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FRIDAY NIGHT: YANKS AT SOX
2003-07-25 21:22
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

FRIDAY NIGHT: YANKS AT SOX

WELLS VS. PEDRO

Top of the first

Soriano goes down on strikes. 1-2 breaking ball, what else? Jeter lines out to Nixon in right and on a 3-2 pitch, Pedro misses with a fastball low and away, to Giambi and walks him. Bernie gets fisted and bloops one to left. Fat ass Manny can't get to it, and Williams has a single. Giambi to third. Matsui looks at two fastballs, and the second one is nasty. It reminds me of what Greg Maddux said in SI this week:
Matsui then smacks one hard up the middle; Nomar dies to his left, stabs it and flips to second. Run saved.

Bottom One

Damon works a full count and then singles to left. Lookit, there's lil' Nicky Johnson playing first tonight. Welcome back, Nicky. Walker bounces one to Johnson, who steps on the bag and then adroitly makes the throw to second, where Jeter fields and swipe tags Damon out to complete the 3-6-3 double play. Wells looks uncomfortable. And pissed at home plate ump Dana Demuth to boot. He is 7-0 on the road this year and the Yanks are 9-0 on the road when he pitches. He walks Garciaparra. Nomar?!? Walk number 7 on the year. Unlucky seven.

Manny bombs one to straight away center, Bernie looks like he has a bead on it but he loses it at the wall, and it bounces in for a double. Garcio scores. Manny has himself a double. The replays showed that Ramirez completely missed first base; he was so busy admiring his handiwork the dope missed the bag. Puff much? For his sake, the Sox better win. Millar hits a one hopper to Sori, 5-3.

Top Second

Jorge hits the first pitch into the Sox bullpen. Nixon dives over the wall in vain. I'll repeat that: Jorge Posada got a hit¡ªa homer!---off of Pedro, who has absolutely owned him. YES Network said he has K'd 26 times off of Martinez. Wow. Nick Johnson lines a single to left. Atta baby. Mondesi hits a slow grounder to second. Pedro covers first, as Johnson moves to second. One out. Enrique Wilson is in the nine hole tonight believe it or not. Pedro falls behind him 3-0. Walks him. Kaat says he was pitching around him on purpose because Wilson has done well against Martinez. He'd rather face the free-swinging Sori. He does and Soriano pops the first pitch up to center for the second out. Kaat is talking about how savvy and confident Martinez is.

Jeter grounds the first pitch foul. The next pitch is low and in, just off the plate. Same pitch, a little better, and Pedro is ahead, 1-2. This guy has so much movement and rotation on his pitches. Fastball outside corner¡¦Jeter does his trademark; hanging off a Warner Bros cliff with an anvil in your arms, move. Looks it right into the glove. Wow. Now Pedro is miffed. Next pitch, back inside again, same spot¡¦Ball 3. Holy cow these pitches aren't missing by much. Jeter steps out. Fastball outside, Jeter barely fouls it away to stay alive. Jeter steps out. Boo's. Pedro is taking forever. Curve ball, and Jeter fouls it off his foot. (Jeter leads the Yanks in hitting with runners in scoring position.) Fastball, low and away. The worst pitch of the at bat, and Jeter walks. Bases juiced for Giambi.

Curveball outside to Giambi. The crowd is skeptical and quiet. Stirring just a bit here and there. Fastball, inside, 2-0. Pedro taking his time. Breaking ball inside, and Giambi can't hold up, 2-1. Fastball, swung on and missed. Blew it by him, 2-2. Now the crowd is alive. Standing. Fastball, low and in, and a huge groan. Full count. Will Jeter pull a C.C. Sabathiaa? Fastball, outside, diving down and away. Fastball, sinker, forkball? I don't know. Out of the zone. Giambi waves at it, strike three. Who's the man? Relief at the Fens¡¦for now.

My girlfriend, Emily is going to be thrilled when she hears that her boy Posada hit a homer tonight. I don't know why she chose Jorgie as one of her favorites. Her first favorite was Giambi, and the Matsui and then Jorgie. Or maybe Posada came before Matsui. But I took time to inform her this morning of Jorgie's very one-sided relationship with Pedro Martinez. Pedro does Vulcan mind tricks on poor fallible Posada, and he can truly screw Posada's approach for a week or more. But of course, Emily, a baseball novice, and way to well adjusted to believe in sports superstition, pessimism or negativity---her sense of appreciation doesn't involve wins and loses--tells me, ¡®Jorge will do fine, he'll do good, don't worry.'

I'm like, ¡®But honey, you don't understand¡¦"

"Okay, whatever. You'll see."

