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Home » September 2007 Game CommentsSeptember 2007 » Doubleback


Game 150: September 16, 2007
WinYankees 4 W: Joba Chamberlain (2-0)
S: Mariano Rivera (28)
85-64, 1 game winning streak
26-20-2 series record
Red Sox 3 L: Curt Schilling (8-8) 90-60, 1 game losing streak
31-13-5 series record
Magic number: 9
Highlights: Tugi! Achute me Joba. Ji ama tuta Nebraska. Me jenki. Ma kilin na pich rupha. Hamporo dongol na di kato? Ma... patisa Jason pul... hampu. (Translation from Huttese to English: Greetings! I am Joba. I come from Nebraska. I am a pitcher. My head is too hot. Where is a nearby pharmacy? My... friend Jason needs... medicine.)

Roger Clemens’s apprentices, past and present, were pivotal in the game. Clemens himself lumbered through six innings before turning over the reins to Joba Chamberlain, who let the home team back in the game. Curt Schilling lasted for seven and two-third innings; he was responsible for the game-tying and game-breaking home runs.

Chamberlain is invoked as some sort of second coming of Jonathan Papelbon the way he is presented by the media. Papelbon has had four streaks with no earned runs scored against him of 14 games or more; Chamberlain’s streak ended last night at 12 games with 16 innings pitched.

Mike Lowell blasted a two-out homer into the Monster seats in the eighth to snap Chamberlain’s spell. Lowell’s thunderous clout was his response to Derek Jeter’s three-run shot in the top of the frame.

The home team would fall short in the ninth, however, after coming tantalizingly close to a comeback victory. A shaky Mariano Rivera relinquished a leadoff walk to Jason Varitek, who advanced to third on two groundball outs.

Julio Lugo laced a double to the left-center gap to plate Varitek, bringing the team within one run of a game and series win. Left-handed rookie Jacoby Ellsbury hasn’t seen enough of Rivera to know just how precipitously the closer’s cutter comes in on lefties and was struck soundly in the kneecap; despite the blow he jogged off the pain and stayed on first. It was an ideal spot to watch Dustin Pedroia turn in the at bat of the evening.

Pedroia demonstrated his superb reflexes and judgment, alternatively fouling off or letting fly by eight of Rivera’s pitches. In the end the rookie prevailed over the veteran with a free pass to jam the bases.

David Ortiz did not come through, however. His pop fly was snagged by a backpeddling Jeter. The Yankees shortstop punctuated his team’s win with a fist pump, but it was more animated than usual. His usual move belies a matter-of-factness acknowledgment of the New York club’s superiority, but this time he was emotive, even fired up.

He knows, as Red Sox followers should know, that these two victories in Boston were more flukes than definitive statements of the Yankees’ resurgence. In this series the Red Sox outscored the visitors 20-13 and outhit them 30-23. Boston pitchers didn’t have the edge in strikeouts (23 to the Yankees’ 27) but were superior in bases on balls allowed (New York permitted 17 while the Red Sox had just 10).

The losses were not calamitous for the Red Sox. What was galling is that every defeat would have been devastating to the Yankees, and Boston managed only one. The small comfort the Yankees and their fans feel now that they have not been completely snuffed from contention isn’t as pleasant a sensation as leading the division outright.

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