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The Red Sox
2005-07-14 06:37
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

note: the above-fold portion of this post has been revised since it was initially posted

With the Yankees having won nine of their last twelve games and having scored an average of nearly nine runs in their last six games, I was champing at the bit during the three-day All-Star break, enthusiastically anticipating this weekend's four-game showdown with the rival Red Sox.

Then I heard the news that Chien-Ming Wang, whom I recently dubbed the Yankees ace, was placed on the 15-day DL with inflamation in his pitching shoulder, the same shoulder he had operated on four years ago, causing him to miss the entire 2001 season. That surgery was to repair a torn labrum and was performed by Dr. James Andrews. Wang will be examined by Andrews in Birmingham, Alabama on Monday morning for a second opinion. Yankee team doctor Stuart Hershon has already made a diagnosis that the Yankees are not releasing until after Wang sees Andrews, though according to the comments to Alex's last post, Ruben Sierra (?!) has said that Wang could be out for the season. I'm going wait until I hear something from a more official source, but if that's the case, the Yankees should start planning for 2006, because Wang's won't be the only season ended by this injury.

The Yankees have actually known about this injury since Monday. Wang pitched what appeared to be an uneventful bullpen session on Sunday, but woke up with pain in his shoulder on Monday morning, at which point Hershon examined him and made his undisclosed diagnosis.

To replace Wang, Tim Redding has joined Darrell May in the Yankee rotation, which is still only four men "deep." The Yankees still hope to have Carl Pavano and Kevin Brown back soon (both of whom are already eligible to be activated), but according to Cashman, Pavano is still about two weeks away. Brown meanwhile is scheduled to pitch a bullpen session tomorrow and could start in Texas or Anaheim next week. Still, it seems likely that the Yanks will need a spot starter in addition to Redding and May, the latter of whom has not been officially announced as the starter for either Sunday or Monday.

ESPN has Tanyon Sturtze listed among their probables for the Red Sox series (though they are clearly incorrect as they also have Wang listed, but not Randy Johnson). If Sturtze is indeed Torre's choice (and a quick look at the Clippers' stats doesn't result in a preferable option), I would hope the Yankees would be able to activate Felix Rodriguez to take his spot in the pen (though, there's no guarantee that he'd do any better than Jason Anderson, whose hasn't had an opportunity to prove himself, and whose spot Rodriguez will likely take).

However you shake it, the Yankee rotation is in shambles just when their offense appears ready to carry them to another pennant. In order to make hay against the Sox this weekend, they may have to score an average of 15 runs per game.

Speaking of whom . . .

Boston Red Sox

2005 Record: 49-38 (.563)
2005 Pythagorean Record: 48-39 (.549)

Manager: Terry Francona
General Manager: Theo Epstein

Ballpark (2004 park factors): Fenway Park (106/105)

Who's replaced whom?

Curt Schilling (DL) replaces Keith Foulke (DL)
Chad Bradford replaces Matt Mantei (DL)
Alex Cora replaces Ramon Vazquez (Cle)
Adam Stern replaces Jay Payton (A's)
Doug Mirabelli (DL) repalces Kelly Shoppach (minors)
Jeremi Gonzalez replaces Kevin Youkilis (minors)

Current Roster

1B – Kevin Millar
2B – Mark Bellhorn
SS – Edgar Renteria
3B – Bill Mueller
C – Jason Varitek
RF – Trot Nixon
CF – Johnny Damon
LF – Manny Ramirez
DH – David Ortiz

Bench:

L - John Olerud (1B)
R – Doug Mirabelli (C)
L – Alex Cora (IF)
L – Adam Stern (OF)

Rotation:

R – Matt Clement
R – Tim Wakefield
R – Wade Miller
R – Bronson Arroyo
L – David Wells

Bullpen:

R – Curt Schilling
R – Mike Timlin
L – Alan Embree
L – Mike Myers
L – John Halama
R - Chad Bradford
R - Jeremi Gonzalez

