The man of the hour for the Red Sox in the Bronx last night was none other than Julian Tavarez, who on his 34th birthday, pitched 5 2/3 innings of solid baseball, and the Red Sox went on to win easily, 7-3.
So much for the newly-found Yankee momentum.
It was dashed in a hurry when Manny Ramirez teed off on a 2-0 Mike Mussina meatball down the plate and crushed it for an early 3-0 lead in the first inning. Mussina, one of the most overrated pitchers in the American League, had nothing (and I'm sure that YES announcer Michael Kay was silently applauding), and put his team in a hole they could not crawl out of, and the Sox went back to a 10 1/2 lead in the AL East.
It was the Sox game the whole way. Tavarez has now beaten the Yankees twice in two starts this season, both at Yankee Stadium. (Wow, who would have ever have guessed that?)
There was a close play at second in the seventh, when Coco Crisp was called safe at second on a stolen base attempt. One angle showed him safe, but on another he appeared out. It kept the inning going, and the Red Sox tacked on three more runs and put the game away. That led to this mystifying conclusion from Robinson Cano, who applied the tag, and compared it to blown call a few weeks ago against Seattle: "It's the second time that's happened, and both times it made the difference in the game."
Uh, Robby, get your calculator out. The Sox had four runs at the time of the steal. The Yankees never scored more than three runs in the game. That call wasn't the difference in this game. I guess he doesn't get paid to do mathematics.
BTW, did anyone else notice who the second base ump who made that safe call was? None other than Joe West, the same ump who called Dave Roberts safe on the "Steal Heard Around The World" in ALCS Game 4 in 2004. Couldn't help but think of that last night.
But later in the game, Alex Rodriguez once again proved why he's not one of the most beloved players in the game. In trying to break up a double play at second, he gave Dustin Pedroia an elbow as Dustin was making the relay to first base (pictured). Dustin downplayed it after the game, and A-Rod said nothing. He should have been called out for interference, but it wasn't called. Professor Thom's was up in arms over the no-call.
Once again, Rodriguez pulls cheap shit like this. There's a big difference between him and a player like Derek Jeter. Jeter has the respect of his fellow players because he doesn't resort to BS like this. In other words, he plays like a professional, whether you like him or not. It's not a big surprise Rodriguez has made plenty of enemies on every team he's played on, and among opposition players as well. Players may respect his overall ability, but that's it.
And he'll never live down October 19, 2004. Ever.
He'd also better watch himself tonight, as Curt Schilling goes for the Sox. Rodriguez may find himself on his back at some point during the game, and it may not be while he's trying to throw elbows again.