Concluding my recap of Thursday night's thrilling 8-3 Yankee victory over Curt Schilling and the Red Sox, I wrote:
the Yankees have been in this position before. Their last series against the Red Sox opened with a hard-fought victory to cap a 16-2 streak, only to be followed by a pair of dominating Red Sox victories and a 1-9 slide that saw the Yankees get swept by the AL-worst Royals. The current outlook, with the 46-41 Rangers replacing Kansas City, doesn't appear much brighter. But with the way this team is playing right now, it seems like anything is possible.
I stuck that last line on there because I couldn't bring myself to end the recap of one of the team's biggest wins of the year on such a downer. I should have known better.
After that hard-fought victory back in late May, the Yankees came out the next day and got shelled by the Red Sox 17-1, the most lop-sided Red Sox victory over the Yankees ever. Last night, they repeated the feat, losing to the Sox again by the score of 17-1.
Curiously, the first 17-1 loss was the beginning of the end for Paul Quantrill as a Yankee as he posted the following line in relief of Carl Pavano: 2 2/3 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 3 HR, 1 BB, 2 K. Last night, the two pitchers aquired from the Padres for Quantrill, Darrell May and starter Tim Redding, combined to post this line:
3 2/3 IP, 10 H, 12 R, 1 HR, 7 BB, 2 K
Those two were replaced by Jason Anderson who actually set down the first four men he faced (Renteria, Ortiz, Ramirez and Nixon, no less), only to load the bases with no outs in the sixth. Anderson then struck out Mark Bellhorn and got Johnny Damon to fly out to shallow left, holding the runners, only to walk Renteria on four pitches to force in the thirteenth run. Joe Torre then brought in Buddy Groom to face David Ortiz.
Do I have to tell you what happened next? After a called strike, Ortiz crushed a grand slam into the Yankee dugout to cap the Red Sox night. Groom and Proctor spaced out two more Red Sox hits through the two remaining frames.
The worst moment of the game came in the second inning. Tim Redding, who completely lost the strike zone soon after striking out Ortiz and Ramirez in the first, loaded the bases on two walks and a Renteria single to start the inning. With the score still a reasonable 3-0, Joe Torre then called on the left-handed Darrell May (taking him out of the running for an upcoming start). May got David Ortiz to hit a weak grounder to third that scored one run, then got ahead of Manny Ramirez 0-2 only to load the count and surrender an RBI double that made the game 5-0. That brought Trot Nixon to the plate with one out and Ramirez on second and Ortiz on third.
May's first pitch to Nixon was a called first strike. His second was looped out to center. The ball had a diving action on it and Melky Cabrera charged in and attempted to make an awkward diving catch only to miss the ball completely as it knuckled away from his glove and rolled all the way to the wall in dead center. With Sheffield nowhere to be seen, Cabrera chased the ball all the way to the wall as Nixon, who was inexplicably loafing out of the box, rounded the bases and scored standing up for what was ruled and inside-the-park home run. Cabrera had barely gotten the ball back to Derek Jeter, who had come out almost to where Cabrera made his ill-advised dive, when Nixon crossed home. That made it 8-0 in the second inning and the route was on.
Today the Yankees play another must-win game, as they have their other starter on the mound. A win behind Randy Johnson today would earn them a split and a chance to pull out a fluke victory to take the series behind Ole Saint Nick (possible true identity: Al Leiter via a PTBNL) tomorrow. Boston ace Matt Clement takes the hill for the Bosox.
In other news, Kevin Brown had a solid bullpen session yesterday and could be Monday's starter if he still feels good today. Brown's activation could coincide with the return of Felix Rodriguez, who pitched two scoreless innings with Trenton yesterday and is scheduled to make one more rehab appearance with the Thunder (possibly on Sunday) before being activated. Further down the line, old pal Ramiro Mendoza has started throwing batting practice as he attempts to come back from the rotater cuff surgery he had back in January.