DL:

R – Keith Foulke
R – Matt Mantei

Typical Line-up

L – Johnny Damon (CF)
R – Edgar Renteria (SS)
L – David Ortiz (DH)
R – Manny Ramirez (LF)
L – Trot Nixon (RF)
S – Jason Varitek (C)
R – Kevin Millar (1B)
S – Bill Mueller (3B)
S – Mark Bellhorn (2B)

The Red Sox went absolutely nuts in interleague play in June, winning 12 of 13, but since then they're just 5-8. On the season their runs scored and against are alarmingly similar to the Yankees' totals (478-431 for the Yanks to 473-429 for the Red Sox), making these two teams about as evenly matched as they've ever been (which is saying something).

Most encouraging for Yankee fans is the Boston bullpen's 5.63 ERA. Mike Timlin and LOOGY Mike Myers are the only pitchers to have appeared in more than four games out of the Boston bullpen and posted an ERA below Keith Foulke's 6.23. Foulke is now on the DL, replaced by the Curt Schilling experiment. Schilling is one of two Boston "relievers" activated for this series. The other is Chad Bradford, who was acquired from the A's for Jay Payton over the All-Star break. Bradford has yet to throw a pitch this season after having lower back surgery on March 7 as a result of the strain placed on his back by his submarine delivery.

So what we have this weekend are the first and third best offenses in the majors facing the sixth and ninth worst pitching staffs respectively, the "better" of which has been torn to shreds by injury. And this is taking place over four games in Fenway park. Cover your heads, kids, this is gonna be ugly.

Comments (58)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-07-14 15:32:56
1.   Simone
Really bad timing for Klapisch's article. What a jinx.
2005-07-14 16:06:44
2.   murphy
at least we can read the Klapisch article - unlike Gammons (who is now paid content).

grumble

2005-07-14 16:22:17
3.   Paul in Boston
Two hits, a walk, a smash to center field ... and no runs. That's baseball for you. Arrghh, he wrote, as the tree ate the kite.
2005-07-14 16:37:35
4.   Chucksax
15 runs a game, huh? I bet that'd be a record or something.

ESPN.com has quickly become my fourth or fifth stop in terms of baseball news - and I don't bother looking there for columns anymore. I'm not going to pay for their site, when there are plenty of other places I can go to get baseball talk.

Granted, if the Yankees were more consistently in the race, then I'd consider getting it.

2005-07-14 16:38:10
5.   Chucksax
...and with Mussina getting lit up in the first inning, this series has all the markings of a potential sweep.
2005-07-14 16:43:20
6.   Cliff Corcoran
I'd be happy with a split.

Meanwhile, never mind plunking the Red Sox hitters (Moose did a nice job of moving Nixon off the plate, by the way, too bad it didn't pay off), I want to see Moose bean the home plate ump. There were at least five pitches that should have been called strikes that weren't in that inning.

2005-07-14 16:44:52
7.   Dan M
You're right, Chucksax, because even RJ has to deal with the Fox/Saturday thing, which is accentuated in Fenway. I might have to come down with a cold Sunday night.
2005-07-14 16:49:02
8.   Marcus
Cliff-

I think the guy running the MLB Gameday agrees with you. I'm at work watching it on my computer, and it showed at least one Ball (marked green) completely inside the strike zone.

Of course, then it said "out(s) recorded" when Giambi hit the homerun. Was that a disputed call perhaps? It looked like it was just around Pesky Pole.

