The Red Sox came into Yankee Stadium on the fourth of July and provided all of the fireworks, walloping the Yanks 10-3. Boston hit seven dingers, five off of Boomer Wells. No team had ever hit more than six homers against New York. Not content with one beating, Boston torched Rocket Clemens on Saturday, and a new Boston Massacre was in the making. Former Yankee Ramiro Mendoza pitched well and the Yankees were humbled on national television.
Would you believe that David Ortiz hit two homers on Friday and Saturday (the first time a visting player has ever accomplished this feat in the Bronx)? Well, it happened.
I watched the first game with my friend Johnny Red Sox, over at his place on the Upper East Side. John was pretty hot when Soriano lead off the game with a pop fly homer, but his mood picked up in no time as the great Boston launching pad took off. The most memorable homer by far was a titanic shot off the bat of Washington Heights' own Manny Ramirez. The ball landed in the left field upper deck. Awww, bacon.
John has HDTV, so at least I was able to see Boston murdalize the Yanks in high-tech clarity.
I missed Saturday's game and it was just as well. The Yankees didn't pitch well, they made errors, and left a ton of men on base. Emily and I visited my brother and his wife at our cousin's summer house. When I went to check the score, I saw that Sterling Hitchcok was pitching, and quite frankly, that's never an encouraging sign. I turned the damn thing off, and attempted to enjoy my weekend.
The Yanks bounced back on Sunday behind a strong performance by Andy Pettitte. Shows how much I know. I figured this would be the one game the Sox would have in the bag. But Pettitte has traditionally faired well against Boston, and after giving up an early homer to Bill Mueller, he settled down, eventually striking out ten. I also failed to consider that the Sox had John Burkett going for them.
The feel-good story of the day was when Curtis Pride, a deaf utility outfielder that the Yankees picked up early this year, started for the banged-up Raul Mondesi, and hit a home run. The Yankees left too many on base again, but Alfonso Soriano (who had three hits) had a big 2 RBI triple late in the game, which helped seal the win for the home team. What was especially encouraging about the at- bat was that Soriano characteristically fell behind 0-2, then worked the count full, before hitting a high-outside fastball into the right centerfield gap.
The series finale should be a good one this afternoon, with Pedro Martinez going against Mike Mussina. I won't be able to watch it, since I'm working, but I will probably follow it on mlb gameday. That should make for a tense, distracting afternoon at the office, huh? The Yankees will feel great about themselves if they can even the series at two, beat Martinez, and maintain the four-game lead they had going into the weekend. The Sox will feel even better about themselves if they can leave New York trailing by only two games, taking three of four. (If the Sox win today they will even the season series with the Yankees at five games apiece.)
Most Red Sox fans will be happy to take three of four, pump their fists quietly, and move on. Kevin Millar, who would be playing in Japan if it wasn't for the efforts of Theo Epstein, wasn't so humble. He had a good time jawing with the Yankee fans before yesterday's game:
"I wasn't alive in (1918)," Millar said. "All I know is the last two days we've taken this house over. It's our house."
Those are the kind of comments that make Red Sox fans cringe. Do us a favor brother, wait until you stomp the Yankees in October before you get too carried away with yourself.
Still, even the most smug, and arrogant Yankee fans should realize this Red Sox team should not be taken lightly. If they can clean up their pitching a bit, they have a team full of 'gamers' who can make a legitimate run down the stretch.