time getting outs in the first inning. He gave up a leadoff double to Daniel Nava, moved him on a wild pitch, and let him score on a Ryan Kalish sacrifice fly. A David Ortiz single, a Yankee throwing error, and an Adrian Gonzalez double brought the score to 5-2, before Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit his 17th home run of the year to right field, tying the game and marking a new career high.
The first inning took almost 45 minutes, which, well, let’s just say visions of a seven-hour game were running through my head. This was a Red Sox-Yankees game, after all.
The Yankees scored again in the top of the second inning: Curtis Granderson tripled and Rodriguez scored him on a groundout. But, have no fear, nation – David Ortiz, our hero and lone All-Star, evened up the score again with two men on in the bottom of the second inning, singling to left field and scoring Nava. Ortiz was out at second on the play, though – it seems like he always tries to follow the play with “smart” baserunning that gets him in trouble more often than not. David Ortiz, you are a lot of things, but speedy is not one of them.
From that point, the game settled down a little bit (cue the collective “phew!” from those intrepid sports bloggers who have beach plans on Saturday and want to get there early to get a good spot because they are very particular about beach towel placement, and were not looking forward to staying up until three in the morning to watch a baseball game, no matter how rivalry-y it is). Both pitchers made their opposing lineups look pretty silly until the bottom of the fifth, when Mauro Gomez – the newbie from AAA – singled to left, scoring Gonzalez and putting the Sox ahead by a run.
Both teams went to their bullpens at that point. And, to put it bluntly, the Yankee bullpen won this fight. Vicente Padilla – who has been absolutely lock-down lately – gave up a rocket of a triple into the triangle to Teixeira, scoring Granderson and Rodriguez, and putting the Yankees ahead 8-7. The blown save quickly compounded: Raul Ibanez quickly doubled Teixeira home to make the score 9-7, and Chavez subsequently hit a single off of Scott Atchison to score Ibanez and leave the score at 10-7. Even a Cody Ross home run in the bottom of the seventh couldn’t get the Red Sox going, and they went pretty quietly through the remainder of the game. The Red Sox, someone should probably mention, are only one game over .500 again. Raise your hand if you think they could easily see .500 again this series (raises hand…)?
Here’s a link to the see-saw box score, courtesy of the Red Sox.
And, because this was a Yankees-Red Sox game, obviously – OBVIOUSLY! – there was some extracurricular drama. Last night, it came in the form of Mark Teixeira letting it be known that he didn’t much care for Vicente Padilla’s pitching style. Teixeira hit the go-ahead triple off Padilla, so I assume he felt some redemption.
The situation appears to be this: Padilla and Teixeira don’t like each other. Never have, since they played together for the Texas Rangers in 2006 and 2007. According to WEEI, back on the Rangers, Padilla made a habit of plunking batters, and Teixeira – a marquee player in the Rangers lineup – was constantly getting plunked in retaliation. Teixeira asked Padilla to stop throwing at batters, Padilla pretty much blew Teixeira off, and things went from there. Last night, Teixeira had this to say to WEEI:
The guy throws at people, fact of the matter. I’m not saying anything that’s news. It is what it is. I’ve always been someone who wants to play the game the right way. You play hard, you don’t play cheap. I’ve always just lived that way, too. Some guys decide to take matters into their own hands. In the NFL, he’d probably be suspended by Roger Goodell eight games, or a whole season but this is baseball.
There’s only one guy in baseball. No one else does this. That’s the thing that’s unbelievable to me. No one else in baseball does this. Whether he’s changed his ways, I hope he does, and that’s great, because he’s a good pitcher. The guy’s got really good stuff and it’d be nice to talk to him as a baseball player, not someone who throws at people.
Roger Goodell? Oh no he didn’t… For what it’s worth, in his own line against Padilla, Teixiera’s been hit three times in 17 at bats. He’s told reporters that his teammates have been thrown at “a lot more than that.” Padilla, meanwhile, didn’t make himself available to reporters after the game (which is not a good move – I’m always of the opinion that when a player messes up, the player should at least answer a few questions about it, even if the answer is always going to be the shrug your shoulders, say it was a tough day out there but you’ll come back strong tomorrow, we’re playing our hearts out, kind of answer). Bobby Valentine told Pete Abraham that he didn’t care about personal stuff, and that he was confident in the way Padilla’s been throwing this year.
Anyway. Two more games today – the 12:35 opener of the doubleheader is a makeup of a rainout from earlier this year, where Franklin Morales (1-1, 2.51 ERA) will take on Freddy Garcia (2-2, 5.94 ERA). Then, the back end of the twin bill starts at 7:15 tonight – Phil Hughes (9-6, 4.29 ERA) will face up against Felix Doubront (8-4, 4.42 ERA). I’ll be at the second game, freshly tanned (ok fine, freshly burned) and ready to watch a great game. Enjoy, everyone!