Watching the Red Sox roller-coaster win at Yankee Stadium last night reminded me of something I told a friend not long ago: "The Red Sox have definitely taken about five years off my life."
Last night's game seemed to take about five years to play, but in the end the results were worth the aggravation. I watched the game at Professor Thom's and before the game began, I got to talking to a fellow named Neil, who was from North London and managing a rock band currently in town named White Rose Movement. He was a really pleasant guy, and we got to talking about his band, and then we got to talking about sports. He was a big soccer fan, and a huge Arsenal supporter. He was in the bar waiting for a friend, and I was telling him that that night's Red Sox-Yankees game was the American equivalent of Arsenal vs. Manchester United. He hung around as all the Red Sox fans entered the bar, and my friends and I gave him a crash course on Major League Baseball. It was an interesting experience teaching Neil how Tim Wakefield throws his knuckleball. He seemed to be catching on a bit, but I could tell from his reactions that he'd rather be watching an Arsenal match!
In the first inning, Hideki Matsui slid for a fly ball hit by Mark Loretta and suffered a devastating wrist injury (even Neil could tell it was bad). It was a break that may sideline him for the year. The replays of it were absolutely brutal to watch. And already, the speculation has begun about who the Yankees will go out and get to replace him. I've heard the names Alfonso Soriano, Torii Hunter and even Bobby Abreu mentioned. Don't these people realize that as soon as Matsui got hurt that the cost of a possible replacement just went right through the roof? Teams will know the Yankees will be desperate for a replacement, and will hold out and drive the price up. And as we all know, the Yankees don't have a good farm system. They might be better off getting a second-tier guy (how about giving Bubba Crosby a shot?) instead of further draining a barren farm. It will be interesting to see what they do.
The Yankees jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead against Tim Wakefield, and then the Red Sox started to really drive me up the wall. They began leaving runners everywhere, including the bases loaded in the fifth and sixth innings. Bubba Crosby and Johnny Damon robbed the Sox of extra-base hits with fine catches. Shawn Chacon was in trouble all night, and the Sox simply couldn't put runs on the board. I felt really badly for Wake, as he settled down nicely after giving up another run. He seems to be the pitcher the Sox struggle to score runs for. But the Red Sox finally broke through in the seventh. With runners on second and third and two outs, Loretta hit a ball to SS that Derek Jeter threw from his knees that Miguel Cairo had to come off the bag for and when he went to tag Loretta, the ball came out and two runs scored. The Sox now had a 4-3 lead on a play that should have been a Jeter error but was ruled a hit.
Mike Timlin, Keith Foulke and Jonathan Papelbon pitched scoreless relief, as the Sox added a run off Mariano Rivera in the ninth to give then a hard fought 5-3 win. The Red Sox left 15 men on base, but still came away with the win. Before the series began, I was hoping the Red Sox could take 2 out of 3, and they did just that. Mark Loretta had four hits and three RBI last night, and went 9-for-16 in the series to raise his average to .280. I was glad to see Wakefield get a gutty victory. The Red Sox head back to Boston back in first place, and face the Texas Rangers (weather permitting) tonight to start a three-game series.
As I got into the Union Square subway station to head home after the game, I saw two police officers writing out tickets to two guys there wearing Yankee paraphernalia for some offense that I couldn't really tell what it was. They sure weren't happy about it.
I guess that about sums up the night if you were a Yankee fan on Thursday.