Saturday, July 20, 2013

Yankees Get One Back

After getting embarrassed offensively in last night's game, the Yankees came into Fenway Park and scored five runs off Red Sox pitching. They played small ball, with no home runs and still managed to beat the mighty Red Sox who have the best record in baseball. The Yankees always knew how to get to John Lackey, and today was no different. They got to the right hander to score four runs in 6.1 innings. Lackey began to unravel in the seventh and by the time all was said and done the Yankees scored three runs in the inning and Lackey's ERA jumped slightly to 2.95 which still merits applause. On a team that has been winning so much it is strange to see Lackey's record at 7-7 with an ERA under three runs. Either the team still doesn't like him or he is just falling into bad luck with run support. After undergoing Tommy John surgery the verdict was out on Lackey, whose life was in turmoil just under two years ago with his separation from his wife along with his wife's cancer scare and his ineffectiveness with the Red Sox. Lackey became a hated character in the streets of Boston and needed to find a way to turn his life and career around. This year Lackey came into Spring Training having lost weight and on a mission to return to the Lackey who earned the big contract after pitching like an ace with the Angels.
Hiroki Kuroda continues to be a stabilizing force in the rotation, having unofficially taken over the "ace" title. In Kuroda's brilliant start, he allowed only two earned runs, one of which came around to score on a wild pitch. He allowed just five hits and walked only one batter in seven innings. His season ERA has lowered to 2.65 as he continues to thrive under the pressure cooker of the American League East. David Robertson came on to pitch the eighth and he would get out of the inning in the most unusual fashion. Dustin Pedroia popped out to Chris Stewart in foul territory behind home plate on the third base side and as Stewart went to make the catch he lost his balance and landed awkwardly on the edge of the stands. Daniel Nava, who singled earlier in the inning, decided to take off for second base but Chris Stewart had other ideas. He fired a cannon to second base for an inning-ending double play. Mariano Rivera came in to pitch a scoreless ninth inning to notch his 31st save of the season and the 639th of his illustrious career as he made his first appearance of the year in Boston in his farewell season.

In tomorrow night's finale the Yankees have a lot on the line as CC Sabathia will step up to pitch against the Red Sox, who have had his number while he has been in a Yankees uniform. The 5-8 Ryan Dempster will pitch against the Yankees. The Yankees love facing Dempster because they just launch balls off the career National Leaguer. A series win for the Yankees out of the gate following the All-Star break would be more than they hoped for when entering the series.

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