2005-07-14 16:51:20
9.   rbj
Not disputed Marcus, just that the 1B ump wasn't in position to see if it was fair or foul (I guess, I just turned around). Trot went into the stands but a fan got it.
And now Bernie copies Jason. Yankee hitters better eat their wheaties then next few weeks.
2005-07-14 17:00:35
10.   Cliff Corcoran
Nice 3-6-3 DP by Giambi, do you think he's been working with Donnie around the bag too?
2005-07-14 17:00:52
11.   rbj
Grosse Gotte! Jason turned a 3-6-3 DP. Maybe Donnie's been working with him on more than hitting.
(Al Leiter sounds at least like an option, won't cost much.)
2005-07-14 17:01:08
12.   JeremyM
Would Al Leiter be worth pursuing? Man, this just sucks. I think Wang would've been nails in the postseason, which looks like the foggiest of dreams at this point.
2005-07-14 17:10:55
13.   rbj
Heh, great minds think alike.
And Arroyo hits Giambi.
2005-07-14 17:40:22
14.   Zack
And Moose and Torre/Mel were getting pissed, as was I, at the ump...One of the worst first few innings for a man in blue I have seen in awhile...

And the Yankees holding their diagnosis until Wang gets the second opinion seems to only portend bad bad news....

2005-07-14 17:57:36
15.   joe in boston
Nice rip by Posada. Let's get a bunch of runs. Hey did anyone else see the "upcoming schedule" and Yankee starters in the right margin ?! Very creative ! I might have used St Peter and St Paul and the Good Lord Himself possibly...
2005-07-14 18:00:16
16.   joe in boston
Oh God, now the Sox announers are discussing Ozzy Osbourne. I'm stuck in Boston indeed
2005-07-14 18:15:47
17.   rbj
Those starters do look good Alex/Cliff.
I was thinking we'd be starting Baling Wire/ Spit / and Duct Tape. If not A Wing and A Prayer
2005-07-14 18:21:23
18.   Cliff Corcoran
He got help from the ump on the final strike, but a hell of a Houdini routine from Moose in the bottom of the sixth there. Also, big ups to Jeter for getting the first out on a would-be single in the hole.
2005-07-14 18:51:04
19.   Schteeve
Yanks kinda need this game don't they?
2005-07-14 18:52:12
20.   Schteeve
Mussina and Johnson and pray for rain, doesn't really have the same ring as Spahn and Sain.
2005-07-14 18:57:24
21.   Marcus
This sure is a nail biter. However if the bullpen can keep it tied here, I like the Yankees' chances with Sheff, A-Rod, and Matsui coming up against (presumably) Schilling. It would be especially sweet if Schilling is the loser in this game. Of course we all know A-Rod will try too hard to "beat him up" and strike out.
2005-07-14 19:07:45
22.   vockins
Considering the day's events, it looks like the year for the Yanks is done.

All I want in the world right now is for Arod, Sheff, and Matsui to pound Schilling into a powder, and I'll be able to put this season behind me a lot easier.

2005-07-14 19:10:45
23.   Schteeve
Gary wasn't just barking apparently.
2005-07-14 19:11:00
24.   Marcus
BADA BING!!!! WELCOME BACK CURT!!!
2005-07-14 19:17:36
25.   Schteeve
A-Rod is so overrated.

A-rod isn't clutch.

A-Rod doens't add anything to this team.

All comments I've seen on this blog this season. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

2005-07-14 19:17:36
26.   Simone
A-Rod just shut up Schilling's big mouth and the whole of Fenway. I likey.
2005-07-14 19:24:41
27.   Schteeve
Guess the Sox really "have Mo's number"

that number would be three. As in "three strikes, to three guys = three outs."

2005-07-14 19:24:47
28.   Simone
See Schilling that is how a real closer does it. Take that and shove it, you attention whore.
2005-07-14 19:25:23
29.   Nick from Washington Heights
That felt good.
2005-07-14 19:26:11
30.   singledd
How sweet it is!
Rivera (3Ks) beats Schilling.
As we contemplate the season being over, we are 1 1/2 games out of 1st.
2005-07-14 19:27:00
31.   Simone
This is almost the most perfect baseball moment of karma that I've ever witnessed. Only slightly behind Clemens getting shelled in the 2004 All Star game with Piazza up close and personal, smirking behind his mask.
2005-07-14 19:28:06
32.   joe in boston
Simone - I agree. This guy Schilling can't get enough of the camera. All I've heard the past 6 days is Schilling/Closer crap.

