A couple of nights ago, Mariano Rivera had the ball in his hands with two outs, nobody on and the chance to bring the Yankees to fewer than two games out of a playoff spot. Since that moment, the Red Sox offense has been impossible to get out or keep in the ballpark, and the Yankees and their fans find themselves looking to the scoreboard and hoping teams like the Mariners and White Sox can help them until this group of cavemen leaves New York.
Since that moment, the Yankees' starting pitching has been bad and the bullpen has been worse, and three very impressive offensive performances by the Yankees have been wasted. It was more of the same today, as the Yankees turned to David Huff to try and be a stopper and to get the Yankees back into this series.
Huff started innocently enough, striking out two of the first three hitters on a 1-2-3 top of the first. In the top of the second, David Ortiz (honestly one of the Red Sox most professional looking players) doubled to the gap in right center just out of the reach of Ichiro Suzuki. Mike Napoli followed by launching a 3-0 fastball from Huff up an out to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead.
Not bad right? The Yankees can make up two runs. They got one back right away in the bottom of the second. Alfonso Soriano walked and moved to second on a bunt by Curtis Granderson. He scored with two outs on a Lyle Overbay single to cut the lead to 2-1.
But the Red Sox were right back at it against Huff in the top of the third. With two on, Caveman #2 Jonny Gomes launched a three run homer to make it 5-1. The Yankees got one back in the bottom of the inning (Robinson Cano RBI single), and then the Red Sox blew it open in the top of the fourth. I suggest simply skipping over the next paragraph.
Will Middlebrooks, who is somehow hitting like Manny Ramirez since he was recalled from Triple-A, led off the fourth with a single and moved to second on a hit by Jackie Bradley Jr.. Red Sox backup catcher Ryan Lavarnway then doubled to the gap to score Middlebrooks, and Bradley scored on a groundout by Xander Bogaerts. Another run scored on a double by Shane Victorino, and that was it for Huff. He was replaced by Jim Miller, who was added to the roster this morning. Jonny Gomes singled in Victorino and moved to third on a double by Dustin Pedroia. Then, Ortiz hit a sacrifice fly to bring another run home.
Whew, I think that's it. The Yankees got another one back in the bottom of the inning, and then Boston got a couple more in the fifth on a two-run home run by Bogaerts. The score after five was 12-3 Red Sox.
Something that is lost in all of this is that the Yankee are putting together their best offensive stretch of the season on this homestand. They are scoring five runs a night at least without an issue. They have shown an ability to get back into games and sustain long rallies. And the last three games, they've scored a combined 25 runs. Thats a lot of runs, and in 99% of circumstances that will get you a couple of wins. To the Yankees' credit, they didn't just lay down and roll over and they got back into the game.
Eduardo Nunez led off the bottom of the sixth with a walk and moved to second on a walk by Ichiro. J.R. Murphy pinch hit for Austin Romine and grounded into a fielder's choice, putting runners on first and third with two men out. Following that, a double by Brett Gardner and singles from Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano and Alfonso Soriano cut the deficit to 12-7.
The Yankees got a couple more on a two run double by Mark Reynolds in the eighth, who had entered the game for Derek Jeter. Caveman #1 (Napoli) hit his second home run of the night to make it a 13-9 score. That was the only run allowed by Brett Marshall, who gets the honor of being the only Yankee pitcher that didn't get shelled. That would also be the final score, as the Red Sox got the Yankees to go quietly in the top of the ninth.
If you're looking for some kind of silver lining in this, it's that the Rays are playing terribly on the West Coast and the Yankees haven't lost ground thus far. Next week the Red Sox will visit the Rays at the Trop, so it's a definite possibility that those struggles will continue. The Yankees will also play the Orioles at Camden Yards next week, so they'll still have an opportunity to make up the ground they've lost on Baltimore this weekend.
The Yankees will try to salvage the final game of this series and a winning homestand tomorrow afternoon. Hiroki Kuroda and Jon Lester are the probables.