Red Sox vs. Yankees: No Winner, Only Degrees of Losing
Last night's game at Fenway was a travesty. It is not going to be included in any montage of the Yankees vs. Red Sox rivalry, except possibly by someone who wants to illustrate why he hates both teams.
In the end, the Yankees got to mark this game as a victory and the Red Sox got a loss. But neither team had much to cheer about last night.
The joyless grind that is the 2012 season continues in Boston. Actually, the Red Sox have been a model of consistency. And it is the kind of consistency that keeps teams out of the playoffs.
All year, they have had two settings: lose a bunch in a row and look incompetent. Win a bunch of series' in a row and look like a pennant contender turning it around.
They started the season 4-10 with the embarrassing Yankee series, then rattled off six straight wins and looked like a contender.
Then they went on a 2-9 stretch and looked awful. Then they won five in a row and looked great again. They won five of six in early June to climb over .500, then lost seven of eight to fall below .500.
They went on a five-game winning streak in mid-June. Now they just got swept by the A's and dropped a horrific game in Fenway.
The Red Sox have played three games against the Yankees this year. Despite scoring nine runs in one and eight runs last night, they have lost all three meetings.
The Yankees are averaging 10.3 runs a game against the Red Sox. Clearly the pitching is not rising to the occasion.
Josh Beckett's first inning was uniquely terrible. Many pitchers can have an awful first inning that sets the game on a bad note, but his five-run first was so agonizing that it actually seemed to affect the Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda, who came out flat.
How many pitchers are so bad that their ineffectiveness seeps over to the other team?
Back in May, I wrote that the Red Sox needed to deal Beckett after a few effective outings. His value was high and the Red Sox were not going anywhere this season.
They did not deal him. He got hurt and tonight he had nothing. He's stuck in Boston. And if this team loses two of the next three to the Yankees (hardly an outlandish scenario), the Red Sox will go into the All-Star break at .500.
Still, Yankee fans cannot get too giddy about their team's 8.5 game lead over the Red Sox. This is not 2004. This Red Sox team is dead from the neck up and it took a total bullpen meltdown to defeat them.
The Yankees went from a .500 record in late May to a commanding lead in the American League East mainly on the shoulders of a terrific interleague run. They went 13-5 against the senior circuit and 20-7 overall in June.
After a stretch where they won 15 out of 18 games, the Yankees are 4-4 and have looked ordinary. Remember, the 2006 Red Sox feasted on interleague play, winning 16 of 18 matchups. But their thin pitching and age caught up with them and they missed the playoffs all together.
The Yankees need Kuroda to be an effective innings-eater and need the likes of Nova and Hughes to pick up the slack left by Sabathia. They realistically cannot expect much from Pettitte for the rest of the year.
The Yankees do not have any more games against the National League. They are entering the second half with a combination of aging veterans and some young players thrust into the spotlight.
If the goal is October glory, they cannot rely on bludgeoning teams.
So while the Yankees added one to their win column, this was not a victorious night for either team.
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