The Red Sox rolled into the Bronx this weekend and smacked the Yankees all about the mouth and face on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Pedro Martinez was back in good form on Friday as the Sox bulldozed the Yanks, 9-3. Andy Pettitte gave up a lot of hits, but I didn't get the sense that he was creamed; it just wasn't his night.
Things got worse on Saturday when Boston gave Rocket Clemens and the Yanks pitching an 11-0 beating. With memories of The Boston Massacre in the air, the Sox were poised to return the favor.
But Boomer Wells pitched arguably the biggest game of the season for New York on Sunday afternoon, and he responded in typical fashion, throwing 7.1 innings of shut out ball. Jeff Suppan matched Wells, and pitched a terrific game too. (Whaaat?!?!) The Yankees didn't hit a ball well against him until Bernie Williams connected for a two-run homer in the seventh.
Derek Jeter made a surprise start on Sunday, indicating just how desperate the Yankees were for a win; he collected a single, stole a base, and then made a crucial one-out error on a Johnny Damon grounder in the eighth. It led to Boston's lone run of the day, which came on Manny Ramirez's bloop single to right.
Alfonso Soriano returned the favor in the bottom of the inning with a bloop double of his own. After stealing third base---and almost sending me into cardiac arrest in the process---Nick Johnson singled him home. Mariano Rivera, who replaced Wells with one out in the eighth, allowed a single in the ninth, but that was all, and the Yanks won, 3-1.
The Yankees win the season series against the Sox, 10-9, giving them the tie-breaker should the teams finish tied for first to end the year. The Bombers' lead is 2 1/2 games (three in the loss column). Massacre averted.
Still, that didn't stop Boss George from blowing his horn. If you are interested in that sort of thing, pull up your boots, cause the horseshit was thick and deep.
I was at the ballpark yesterday, sitting somewhere in upstate New York, along the left field side. It was a gorgeous day in the Bronx, sunny and clear, with a slight fall chill in the air. You could cut the tension with a knife. There was a nervous edge to the roar of the Yankee crowd. Every play they made felt like it was the seventh game of the World Series.
There were more Yankee fans than Red Sox fans, but not by much. And believe me, the Nation was vocal. That was cool. When they cheered for their guys when Bob Shepard announced the starting line ups, that was cool. But when they booed the Yankees line up, I started fuming.
The battle of the chants went back and forth all day long. It usually started with a Red Sox rally cry, which would quickly become so strong, that the Yankee fans then felt compelled to drown it out with boos and chants of their own. The most popular word of the day was "sucks," proving that when it comes to creative thinking, there isn't much that separates Sox and Yankee fans at all.
I went the game with my friend, Johnny Red Sox, and we had Sox fans behind us and in front of us as well. At one point in the middle innings, with the Sox rallying, a middle-aged Sox fan said to me, "Hey, you are pretty quiet down there." I looked up from my scorecard incredulously.
"Well, there isn't much for me to make any noise about is there?"
"No, there isn't."
And your point is? Well, I kept quiet. But as I passed this guy on our way out, I couldn't resist taking the low road.
"Hey, you are pretty quiet up there."
He laughed. I wished his team good luck, and declined suggesting that he take a flying fuck at a rolling donut.
The Yanks host the Blue Jays this afternoon at the Stadium for a make-up game. Kelvim Escobar starts against Mike Mussina. The Red Sox are in Baltimore tonight. The Orioles and Devil Rays had a good time spoiling things for the A's and M's over the weekend; they could be give both Boston and New York some trouble in the next three weeks.