Lost Weekend in Boston Means Big Trouble

Every time the Yankees have had some momentum this year, there are the Red Sox to spoil the fun to the tune of a 9-2 victory to complete the sweep.

A run in the top of the 1st got the Yankees feeling good quick.  That is until Mike Napoli struck again.  With one on, and one run already in, Napoli hit his 7th homer of the year against New York.  That was the highlight for Napoli, who would set a Red Sox franchise record for strikeouts in a season at 178 then get ejected in the game.  But the damage was done. 

Clay Buchholz was his usual self, holding the bombers to just 2 hits and 1 run in 6 innings, though he did walk 4 batters.  Ivan Nova lasted just 4 innings, surrendering 5 runs on 4 walks and 6 hits.   Buchholz improved to 11-0, Nova dropped to 8-5.

Alex Rodriguez drove in the first run, but left in the fifth with a tight right calf.  Not surprising as the 3rd baseman has been playing with a tight left hammy.  Favoring one leg for another often results in an injury to the other, see Jeter all year.  56 players have been used by New York this year, and every new one to put on the pinstripes breaks the team record.  

It was a must win game in many ways for the Yankees.  You want to avoid the sweep no matter what, but especially to your AL East rivals.  Down 3 games in the Wild Card, a win would’ve gained ground on both Tampa and Texas.  But with the loss they lose even more ground to Baltimore and Cleveland, who are sandwiched between themselves, the Rays and the Rangers.   The Yankees finish just 6-13 against the AL leading Red Sox.

The highlight of the day came pre-game when the Red Sox honored Mariano Rivera with a number of gifts highlighted by a poem regaling the Yankees closer with praise and love.  It was a nice moment watching the Fenway faithful giving Mo a standing O.  Somethings are bigger than rivalry, and baseball history is one of them.  And Rivera has his own special place in Yankees, Red Sox and Baseball history.  

So now a much needed off day awaits New York before 3 games in Toronto, who should be a welcome sight for the Yankees. They’ve fell just 3 times to the Jays this season.  

 

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Yankees Drop 3rd Straight to Sox

David Huff was unable to replicate what he did in two great relief outings.  Instead he was pummeled in 3.1 innings, allowing 9 in a 13-9 loss to Boston.

It felt like a spring training game for bombers, with Huff, newcomer Jim Miller and Brett Marshall getting the call to hold down a potent Sox lineup.  But down 9 after 4, the Yankees were behind the 8 ball all day, and they just couldn’t out-slug the Sox.

Mike Napoli continues to have a big year against the Yankees, smacking two more homers.  Jonny Gomes added a dinger, and shortstop phenom Xander Bogaerts hit his first career.   Boston got the most out of their 14 hits, scoring 13.  Starter John Lackey picked up his 9th win, despite giving up 7 runs in 5.2 innings.

Another good day for the offense, but it just wasn’t enough.  Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki and Robinson Cano all had multi-hit games.  Gardner and Mark Reynolds each drove in 2 runs.

And tell me if you’ve heard this before? Derek Jeter left the game with an injury?  Yes, you read that right.  For the third time this year, the captain exited a game with a leg injury.  This time it appears to be an issue with/near the area he fractured the left ankle last October,  He’s already been on the DL three times this season.

An overworked pen is starting to fall apart, and it’s not only showing in the 3 blown leads on the home stand.  Shawn Kelley is down with a forearm issue, and David Robertson could be DL bound with a sore shoulder.

These are injuries the Yankees cannot afford this late in the year, coupled with 3 big losses this weekend to Boston.

To make matters worse, Baltimore walked-off in 10, extending their lead over New York, however the two teams play a  4-game set starting Monday.

Hiroki Kuroda must find a way to get back to his first half self, though at 38 and carrying the team on his back early on, he’s looked tired and might stay that way for the remainder of 2013.

A sweep would all but ensure no postseason, even with 7 games against Tampa and Baltimore left.  These teams continue to win, and New York still has to go back to Fenway next weekend.

They’ve made it interesting, but can the offense find a way to save the lack of pitching?  The Yankees can only hope CC Sabathia and Kuroda can find something to go along with Kuroda and Pettitte, or start looking towards 2014.

Yankees Pen Blows Lead Again

Up 8-3 through 6, the Yankees looked like they were cruising to a win. Wrong.

Alfonso Soriano hit his 30th homer of the year to put the bombers up 2-0 early. Eduardo Nunez and Brett Gardner both hit RBI triples to help cushion their lead, while Andy Pettitte rolled along 6 quality innings.

Everything was going right for the Yankees, but no lead is ever safe between these two bitter rivals. And on a night when the Yankees pen was short, Phil Hughes struggled in his first relief appearance of the year

With one run in, one out and the bases loaded, Boone Logan came in to clean up Hughes’ mess. The lefty struck out David Ortiz, and looked like he was going to get out if it without further trouble, but Mike Napoli had other plans. The righty first baseman has killed the Yankees all season, and he’d do it again, smacking a Yankee Stadium grand slam to right. Ichiro Suzuki looked like he had a beat on it , but he got turned around, and miss timed his jump, allowing the ball to hit off the top of the wall and go over for a game tying slam. It would’ve been a difficult catch, but a make-able one for Ichiro. Three of the runs were charged to Hughes, who ended up giving up 4 in just a third of an inning.

Preston Claiborne with another rough outing, allowing the go-ahead 2-run shot to Shane Victorino in the 8th.

The pitching, which carried the Yankees in the first half has really let down the bombers the last two. The pen was unable to hold a lead for the second straight night, and with so few games left on the schedule, this could be the nail in the coffin for a playoff run.

9 unanswered runs by Boston, and a 1-2-3 inning from closer Koji Uehara in the 9th, sealed the 12-8 comeback win for the Red Sox. Another win left on the table for Pettitte and the yankees, and it hurt.

With Cleveland and Baltimore both winning, it’s another crushing blow. They had put those two teams behind them in the wild card chase, but now they’ve fallen behind them again. They still have four with the orioles, and have to hope for help with the Indians. The yankees also need to hope the athletics and rays lose again, so they don’t lose even more ground.

Things don’t get much better for New York as they’ve got rookie David Huff going against John Lackey. A tired pen doesn’t get much of a blow with the day after a night game, and no days off until the 17th.