What a great win.

2 points:

1. Arod has made his mark as a Yankee on this rivalry

2. It is so important that Sturtze/Gordon/Mo
put some of the demons to rest tonight.

What a great win ! Can't wait to buy the Boston papers tomorrow and listen to WEEI !!!

2005-07-14 19:28:20
33.   vockins
Good lord. That couldn't have been scripted any better.

Take a seat, you gap toothed weeble wobble.

2005-07-14 19:30:06
34.   singledd
A-Rod amazes me.
When Sheff hits a HR, it's violent... it screams. A-Rod has these easy swings that hit harmless flies to center... that just happen to travel 450'. When he first hit that ball, did it look like a HR to anybody?
2005-07-14 19:31:12
35.   Marcus
Can you get any sweeter than that? Mo strikes out the side swinging to end the game??? AFTER A-Rod hits the game winning home run off of Curt Schilling? In light of today's developments, I think it's safe to say that the Yankees STEPPED UP today.

Hopefully the bats can light a bonfire on Wells tomorrow, because Redding looks like a pile of kindling.

2005-07-14 19:31:16
36.   Simone
Did you see A-Rod in the dug out after he hit the home run? He was so intense and holding back how thrilled he was for kicking Schilling right in the ego. All that shit Schilling talked about A-Rod. Damn, payback is a bitch.
2005-07-14 19:34:05
37.   alasky
"Of course we all know A-Rod will try too hard to "beat him up" and strike out. "

Dear marcus,

Don't take this the wrong way, but FUCK YOU!!!

2005-07-14 19:37:31
38.   joe in boston
Hey Alasky -

Chill out and enjoy the win.

2005-07-14 19:41:34
39.   Marcus
Alasky,

What can I say, I'm a pessimist! But I'll take a "fuck you" to the face any day that A-Rod hits a game winning jack off of Curt Schilling.

For the record, I'm not an A-Rod hater by any stretch. A-Rod is (small sample size alert) 2 for 11 against Schilling this year (before tonight) with 5 Ks.

I always like to be proven wrong with those kinds of predictions!

2005-07-14 19:49:10
40.   Simone
LOL! ESPNews has "Schilling Gets Loss vs. NYY.IP.2ER.HR" on their bottom line. After how they pumped Schilling up as a closer and barely talked about how the Red Sox are hurt because he is no longer a starter. I'm loving this. Whatever happens in the rest of this series, this is truly the Perfect Moment.

Also, did you see Schilling making the slow walk to the bullpen soaking up the admiration? What a tool.

2005-07-14 19:50:38
41.   Paul in Boston
Wonderful to watch Eckersley up here in the post-game show cite the obvious: 1) Schilling had nothing; 2) Rivera is awesome; 3) A-Rod put a "beautiful" swing on that home run.

And CAN YOU BELIEVE SOMEONE WOULD EVEN CONSIDER TRADING SHEFFIELD? That guy is the most exciting hitter in baseball.

Finally, I can't stand Schilling, and this was so sweet. His comments about Rodriguez after the Sox won the WS last year -- that they would have lost if the Ramirez-Rodriguez trade had happened -- have always struck me as bush league in the extreme. Here's hoping for many more similar outings from Curt before the season is over!

