That was close. But, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. (I guess it counts in bocce, darts and water-balloon fights too. But, no one ever wants to talk about that, do they?)
After four innings, this one looked ugly. But, the Yankees did make it close after six and a half. And, New York had their chances in the 8th and 9th innings to get the score tied. In the 8th, they had a runner on second with one out and Jeter and Damon failed. In the 9th, they had a runner on second with one out and Cano and Posada failed. So, this is now another loss to the Red Sox this season – and, New York is still stuck on “0″ wins against Boston this year (in seven tries to take one).
Worm Killer Wang, who’s not killing many worms this season, had almost no command. He was followed by Phil Hughes who made a big mistake to Kevin Youkilis. And, there’s your Red Sox offense on the night. Between the two, Wang is the huge issue here for the Yankees – as they cannot keep running him out there like this. At this point, I almost want to say that New York needs to “Roy Halladay” Wang and send him down to the minors, have him work with someone to figure this out. (Too bad Neil Allen is gone – as it’s reported he taught Wang the sinker.)
Do you know what really bothered me about this game? It was Nitwit Swisher. Now, I know that the F.O.N.S. (Fans of Nick Swisher) will come at me with torches and pitchforks for saying this – shouting “Didn’t you see that great catch by Nick in the 7th and didn’t you see that clutch walk of his in the 8th?” But, to me, as bad as Wang was, and as big as the mistake which Hughes made to Youkilis was, and as bad as the Yankees were in clutch spots in this game, it was Nitwit Swisher who cost the Yankees this one. Here’s how:
It’s the top of the second inning. Wang somehow escapes the bottom of the first by only allowing one run. It’s a miracle, but, it’s true. Yanks are only down one-zip as they start their second. Posada leads off with a homer to tie the score. Matsui follows with a double. Swisher, via a double gift by the umpires, reaches on a push bunt. (It’s a double gift because the umps ruled Youkilis’ toe was off the bag – which was very questionable – and because Swisher was not called out for running outside of the runner’s lane on the play.) So, now, with the score tied, no outs, the Yankees have Wakefield on the ropes with runners on first and third. But, then, Nitwit Swisher allows himself to get doubled off first on a semi-hard liner (by Melky Cabrera) to short. It’s a play where even the guys in the YES booth question Swisher because the play was right in front of him. Now, with two outs, Jeter flies out and the frame is over – with the rally killed via Swisher’s bad baserunning. And, Wakefield lives to throw another four innings – instead of maybe getting knocked out of the game.
Next, it’s the bottom of the second inning. Wang is in trouble. After allowing a lead-off single and a double to the next batter, there’s one run in for Boston (who is now up 2-1 in the game) with no outs. Dustin Pedroia is the third batter to face Wang and he hits a fly ball to right field. Nitwit Swisher camps under it, raises his glove, and misses the ball. Michael Kay, in the YES booth, says (about the play) “I know that we’re supposed to explain things here, but, how do you explain that?” The ball bounces into the stands, Pedroia gets a ground-rule double and the runner on second (Kottaras) scores. It’s now three-one, Sox. Wang settles down after that getting Drew on a soft grounder and both Youkilis and Bay on strikes. If Swisher catches that ball, as he should have, the Red Sox do not score that second run in this inning – and that one run was the difference in the game.
Oh, that Nick Swisher, he’s the Caucasian Mel Hall.
Welcome to second place, New York.
Lastly, whomever it was who taught Michael Kay the word “efficacy” should be tarred and feathered. Oh, my stars and garters, he’s beating that one to death.