|Game 162: September 28, 2008 ∙ 10 innings|
|Yankees||3||L: Jose Veras (5-3)||89-73, 1 game losing streak|
|Red Sox||4||BS: Justin Masterson (1)
BS: David Aardsma (1)
W: Devern Hansack (1-0)
|95-67, 1 game winning streak|
|Highlights: I didn’t realize the Pawtucket Red Sox and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees played this late into the year.|
Dustin Pedroia had the night off after going 2-for-4 in the afternoon game, rendering his final batting average .326. Joe Mauer went 2-for-5 and compiled a .330 average for the season, but this figure is subject to change as the one-game playoff between the White Sox and the Twins will count towards regular season statistics.
So Pedroia (“The Destroia” as one sign at Rally Monday proclaimed) still has a chance to prevail for the batting title, which would be one more accomplishment to list in his application for MVP. Jayson Stark named the second baseman in his column on the year-end awards. If a player can be mentioned in the same breath as Lou Gehrig, his case for MVP would be difficult to dispute.
The Elias Sports Bureau reports that Pedroia’s 43 hits and 33 runs in 26 games in August marked the first month that any player has accumulated those numbers in that few games since Lou Gehrig’s 48-hit, 35-run June in 1936. When the Red Sox needed Pedroia to hit cleanup for four games, he did that (going 12-for-18, with two homers, four doubles and a 1.222 slugging percentage). When they needed him to steal a base, he did that (20-for-21).
Enhancing these offensive contributions is that they are coming from a position where teams would sacrifice production for defense. In Pedroia the Red Sox have both in one compact package.
The lineup missed his bat and his smack talk last night. The local nine cobbled together one run in the first by building on Coco Crisp’s leadoff double, but they did not tally another run until the eighth.
Darrell Rasner (and his brothers Darryl and Larry) walked the bases loaded and then relinquished a two-run single to Sean Casey. Rasner couldn’t help himself, Casey was just too friendly.
The Yankees knotted the game in the top of the ninth. They were desperate to add a sweep of a meaningless series to their season’s other empty accomplishments, like Derek Jeter getting more hits than Gehrig at Yankee Stadium and Mike Mussina’s 20 wins. Melky Cabrera bunted with none out and two on to advance the runners and reached first, aided by the slippery infield, Kevin Cash’s unfamiliarity at third, and David Aardsma’s panic in having to field the ball because Cash didn’t.
The more the Yankees wanted it the more the Red Sox wanted to deny them. Alex Cora tripled to center to start off the tenth but appeared in danger of being stranded there when call-up Chris Carter struck out on four pitches.
With one out and a man on third Joe Girardi had Jose Veras intentionally walk two batters to load the bases and play for the double play. Last season Veras sported a tidy ground out/fly out ratio of 1.10 but in 2008 the ratio dwindled to .89. But it wasn’t a liner or fly that plated Cora but rather a sharp grounder of the bat of Jonathan Van Every past first baseman Juan Miranda.
Jonathan Papelbon, Josh Beckett, and Daisuke Matsuzaka may not like to be on the mound in the rain, but a guy like Devern Hansack only gets to see action because of such conditions.
Perhaps the Red Sox will bring the rain with them to California so that Beckett may recover from his oblique injury.