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Home » June 2007 Game CommentsJune 2007 » Hindrance


Game 53: June 1, 2007
WinYankees 9 W: Chien-Ming Wang (4-4) 23-29, 2 game winning streak
5-11-2 series record
Red Sox 5 L: Tim Wakefield (5-6) 36-17, 2 game losing streak
14-3-2 series record
Highlights: The streak goes on. Kevin Youkilis tapped an infield single in the sixth to bring the total to 23. Manny Ramirez partnered with the left field wall and Dustin Pedroia to hose Alex Rodriguez at the keystone sack for the second out of the third.

Ahem. So, how does this sound? “Go ahead, keep cheering. That Cano homer really helps you in that 13 and a half game difference in that standings.”

You see, I was at last night’s game and I had the oddest revelation. Despite being surrounded by Yankee fans, the universe’s experts in front-running smack talk and have been for what seems to be seasons on end, I was at a loss in how best to cuttingly remind them that their battle is not against the Red Sox. You would think some of their clever aphorisms would have thoroughly infested my cerebral cortex, but duplicating their rarefied talent is no small feat.

“Too bad those six runs in the fourth aren’t games, because then you’d be just 7 and a half games behind us.”

As usual, there were many Yankee fans strewn in the crowd. The man right in front of my group actually had the loyalty to wear his Jason Giambi jersey to Fenway, but it wasn’t even the correct format as it had both the number and the name blazoning the back. We were in section 13, part of the rather sedate right field grandstand, so he and his girlfriend sat through the night relatively unscathed. One of my crew did comment loudly that Real Yankee Jerseys are pure with just the number, and how odd it is that one of their True Fans did not even bother to wear something more genuine.

It made perfect sense to me: an inauthentic garment worn in honor of an artificially-enhanced player. Whether or not Giambi was, is, or ever will be a True Yankee is an argument for the minons at NYYFans. Such theological debates rage at that site, along with questions like, “How many relief pitchers dance in the dead of the bullpen?”

Joe Torre burned through six relief workers for the win since Chien-Ming Wang lasted five and a two-thirds innings. The David Oritz/Mike Myers match-up finally played out as Torre hoped with the designated hitter’s strikeout to draw an close to the sixth. With a six-run lead, Mariano Rivera took the mound. That scent you detected wafting from the Fens was not dirty water or Fenway Franks but Yankee desperation.

Wang out-dueled Tim Wakefield in innings and performance. The Red Sox starter went just three and two-thirds and yielded eight earned runs, six walks, and one hit batsman. Batterymate Doug Mirabelli had two passed balls, looking more like his Yankee counterpart than his sure-handed self. Terry Francona used just four relievers in the rout, and his best arms are rested and ready for the rest of the series.

What is a Yankees/Red Sox game without controversy? Maybe Alex Rodriguez’s shout out in Toronto lit a fire under his team (or at least that is what his autobiography will say). Torre was ejected in the fifth inning for disputing the call on Bobby Abreu’s attempted swipe of third with Johnny Damon at the dish. The Yankee field manager had waited until Damon completed his at bat, Derek Jeter singled, and Kyle Snyder finished his warm-up pitches to tangle with third base umpire Jerry Crawford.

How futile is it to argue a play after two at bats had transpired? As futile as this season is proving to be for the Yankees.

Mike Lowell left the game in the fifth because of being struck on the hand by Wang’s pitch in the third. He was the only player of the five batters hit by pitches to have to depart. More Yankees (Josh Phelps by Wakefield, Rodriguez by Snyder, and Robinson Cano by Javier Lopez) than Red Sox (Lowell and Kevin Youkilis by Scott Proctor) were drilled, but Proctor’s beanball to the Boston corner infielder was higher than it needed to be. The Rawlings lobotomy prompted the dugouts to empty and the bullpens to clear.

Clearly the only way Proctor gets any rest is through suspensions and headhunting. Enjoy your rounds of golf gained by buzzing hot-hitting Youkilis’s goatee.

The spectators were galvanized for the series opener, booing the star Yankees lustily in the early innings. Rodriguez was greeted by a coterie of blond mask-wearing fans for each of his at bats. The third baseman gloved a J.D. pop out to kill the second inning. As he retreated to the dugout, Rodriguez tossed the ball to jeering fans. Seconds later the ball was thrown back on to the field much to everyone’s enjoyment. Cano’s souvenir suffered the same fate.

My friend distorted my “Joslyn” mantra (said to the tune of “Daryl”) to “Josh Phelps.” He wanted the utility man to just as despised as his teammates.

Red Sox devotees left the game defeated by not despondent; Yankee followers exited victorious but not confident.

“Wait ’til next year.”

Note: I’m a bit behind in preparing my photos from recent games for the site, but I’m working on getting them posted throughout the weekend.

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