2005-07-14 19:55:18
42.   joe in boston
Paul, great point about the Ramirez comments by "Shilling" - (for those of you not in the Boston area, this guys does commercials for everything). I mean, what kind of pro makes those comments .... especially AFTER WINNING THE FREAKING WORLD SERIES ? Wouldn't you just enjoy life at that point?
2005-07-14 19:55:19
43.   markp
I go away for a while and everything's changed.
The place doesn't look the same.
No more "E-Rod?"
No more "Giambi's finished/sux?"
2005-07-14 19:59:50
44.   Dan-el
Amen, my prayers were answered tonight. I can't stand Schilling. Here's to hoping that Tim Redding can give us a Mussina-like performance ;) tomorrow.
2005-07-14 20:05:48
45.   alasky
hey dudes...that was meant to be like "fuck you" in a good, slap you on the back way...I ain't got nothin but love for ya
2005-07-14 20:09:22
46.   stephen1wt
No matter what happens the rest of the season this was sweet.
2005-07-14 20:16:24
47.   Simone
"And CAN YOU BELIEVE SOMEONE WOULD EVEN CONSIDER TRADING SHEFFIELD? That guy is the most exciting hitter in baseball."

I love this win, but it is just one win. I'd still trade Sheffield for a solid starter and a reliever in a heartbeart, especially now. The Yankees aren't going any where without another starter if Wang is gone for the season.

2005-07-14 20:19:47
48.   Simone
ESPN reporting that Francona said that it will take time for Schilling to get into game shape. Please, If ever ... Schilling has a weak ankle which needs rehab and may never be strong again with all the rehab in the world.
2005-07-14 20:24:02
49.   Jay Jaffe
It's Christmas in July.
2005-07-14 20:24:07
50.   Paul in Boston
Simone, granted, the Yankees need starting pitching, but teams win games by scoring runs and preventing them. Sheffield is one of the best in the game at the scoring part. Lose him from this lineup, and suddenly these 8-6 games are 6-1 losses.

Who would we get for Sheff if we traded him? Seems every good pitcher out there either is playing for a contending team, or has "issues" (see Schmidt). I don't see the Astros sending us Roy Oswalt for Gary Sheffield any time soon.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-07-14 20:36:08
51.   Schteeve
Trading Sheffield for anyone whose name isn't Johan Kerry (Healthy) Wood Santana would be really dumb.
2005-07-14 20:39:28
52.   unpopster
did anyone else get that lump in their throats everytime they showed Shef and Arod hugging each other. These two guys have quite obviously developed a strong friendship and respect for each other. It only portents to very good things from this dynamic duo in the middle of our lineup.

I guess Shef wasn't just barking about having Arod's back -- the sonofabitch actually meant it!!!

2005-07-14 20:41:03
53.   Schteeve
Sheff has backed up A-Rod and Jeter vocally this season, I don't understand why any Yankee fan has a problem with him.
2005-07-14 20:48:38
54.   Simone
Paul, I simply don't believe that the Yankees are making the playoffs as the team is formulated, especially if Wang is out for the season. Right now they have 2 starters, RJ and Mussina and who knows the health of Pavano and Brown when they come back.

The Yankees best hope to make the playoffs is to find a quality starter. If there is none out there then they need to just ride the season out and call it a day, but if trading Sheffield can garner a solid starter and a centerfielder, then they have to consider the possibility.

2005-07-14 20:56:37
55.   Marcus
Hey guys, Rich Harden is a very good pitcher. And he's pitching tonight for the A's. Check it out.
2005-07-14 21:01:42
56.   Marcus
D'oh!
2005-07-14 21:19:24
57.   Nick from Washington Heights
I know this is jumping the gun but since it's probably happened or going to happen in the next few days, does anyone know anything about Shawn Chacon? With Wang going down, it seems inevitable that we'll go for him. What's odd is that in the off-season he was bandied about in trade talks with the A's, and the Rockies were demanding 2 top-level prospects for him. His numbers look awful but he's playing in Colorado. Was he a top prospect at one point, does he have a big upside? anyone know?

And, oh yeah, that was a great victory. Love watching the self-promoter eat his words.

2005-07-14 22:30:32
58.   yankeegirl26
That was so sweet to watch. We held our breath and collectively yelled YES! when we knew the ball had sailed over the wall. I don't even think the Yes announcers knew it right away either. I love Mo for ending the game so brilliantly. He is a god.

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