They call it the greatest rivalry in sports, though Michigan and Ohio State fans may disagree. I think we can all agree the Yankees / Red Sox rivalry the greatest rivalry in professional sports, anyway.
It started with a dominating performance by Yankee ace Chien-Ming Wang (aided significantly by the Red Sox’s anemic bats), included a nice outing (and win) by Josh Beckett, and ended with a shaky outing by Dice-K and horrible outing by Yankee phenom Phil Hughes.
Maybe the young Yankee starters are feeling the pressure of being chosen over Johan Santana, but they certainly aren’t tearing up the major leagues this April. Especially considering it was 30-degrees (conservatively) in Boston on Sunday—not exactly great hitting weather.
I jotted down some notes during and after all three games. Instead of using them to write a column, I figured I'd use them as my column. It'll give you a look inside the mind of a Red Sox fan during an early April weekend series against the evil New York Yankees.
And I'll give myself a night off from writing a real column. It's a win-win!
So, if you’ve ever wondered exactly what it’s like to be a Red Sox fan, here it is in a nutshell.
Completely uncensored and written down as the games were happening.
Game 1: Clay Buchholz vs. Chien-Ming Wang
2nd Inning: Buchholz looks much better than Wang early. The Sox are destroying the ball. On a warmer night, they’ve scored three runs by now. Minimum.
5th Inning: Ever notice when the Yankee play the Red Sox it’s always some schlub like Karim Garcia or Jose Molina who does the damage? Buchholz completely forgot how to throw strikes this inning. He might be getting tired.
5th Inning: JD Drew is on fire! Good thing Abreu doesn’t like running into walls. What a pathetic attempt at catching a flyball. If that ends up being the only hit/run for the Red Sox, he should buy Wang dinner. Especially since he’s almost making Wang’s entire salary in this one game.
Speaking of Wang, he’s clearly tiring. The Sox would have had four homeruns if it weren’t the dead of winter here in Boston.
7th Inning: Buchholz went six strong innings. All in all, a really impressive start for the rookie. I’m encou….are you kidding me? Mike Timlin just stopped me mid-sentence by throwing a ridiculous meatball to the White Barry Bonds. Yankees 2, Red Sox 1.
Way to ruin a good start, Timlin. Back to the DL with you!
8th Inning: The Yankees ended up getting another run in the seventh, mostly because Timlin doesn’t remember how to get anyone out. Then Wang got three outs on two pitches, or something like that.
The Red Sox can’t hit right now. They’re making Wang look like D-Lowe from the 2004 playoffs. And Wang ain’t no D-Lowe.
9th Inning: Well, this one’s over. The guy who’s playing for Jeter just doubled. I think he ended up scoring. I’m disgusted. No way the Sox win a game this weekend. They can’t hit. Awful. Just awful.
Final: Yankees 4, Red Sox 1
Game 2: Josh Beckett vs. Mike Mussina
1st Inning: Beckett just dominated Cabrera and Abreu, making them both look silly. Meanwhile, Mussina somehow pitched around two singles and a stolen base. Here we go again.
2nd Inning: Two more hits for the Red Sox, still no runs. Not liking where this is going.
4th Inning: Manny Ramirez just hit a homerun that landed in New York somewhere. As soon as he hit the homerun, I noticed that it’s raining harder at Fenway. Let’s race to five, then call the game? Given that the Sox probably won’t score anymore runs and their bullpen hasn’t exactly been lights out, that might be our best hope.
5th Inning: OK, we’re through five. Beckett looks fantastic. The Sox are winning by one. It’s still raining. There’s actually lightning out where I am, which is about twenty minutes north of Boston.
Call the game, already!
6th Inning: Too late. Once again, the Sox are killed by Jose Molina and that guy who’s filling in for Derek Jeter. I can’t stand the Yankees. This Red Sox team can’t hit, so we’re screwed.
6th Inning: What the heck was Girardi thinking? You don’t even pitch to Manny in a video game in that situation. I actually got up to go to the bathroom assuming he was going to walk him.
I fully endorse Joe Girardi as Yankee manager. Great decision, Hank.
7th Inning: Beckett gave up another run in the seventh, as he’s clearly tiring. Looked good though, can’t complain. Manny Delcarmen kept it a one run game by striking out Jose “Babe Ruth” Molina to end the inning.
8th Inning: Two men on, two men out, tying run at second, A-Rod at the plate, Papelbon coming in, and we’re going to rain delay. Fantastic.
8th Inning: Papelbon waited over two hours, then made A-Rod look silly on three straight pitches. Mr. April isn’t living up to his name today.
9th Inning: One, two, three ninth and the Red Sox pick up a huge win. The Yankees aren’t the same team without Jeter.
Final: Red Sox 4, Yankees 3
Game 3: Daisuke Matsuzaka vs. Phil Hughes
1st Inning: Wade Boggs was on Baseball Tonight. Buckner on opening day, Boggs on Baseball Tonight, all we need is Marty Barrett and Spike Owen and we’ll have the entire 1986 Red Sox infield.
1st Inning: Maybe I should have written “Phil Hughes? Who are the Yankees Kidding?” instead of the Ian Kennedy article? How awful was that first inning?
3rd Inning: Damon’s pretending it’s 2004. He’s getting on base, stealing bases, and looking healthy. Of course, only against the Red Sox. He’s still garbage against everyone else.
3-1 Red Sox, by the way.
3rd Inning: Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2008 New York Yankees! Phil Hughes goes three innings, throws something like 400 pitches, and gives up seven runs.
Fantastic outing for the other guy they wouldn’t trade for Santana.
4th Inning: Joe Morgan is driving me insane, almost as insane as Dice-K is driving me. Up six runs, just throw strikes! OK, up three runs…point remains the same. THROW STRIKES!
5th Inning: It’s going to be a long, long season if Dice-K continues pitching like the 2007 Dice-K.
6th Inning: The floodgates are getting ready to open. Aardsma has entered the game. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Red Sox middle relief! No lead is safe…EVER!
7th Inning: Shows what I know. Aardsma goes two strong, working around two walks in the sixth. I’m impressed. Let’s make him the new Mike Timlin.
8th Inning: If the White Barry Bonds could hit against Mike Timlin every night he’d actually put up Barry Bonds-like numbers. Good God, Timlin is awful. Can’t we retire him? He can go live in Idaho with Billy Buckner.
My God, that ball was crushed.
8th Inning: Coco Crisp is trying to get back into my good graces by bunting for hits, stealing bases, and being a general pest once he gets on base. By the way, kudos to Girardi for both losing the DH for the rest of the game (very Jimy Williams-like) and replacing his catcher with a guy who’s not allowed to throw.
I’m loving the Joe Girardi Yankees.
9th Inning: I was just informed by the tremendous duo of Joe Morgan and Jon Miller that Paps and Okie are both unavailable tonight. Let’s just say the three run lead got a little scarier.
9th Inning: A save by Manny Delcarmen? Striking out Mr. April in the middle of his favorite month? Winning with no Ortiz or Mike Lowell in the lineup?
Final Score: Red Sox 8, Yankees 5
What a weekend! The Red Sox are the best team in baseball! Bring on the Indians!
(I told you, Red Sox fans are insane.)