Bottom of the Second

David Ortiz grounds a 1-2 pitch to Soriano, 5-3. 1-1 pitch to right handed Bill Mueller is up and in, and so is the next pitch, but this one catches the inside corner. Annoyed response from the fans. Mueller ropes the next pitch into left for a single. Nixon slaps the first pitch he sees into center for a single. First and second, and there is no lack of drama, or base runners tonight, folks.

Boomer comes back and strikes out the nine hitter, Jason Varitek, the catcher. Posada goes out to talk to Boomer for the third time tonight. Sometimes, it just ain't easy, I guess. Johnny Damon works the count to 2-2 and then slaps a fastball, out over the plate, to left for a run scoring single. Sox, 2-1. Todd Walker flies out to right to end the inning. Wells is horseshit right now.

Top of the Third

Bernie pops out to Millar in foul ground, 1 out. The count goes to 2-2 on Matsui and Pedro just misses, another groan from the crowd. Pedro snaps at the ball on the return throw from Varitek. Matsui grounds the next pitch up the middle, much like his first at-bat, and once again, there is Nomar to make the make the play. Two out. Don't hit it to that guy again, Matsuso, baby.

Here comes Posada. Limping back to the batters box like a pooch that has disobeyed his master. Pedro reminds Jorgie who is boss and strikes him out on three pitches. The last pitch is a curve ball that just floats to the plate and then dives down out of the zone. I thought it might be a knuckler. Pedro walked off the mound looking at Jorgie like, ¡®You'll never hit another dinger off of me brother, remember who your daddy is.' Or something to that effect.

Bottom of the third.

Nomar grounds out to Enrique Wilson at third. The crowd seems more subdued that usual tonight. Manny works the count full, and fouls the payoff pitch off. Single off the wall. Another one-out hit for the Sox. When Jeter catches the relay throw from Matsui he turns, in perfect form, flexin his Jeteronomy, and brings the ball back into the infield. It's why he's easy to like and easy to hate. He's got charisma. He's so into the game, whenever the ball comes to him, he's a showoff. He's a gamer. He might not be as great as George Brett, but he's probably disliked as much as Brett was in his prime. Of course, both players are adored too.

Millar lofts a fly ball to right, and Mondesi makes the catch easily. As this is happening, Manny is drifting across second base. I guess he thinks there were two outs. But he can't get to back to first in time, and Manny makes his second dumb ass blunder of the game. The play was close at first, and Johnson had to dive to catch him. Was he safe? No, Manny doesn't get the benefit of the call on that one.

You can get away with one, but not two, Papi. Grady Little can't believe it on the Sox dugout.

Top of the Fourth

Johnson whiffs. I-2 pitch just misses to Mondesi, but the next pitch doesn't. Raul whiffs. Enrique Wilson almost throws his back out on the first pitch, a breaking ball in the zone, 0-1. Wilson grounds the next pitch to first to end the inning. Martinez has retired 7 in a row. Manny who?

Bottom of the Fourth

Boston has six hits in three innings off of Wells. Ortiz lines the first pitch toward right, and Johnson spears it for the first out. Bill Mueller looks at a curve for a strike and then pops the next pitch sky hi to center. Bernie makes the catch for the second out.

Boomer throws a strike to Trot Nixon. The Dirt Dog lines the next pitch to Bernie in center for the third out of the inning. Both pitchers have a smooth inning.

If the Sox lose the game, Manny is going to get killed, and if they win, he'll get killed too, but it won't sting as much for Sox fans, cause they'll have won the game. But the papers are going to love this one. I was talking to Ed Cossette last week that thinks that the Boston press and the New England general public give Trot Nixon a pass because he's a good ol' scrappy white guy. Whereas Manny, the aloof and unavailable Manuelito, is definitely going to get picked on. Doesn't matter how much better he is than Nixon.

Top of the Fifth

Sori whiffs on three pitches. Martinez has thrown 75 in the game. The crowd is pensive, cautious. Jeter inside-outs a grounder to the right side. Millar snags it and makes the play to Pedro at first. Could have been a double. Nice stab. Sox flashing the leather tonight.

Curve ball to Giambi, strike one. Fastball, way inside, 1-1. Curve ball, higher, on the outside corner, 1-2. Now the clapping is getting louder¡¦Ball inside, and low. In and out here on Giambi. Fastball way outside, Varitek stands up to receive it. 82 pitches. 3-2. Fastball, low and away, fouled back. Good swing by Giambi. Stone silence. Growing clapping again¡¦Martinez delivers the high fromage, ¡®eee strug ¡®im out.' Seventh strike out for Prince P. Smokin.'

