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Home » June 2007 Game CommentsJune 2007 » Bluster


Game 55: June 3, 2007
WinYankees 6 W: Brian Bruney (2-1)
S: Mariano Rivera (5)
24-30, 1 game winning streak
6-11-2 series record
Red Sox 5 H: Brendan Donnelly (8)
BS: Hideki Okajima (1)
L: Jonathan Papelbon (0-1)
37-18, 1 game losing streak
14-4-2 series record
Highlights: “Where is Roger?” chanting in the fifth. Peter Gammons giggled gleefully when Jon Miller asked him about the chant. Manny Ramirez winged head-first into second for his seventh-inning double, looking superhumanny.

I wouldn’t go so far to say that the Yankee defense played well save for Melky Cabrera’s snatch of Wily Mo Peña’s slicing line drive in the third inning. The visiting team was extremely lucky; numerous fly balls batted by the Red Sox were buffeted by the wind blowing in, conveniently plopping into expectant outfielders’ gloves camped on the warning track. Even unaided by the wind New York fielders were fortunate; in the eighth Bobby Abreu seized a Dustin Pedroia fly while on the run, barely able to make the grab for the third out of the inning.

Thirteen seems to be their lucky number. It’s the number on the player who blasted the winning homer and it is the number, rounded up from 12.5, of the games that the Yankees trail the Red Sox for the division lead. The season series stands at 7-5 in favor of Boston with six more games to play.

Joe Morgan must have watched only the Fox broadcasts of Red Sox games. Like Tim McCarver, he endlessly obsessed about Manny Ramirez playing too shallow in left. Looking back, Morgan has played six regular season games at Fenway and four postseason games. McCarver has 12 more regular season games than Morgan and, of course, the same number of postseason games.

Morgan and McCarver, who were for the most part career National Leaguers from the era before interleague, should be exceedingly knowledgeable about the left field intricacies of the little bandbox. Especially since one was a second baseman and the other was a catcher.

Every time Morgan is at Fenway he never fails to bring up Carlton Fisk’s immortal home run and smilingly relates that people often say Boston won that World Series in Game 6. Similarly, McCarver seems to reminisce fondly about being on the 1967 Cardinals when he is in town for a national broadcast.

Beneath their veneer of satisfaction lurks an enmity towards the Red Sox and their fans. Their championships are footnotes in the ponderous tome of Boston baseball. And because of this they belittle the Olde Towne team and its adherents whenever possible. Chiding Ramirez for how he positions himself in left is just one example of their condescension.

The former Reds second baseman said that the brouhaha over Alex Rodriguez’s shout on the basepaths was a manifestation of the day’s tendency towards political correctness. Morgan said that runners would always try to distract him when he tried to glove pop-ups by saying “hi” as they jogged by in front of him.

That sort of gamesmanship is not analogous to yelling something as if you were a teammate behind the opposing player. If “political correctness” means a code of conduct that ensures the health and safety of players on the field, then label me a bleeding heart liberal. A sport where a player can’t trust that a voice behind him is his peer warning him of potential contact is not sporting at all.

Josh Beckett reintroduced the Yankees to his Uncle Charlie. Beckett tried to be cordial, but many of them wouldn’t even make contact with friendly old Chuck. Sure he can be a big yakker, but he’s full of life, especially from 12 to 6. I guess Yankees don’t appreciate good company. Beckett got so tired of them he left in the seventh with two outs remaining.

The Red Sox supported Beckett with five runs in the fifth. Jason Varitek, Peña, and Coco Crisp singled consecutively to jam the bases. Julio Lugo battled to a full count after falling behind 0-2 but struck out. Pedroia must have been watching Andy Pettitte’s entire repertoire from the deck because he was all over the second pitch. The second baseman sent the offering off the wall and deep for a bases-clearing double, showing that the batting second becomes him as well as it did Youkilis.

Abreu, Peña-like, allowed Ortiz’s single turn into two more bases on the right fielder’s poorly executed block of a bounding fly ball. Pedroia scored on the hit and Pettitte was knocked from the game.

Ramirez was intentionally walked for the third time this series, this time by Luis Vizcaino. Youkilis drove the ball deep but the wind squalled away the chance for a four-bagger. The Red Sox first baseman’s sac fly would be the last run the home team tallied.

Bullpen stalwarts Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon allowed the tying and go-ahead runs respectively. On a night where the local nine was out of synch with each other and their environment, the fourth series of the season was dropped to a team with a worse than losing record. That is far more disappointing than losing to Yankees themselves.

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