It may have been meaningless, but it was awfully sweet to see the Yankees torch the Red Sox in their first 2008 meeting. It was particularly sweet to have it happen on St. Patrick's Day and to have the Yankees rough up the Sox's non-roster starter Bartolo Colon, who was trumpeted heading into the game as a great low-risk find for the Sox and a possible replacement for the injured Curt Schilling in the rotation (the Sox seem to want Clay Buchholz to start the season in the minors).
It's funny to think that several years back the Yankees organized a three-way deal that cost them Orlando Hernandez primarily for the purpose of keeping Colon away from Boston. Colon was throwing in the mid 90s with good movement on both his fastball and breaking pitches, but was wild and hittable and got bounced in the first inning. Colon struck out Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi, but the other Yankees in the order combined for three hits (including a Hideki Matsui double) and three walks for four runs, sending Colon to the showers after eight batters, but just two outs. The Yanks went on to win the game 8-4
L - Johnny Damon (LF)
R - Derek Jeter (SS)
L - Bobby Abreu (RF)
L - Jason Giambi (1B)
S - Jorge Posada (C)
L - Hideki Matsui (DH)
L - Robinson Cano (2B)
S - Wilson Betemit (3B)
S - Melky Cabrera (CF)
Pitcher: Andy Pettitte, Heath Phillips, Jonathan Albaladejo, Billy Traber, Brian Bruney, Scott Strickland
Subs: Morgan Ensberg (PH/1B), Bernie Castro (2B), Alberto Gonzalez (SS), Nick Green (3B), Kyle Anson (C), Jason Lane (PH/RF), Brett Gardner (CF), Cody Ransom (LF)
Opposition: The Red Sox's starters minus Manny Ramirez and J.D. Drew.
Big Hits: A no-doubter two-run homer by Bobby Abreu (2 for 2, BB) who also doubled, both hits coming off Julian Tavarez. Doubles by Hideki Matsui (3 for 4), Jason Giambi (2 for 3). Robinson Cano was 2 for 3.
Who Pitched Well:Andy Pettitte allowed three runs on three hits and two walks in 3 1/3 innings, but one of those runs came on a wind-blown fourth-inning homer when Pettitte was past his pitch count, and one of the other two hits was a fly ball that Johnny Damon lost in the sun allowing it to drop for a double. That "double" plated one of the two runs Pettitte allowed in the third, the other of which scored on a wild pitch in the dirt that went right through Posada's legs. Pettitte said he didn't feel quite right on the mound, but reported no pain. He looked pretty sharp in the early innings and struck out three. Billy Traber retired all five men he faced, striking out two. Scott Strickland struck out two in a perfect ninth, though it's likely too late for him to enter the competition for the final bullpen spot. Brian Bruney, hitting 100 miles per hour on the YES gun (for context, Pete Abe says the Yankees themselves had him at 96 mph--if that's true, what has Mike Mussina been throwing?), faced four batters in the eighth, walking one, striking out two, and getting the third to strike out.
Who Didn't: Heath Phillips faced five batters in the fourth and gave up a run on three singles. Jonathan Albaladejo pitched a scoreless inning and a third, getting all of his outs via grounders and a strikeout, but also allowed a single, a double, and walked a batter.
Oopsies: Kyle Anson skipped a throw to second past Alberto Gonzalez, who was utterly unprepared to block the ball. Anson got the error. Jacoby Ellsbury got the stolen base and went to third, but was stranded by Bruney.
Ouchies: Chris Woodward, whose early bid for a roster spot seems to be appropriately receding, has a tight hamstring and will rest for a few days. Derek Jeter was plunked on the elbow by Tavarez, but stayed in the game. Andy Pettitte later made David Ortiz jump out of the way of an inside pitch near his hands, but the pitch was not seen as retaliatory by either team.
Upcoming: With the Yankees playing in Blacksburg, Virginia tomorrow, Mike Mussina and Mariano Rivera will stay behind and pitch in a minor league game in Tampa with Jose Molina catching and Hideki Matsui likely DHing to get more at-bats (Matsui played all of today's game). The rest of the Yankees (save Woodward) are expected to make the trip. Looking further ahead, the Yankees will have to decide on a fifth starter for Thursday's game, which mean's Joba Chamberlain's much anticipated return to the bullpen could be imminent. As long as the plan remains to return him to the rotation by year's end, I'm fine with it. Ian Kennedy has looked good this spring, as have the other four starters, and things tend to happen. Most likely, an injury will draft Joba into the rotation sooner than anyone expects.
More: Mark Feinsand has an exclusive Q&A with Ian Kennedy on his blog. Dan Graziano has a conspiracy theory about Pettitte's elbow soreness.