Bottom of the Fifth

Varitek hits the 0-1 pitch on one-hop to Jeter, 6-3. One out. Wells gets ahead of Damon, 0-2, and then Johnny with the big mouth laces his third hit of the night into right for a single. Boomer is bothered with the home plate ump. Another one out hit for the Sox. Wells falls behind Todd Walker, 3-0. Not walk number 8? Yup, walk number 8 on the season for Boomber. No soup for you, fat guy. Here comes Nomie.

Fastball inside, 1-0. Jorgie goes out to talk to Wells. When they decide to get on with it, Nomar fouls the next pitch back, 1-1. Fastball, low, grounded foul, fielded nicely by Karim Garcia in the Yankees dugout, 1-2. Wells spins and chases Damon back to second. Jeter and Sori are miles from the base. Hilarious. A groan from the crowd. High fly ball to center field¡¦Bernie's got it. Damon tags. First and third, two out. Manny hears a smattering of boos along with the cheers as he's announced. He hits a dinger here, and all will be forgiven.

Curve ball, low. Curve ball, dropping inside and low. Delayed call strike, 1-1. Millar is on deck. Curve ball drops in on the outside part of the plate for a strike, 1-2. Manny is taking forever, and Wells walks off the mound with contempt. Breaking ball, right over the heart of the plate, cock high as they say. Ramirez doesn't move, strike three, end of inning. Aww, bacon.

Top of the Sixth

Bernie grounds a ball under Todd Walker's diving glove, into right for a single. Then Pedro almost picks him off as he gets ahead of Matsui 0-2. 90 pitches for Prince P. Fastball, low. The Yanks have to keep it close and get rid of Pedro by next inning. Martinez makes a quick, side step motion like he's going to throw the ball 98 mph, and he tosses another curve, low and away and Matusi is the eighth victim of the night.

Jorgie slaps a seeing-eye single between Bernie and Todd Walker into right on the first pitch for a single. Bernie moves to third. Here is Nick Johnson. Ball one. The second pitch is a breaking ball that somehow misses?!!?? 2-0. Excuse me? The next pitch is a nastier breaking pitch, on the outside corner, strike. Another breaking ball, low and in, 3-1.

Kaat says Torre likes to hit and run in this situation. Posada and Bernie are not the smartest baser runners on the team. Posada does go and Nick bounces one to second. Kaat calls it on the head, as Bernie scores and Jorgie reaches second safely. 2-2 ballgame. Very quiet now.

Mondesi fishes at the first offering, and then flies out to Nixon in right to end the inning.

Bottom of the Sixth

Millar works the count full, and Dumuth calls a tight fastball strike three. The crowd reacts. Millar and Grady Little are not pleased either. Can Wells avoid giving up another one out hit? Ortiz is up. Wells has thrown just under 90 pitches. Ortiz grounds the 2-2 pitch sharply to Soriano at second, who makes the easy play easily. But he botches a foul pop up in the next at bat that could have gotten Wells out of the inning. Johnson and Mondesi were in on it too. The ball kept drifting towards Sori, who stabbed at it and dropped it. The scorer gives him an error. Oohh, harsh. But he should have caught it.
Mueller works the count full and on the 100th pitch of the night, Boomer Wells walks his ninth man of the year.

Breaking ball, low and away, ball one to Trot Nixon. Fastball, up and in, ball two. Uh-oh. Mel gets on the horn to the bullpen. Fastball, outside, 3-0. Yipe. Orosco is getting up. Holy cow. Wells comes back with a fastball for a strike, 3-1. Misses inside, ball four. Yeesh. Kaat insists that Wells' back is bothering him. Six walk all year, four tonight.

Here comes Vari. Another Dirt Dog. Fastball low, ball. Wells wanted that one. Looping curve ball, inside, 2-0. Incredible. Wells hasn't been this vunerable outside of the strike zone all year. Fastball, high. Checked swing. Ball. Wells gestures with his hand, ¡®Was is high?' Oh-uh. Calm down, fly boy. 85 mph fastball strike. Crowd getting hyper. Curve ball, low, ball four. Walk number eleven. Joe comes out. Wells is booed as he walks off the field.

Man, this is a tight spot. And here comes Orosco¡¦the crowd is now up and thriving. A tight spot. Old man Orosco comes in to face Johnny Damon. This is ridiculous. How great is this cheese?

Sling-shot fastball, outside corner, strike one. The next pitch is even further outside, ball one. Fastball, in on the hands, fouled back. Jammed him.

My heart is thumpin now. 1-2 pitch, ¡®eee stug ¡®im out!' That was a Dan Pleasac vs. Paulie O special. End of inning. Damn.

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