Granted, the Red Sox didn’t exactly put their best lineup on the field yesterday. Dustin Pedroia sat out with what was later reported to be a fractured finger (he won’t go on the DL, since there’s only two games left), and Jacoby Ellsbury also didn’t make an appearance. I’m not making excuses for the Red Sox, but let’s be honest: when Ryan Lavarnway (currently batting somewhere in the .160s) is your fifth hitter, and three-hitter Cody Ross is the biggest threat in your batting order, you’ve gone off the reservation somehow.
Regardless of whether the Sox were either flopping around in the bottom of the fishing boat, or just giving their exciting up-and-comers a chance to play, last night’s game against the Yankees was the most one-sided rivalry game I’ve seen in a long time. Clay Buchholz imploded in the second inning, giving up eight runs in a nine-run frame that decided the game early and sent a disinterested fan base packing for yet another depressing night.
Robinson Cano started the second-inning barrage off for New York, launching a solo home run to center field. Buchholz got Mark Teixeria to strike out, but the unflappable Nick Swisher glanced a double off of center field with one out. Curtis Granderson scored Swisher by hitting a home run of his own, and then Russell Martin promptly hit another home run, making the score 4-0.
Undaunted, Buchholz announced himself with authority by walking Eric Chavez and Derek Jeter, and loaded the bases via an Ichiro Suzuki single. Alex Rodriguez sacrificed Chavez home for the second out, before Cano used his second at-bat of the inning to double home Jeter and Suzuki.
With the score 7-0 with two outs, Bobby Valentine had finally seen enough. Alfredo Aceves replaced Buchholz. Aceves faced Teixeira first, and Teixeira (of course) hit the Yankees’ fourth home run of the inning, scoring Cano and leaving the score at 9-0. Swisher followed up with another double, but Aceves finally got Granderson to ground out to first to end the inning.
The Sox didn’t really get any kind of offensive rally going. They scored a couple of baserunners here and there, care a well-executed Jarrod Saltalamacchia sac fly and a Daniel Nava home run; but there was really nothing happening at all at the plate.
With the win, coupled with Baltimore’s loss to Tampa, the Yankees took sole possession of first place with two games to play. The Red Sox’ best-case scenario now is to play spoiler for either the Yankees or the Orioles, as both teams continue to battle for the division title. That’s literally about all that Red Sox fans can look forward to – an exciting game 162 that means nothing for the Sox, but could potentially affect another team’s postseason. Blah.
Here’ a link to last night’s box score, courtesy of the Red Sox. Tonight’s game 161 pits Jon Lester (9-14, 4.94 ERA) against David Phelps (4-4, 3.34 ERA). Phelps replaces the beleaguered Ivan Nova in a start that will probably decide Phelps’ prominence on the Yankees’ postseason roster.