I don’t know which I find more disheartening: losing a close game that was there for the taking or getting humiliated in a blowout.
O.K. I do know. I hate both with identical passion.
As for tonight, while I never take anything for granted when we play the Sox, especially at Fenway, I thought we’d win this one. Joba got the double plays when he needed them. Coke and Alba did their jobs. Ortiz struck out with surprising frequency. And we were still ahead 4-2 in the ninth. Then the unthinkable: Mo blew the save.
Yeah, I was shocked too, because he’s usually lights out. But the guy is human. The NESN announcers reported that he has 12 blown saves against the Red Sox – the most against any team – and I had to laugh. That would give him an average of one per year over his 12-year career as a closer. Hardly a disaster.
Much more troubling, in my opinion, were the runners the Yankees stranded on base. A recap:
* First inning: Jeter led off with a single, and Damon, Tex and Posada stranded him.
* Second inning: Melky and Molina walked, and Ransom stranded them.
* Third inning: Damon and Tex singled, and Posada and Swisher stranded them.
* Fifth inning: Swisher doubled, and Cano stranded him.
* Sixth inning: Molina singled, and Ransom stranded him.
* Eighth inning: Ransom walked, and Jeter and Damon stranded him.
* Ninth inning: Tex got hit by a pitch, Posada and Swisher walked, loading the bases, and Cano (GIDP) and Melky (pop up) stranded them.
* Tenth Inning: Molina singled and Damon walked, and Tex stranded them.
* Eleventh inning: Posada walked, Gardner laid down a lousy bunt, Cano singled, and Melky stranded them (GIDP on a pitch way out of the strike zone).
Any way you look at it, that’s a lot of stranding.
Then, there was the use of the bullpen. I understand that Bruney was hurt and unavailable. But what was up with bringing Mo in during Ellsbury’s at-bat in the eighth with an 0-and-1 count? Was Girardi in the clubhouse watching a rerun of “Friends” when he suddenly remembered he wanted to call for his closer?
And finally, I must make mention of Joe’s use of Marte. I was thrilled to see Damaso have a 1-2-3 tenth, but that should have been enough! He’s never good for two! What was he doing on the mound in the 11th with Edwar and Veras rested and ready? It was puzzling.
But oh well. It was an exciting game (if you like the sensation of your stomach churning and your palms soaking with sweat), and we’ll try again tomorrow. I miss having A-Rod, Matsui and Nady in the lineup. Maybe there would be less stranding if they were.