Pitchers & Catchers Report to Ft. Myers

Friday, June 12, 2009

Girardi Channels His Inner Grady Little


Once again, my broom got a workout after the latest Yankee series.

I was watching tonight's game at Professor Thom's with a throng of Red Sox supporters (and a lot who weren't, more on that later), and with two on in the bottom of the eighth and no outs, Joe Girardi came strolling out to the mound, and it looked for all the world he was going to pull his ace, C.C. Sabathia, who had pitched a very good game but was clearly tiring. He was approaching 120 pitches.

My buddy Chris cued up some music for the pitching change, or so we thought. Next thing we knew, Girardi was heading back to the dugout, leaving the Cash Cow to face J.D. Drew. We yelled over to Chris to take off the music because there was no pitching change.

I looked over at my friend Rob, who said exactly what I was thinking at that moment. "I think I've seen this before." It was clearly in reference to a game played in New York in October 2003. You know the one. I need not explain. And I couldn't get that thought out of my head.

Next thing we knew, Drew singled, and Sabathia was finally gone. Jason Bay singled off Alfredo Aceves. Tie game. Mike Lowell hit a ball to center, Drew scored. 4-3 game. Girardi couldn't bring in Mariano Rivera for a six out save, and crossed his fingers and stayed with Sabathia. One batter too long.

Thom's went wild. I did especially, because shortly before The Comeback, some jackass Yankee fans were not far from us, and one tried to get a chant of "Boston Sucks" going in the bar. I've seen some stupid, moronic Yankee fans in my life, but this was really beyond the pale. And I made sure they knew how I felt about the current 4-3 score. (Words I will not print here, as they are slightly on the colorful side. My buddy Matt later told me that those jerks had no idea they were in a Red Sox fan hangout. Talk about assholes.)

Jonathan Papelbon came on to get his 16th save, a nice, clean 1-2-3 inning. And it was especially nice to see Mark Teixeira, who had no interest whatsoever of playing in Boston, making the final out of the three-game sweep.

Brad Penny was sensational, holding New York to no runs in six innings and 117 pitches. Big Papi went deep in the second for the first run, and it held up until the seventh. (As my friend Eric said, it will be so nice to look back on this series and say it was the one where Papi finally turned the corner. Two bombs against NY to double his home run output for 2009.) And Johnny Damon will be on most of the highlight reels on Friday for dropping an easy fly to left in the sixth. (But it didn't cost them any runs.)

Manny Delcarmen gave up the lead in the seventh, allowing three runs, in a rare bad outing. Rocco Baldelli made a sensational catch in center to save a run in the eighth and keep it 3-1. Sabathia was good for seven, but his pitch count mounted, and if the Yankees keep him in there like this all year, his shoulder will be mush by September. (And New York just doesn't have the arms in the pen to run with the Sox. The call to put the Drunken Headhunter back in the bullpen will probably grow even louder.)

This was the win of the year for the Sox, and the loss of the year for New York. The Sox are now 8-0 against them this year, and if you don't think the Red Sox are in their heads, think again.

Consider that the lesser of all the Red Sox bullpen guys (and he's not that bad overall) got the win: Takashi Saito. And New York's prize free agent signing, the guy they ponied up a boatload of money for, Sabathia, was the loser.

And New York led for just 1 1/2 innings in this entire series.

See you in August, guys.

No comments: