Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Evening The Score

We've been hearing about how the Yankees "need" this series, but for the same reason, the Red Sox needed this game. With a 10.5 game lead over NY, the Sox could afford to lose two out of three against NY. And with NY's top three starters against the end of the Sox rotation and the games being played in NY, winning only one of three wouldn't be a terrible thing. Losing two of three means being up 9.5 games, while getting swept means being up 7.5 games. I'm not trying to set low expectations here; that one win is worth two games in the standings.

Francona managed the game tonight like he was thinking exactly that. He managed what was a 7-2 game like it was a 3-2 game. This was a game that he clearly wanted to win, and by bringing in Okajima and Papelbon with a five run lead, he made sure that he did. Still,
you have to wonder about the wisdom of using your two best relievers in the eighth inning of a 7-2 game. Lopez had thrown 18 pitches, so he was probably done for the night if you want him to be available Wednesday. I wouldn't have a problem bringing Kyle Snyder into that situation to see what he can do.

The Sox were able to win the game because they got very effective pitching out of His Craziness, Julian Tavarez. In fact, Tavarez was decidedly better than either Okajima or Papelbon. Don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen again.

The Sox offense was best represented by Youkilis and Lowell both of whom had two hits. Big Papi continued his mastery over the Yankees with three hits, and Manny and Lowell both hit homers. The Red Sox greeted Mike Mussina rudely with two singles and a monstrous three run shot by Manny Ramirez. Unfortunately, it was Manny's only hit of the game.

A couple quick notes:

* In the bottom of the 8th, A-Hole was on first when Posada grounded into an almost double play (technically speaking). The throw came to Pedroia from Lowell and as A-Hole slid into second he threw his left elbow at Pedroia. This ws clearly done after he finished his slide. To everyone but Michael Kay it was pretty blatant, and even Kay admitted that "A-Rod might have thrown an elbow" at Pedroia. Not cool, A-Hole. Keep your elbows to your last-place self.

* I was making a list of the factual inaccuracies spewed by Michael Kay, but I ran out of room.

AL East: The Sox win tonight over New York returns their lead over the Yankees to 10.5 games. In other AL East-based news, Toronto beat Baltimore and Tampa lost to Seattle. At Close Of Business today, the Red Sox lead Toronto and NY by 10.5 games, the Orioles by 11.0, and Tampa by 12.5 games.

Tomorrow (Wednesday): The Sox finish up their three gamer in New York. The Sox try to take the series by sending Curt Schilling to the mound. He is opposed by Andy Pettitte. Game time 7:05pm.

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