Rapid Reaction: Yankees 15, Red Sox 9
April, 21, 2012
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com
Recap | Box score | Photos
What it means: If this is how the Red Sox celebrate the 100th birthday of Fenway Park, I can't wait for the 200th birthday. The park, the Boston bullpen and the relentless Yankees lineup combined for an insane football-like game in which the home team took a 9-0 lead after five innings, only to surrender the next 15 runs to suffer a crushing defeat.
And this wasn't even the Red Sox's worst loss of the week; they got crushed 18-3 by the Texas Rangers earlier in the week. So there's some progress.
Pair of sevens: The Yankees rolled a couple of naturals in the seventh and eighth innings, putting up seven in each frame to drive a stake through the heart of Red Sox Nation for the second straight day.
Lucky seventh: Actually, not lucky, but good, as the Yankees took advantage of Bobby Valentine's hapless decision to pull starter Felix Doubront with a 9-1 lead after six innings and 99 pitches. New York scored seven runs off relievers Vicente Padilla and Matt Albers. Nick Swisher's grand slam made it 9-5, and Mark Teixeira's three-run shot, his second HR of the game, closed the gap to 9-8.
The inning took 29 minutes and featured six Yankees hits and showed you why the Yankees won 97 games last year. No matter how hopeless the game looks, they just refuse to go quietly.
Epic eighth: The Yankees' seven-run explosion, highlighted by a trio of two-run doubles by Swisher, Teixeira and Russell Martin, busted open the game and turned it into a rout.
Everything Valentine tried blew up in his face; his designated closer, Alfredo Aceves, not only couldn't safeguard a 9-8 lead, he couldn't even get an out. Aceves faced seven batters, walked four of them (two intentionally) and allowed three hits, including the doubles to Swisher and Teixeira. It got so bad, Valentine could have used bodyguards to make his pitching changes, or at least a disguise.
Unsteady Freddy: Freddy Garcia picked the worst possible time to have his shortest outing with the Yankees, with his rotation spot on thin ice to begin with and Andy Pettitte moving closer to a return. He got no help from his manager, who had him pitch to David Ortiz (5-for-10, two doubles and a HR off Garcia last year) in the first inning, resulting in an RBI double. But Garcia was fooling no one on this day, getting just five outs while allowing five runs on seven hits, all of them hit hard. If not for the dearth of starting pitching with Michael Pineda on the DL, you'd have to believe this would have been Freddy's Yankees swan song.
Coming up: Ian O'Connor has a column about everyone's favorite quirky former Mets manager. No, not Casey Stengel or Wes Westrum, but Valentine. Andrew Marchand will feed the blog, and I will be scouring Roget's Thesaurus for the proper adjectives to describe Saturday's miraculous comeback.
What's next: Forecast calls for heavy rain all day Sunday, but since weather forecasting is a notoriously inexact science, let's assume the game will be played as scheduled at 8:05 p.m., with CC Sabathia (1-0, 5.59) facing RHP Daniel Bard (0-2, 4.63). Andrew, Ian and I will be all over it, as usual.
Question of the night: Is this the greatest Yankees comeback you've ever witnessed? If not, what was?