Call it what you want: throttled, bashed, mashed, scorched, whipped, spanked, humiliated, smacked down, whatever. I prefer to look at it like Popeye the sailor: "It was embarraskin." (Errors by Bubba Crosby and Gary Sheffield were the icing on the gravy.) The bottom line is that the Red Sox beat the Yankees about the mouth and face at the Stadium last night. After a much-improved "looking" first inning, Jose Contreras quickly returned to his tentative ways against Boston. They stole bases at will—even old Ellis Burks swiped one with ease—and crunched the horseshit sliders and high fastballs Contreras served them up in the zone. The Red Sox feast on Contreras and in turn, it appears as if he pitches scared against them. A parade of bottom-feeders followed the big Cuban—who couldn't get out of the fourth: Osborne, Proctor and Graman (duck).
It rained steadily for the second half of the game, which made for a tough night for the Yankee fans at the park. The Boston rooters made like Kenny Loggins singing, "I Love a Rainy Night," and had much to cheer as their team cruised to an easy victory. Man, you'd think they were doing a rain dance.
I have to admit, I lost my patience with Contreras for the first time. It's clear that he's a work-in-progress, but he's looking more like Hideki Irabu with each outing. Irabu battled the umpires and everybody else, while Contreras battles himself. But it's tough to watch a guy with such strong pitches have such little conviction in them. He minces around the corners, falls in love with his slider as an out-pitch, when he can blow his fastball by most hitters.
The Yankee offense was shut down again. Derek Lowe pitched well and the Red Sox made several slick defensive plays behind him. Gary Sheffield smoked a ball into the left-centerfield gap in the first inning which was caught by Johnny Damon. Sheffield did rope a single over Pokey Reese's glove in his final at bat of the night. He's a lot of fun to watch hit. Hideki Matsui had a double and a two-run homer off of Lowe. Alex Rodriguez had two hits: a softly hit double to right and an infield single. Jeter went 0-4 and is now 1 for his last 22. How bad was it for the Yanks? As Mike Vaccaro writes in the Post today: "It's this bad: Jeter Booed." I can't remember the last time that happened. Heck, maybe it was the first time.
But today in another day. It's a brilliant sunny moring in New York. If Kevin Brown can help the Yankees earn a win today, then tomorrow's match-up of Pedro and Javey will be exciting.