Joba Chamberlain (2-3, 2.52 ERA) vs. Josh Beckett (9-6, 3.98 ERA)
1. Johnny Damon – Designated Hitter
2. Derek Jeter – Shortstop
3. Bobby Abreu – Right Field
4. Alex Rodriguez – Third Base
5. Jason Giambi – First Base
6. Robinson Cano – Second Base
7. Melky Cabrera – Center Field
8. Jose Molina – Catcher
9. Brett Gardner – Left Field
Red Sox Lineup:
1. Jacoby Ellsbury – Left Field
2. Dustin Pedroia – Second Base
3. David Ortiz – Designated Hitter
4. Kevin Youkilis – First Base
5. Mike Lowell – Third Base
6. J.D. Drew – Right Field
7. Jed Lowrie – Shortstop
8. Jason Varitek – Catcher
9. Coco Crisp – Center Field
Game Notes: Joba hasn’t exactly been dazzling against the Sox this season – he’s given up 3 runs in 6 innings giving him a 4.50 ERA – like many of his starts, he didn’t get a decision. Beckett, on the other hand, is 3-0 but has an ERA of 3.92, just around his season ERA. At that, Josh hasn’t been exactly dazzling against the Yanks in his career, a good win-loss at 7-3, but a poor ERA at 5.75 ERA. The Yankees are coming off two straight sweeps while the Red Sox just finished a sweep against the Mariners – can we really put anything into that, though? David Ortiz, according to Terry Francona, arrived at Fenway around 30-40 minutes ago carrying four bats on his shoulder and smiling – Ortiz is in the lineup and ready to go. Likewise, Manny Ramirez is scheduled to start for the Red Sox tonight.
4:44, GIRARDI: Joe Girardi will be on The Fan (WFAN) with Mike at the top of the hour if you’re interested (about 5pm).
5:04, LESTER: As you’d probably guess, I’m listening to Mike and the Mad Dog on The Fan right now. I can’t help but mention this. Mike keeps mentioning how the Red Sox have a clear advantage Sunday for two reasons. One, Ponson is going. Second, Lester has had ‘great success’ against the Yankees. Wrong. He is basing his comments off one game, that’s it. Lester was on his game that night, there’s no doubt about it. In all, Lester has given up 7 runs in 12.2 innings against the Yankees. I wouldn’t go as far as to say the Red Sox have a clear advantage. He beat them the one game, he was fantastic. He wasn’t the time before. Girardi, as mentioned, is on The Fan in moments.
5:18, MANNY SCRATCHED: Manny Ramirez has reportedly been scratched from the lineup. It’s possible that he took batting practice and felt discomfort, word is not out on why he was scratched at this point. I’m unaware as to who is taking his spot in the lineup – I’d imagine Jacoby will play left and Coco will move into center, not sure though, just my guess.
6:11, GIRARDI SPEAKS: Joe says that the plan remains Veras in the seventh, Farnsworth in the eight, and Mo in the ninth. The fact that this is a Red Sox series does not change the order of the pitchers. He mentioned that certain situations would not change the seventh-ninth spots. Of course the Yankees don’t have a specialist lefty, not yet at least, so that is why the innings for those guys does not change. He hinted that Edwar Ramirez may take one of those ‘big spots’ in this series if needed. Girardi said he would watch Damon throw today, his plan, or goal at least, is to have Damon in left field early next week. He mentioned it would make the lineup more versatile and give them more options. He also said he wants to get Betemit back in the lineup. To me, it seems Sexson will usually be a late defensive replacement. I have the feeling he won’t even be playing much against lefties. His time will decrease even more if the Yankees make an acquisition for a right-handed bat before the trade deadline. Girardi does not expect, or necessarily even want, the Yankees to make a move for a catcher – he showed strong support in both Molina and Moeller. He said he loves what Moeller has done with Rasner. Mike Mussina will pitch Monday – he is going to move up and pitch on normal rest, and why not? He has been the MVP of this team, without a doubt. Girardi also jokingly said he would’ve flipped Cano’s ‘switch’ earlier in the season if he knew he had one. On the Sox side of things, Jed Lowrie is 6 for his last 18 – he has a five-game hitting streak.
6:23, LINEUP: The Red Sox adjusted lineup is now posted. As I expected, Coco is taking over in center, and Jacoby is moving to the leadoff and playing left – the way it has been since Ortiz has been out.
6:38, DAMON IN LEFT: Girardi and Damon aren’t meeting on terms as to when he’ll play the field. Damon is aiming for tomorrow or Sunday, he himself said he knew it would help to get both him and Giambi in the lineup, along with another bat adding more depth. However, Girardi doesn’t feel he will be in the field until next week. Personally, I feel this would be a good place for Damon to get back into the field. He knows how to play the field here and it’s a small left field as we know.
On other note, Pedroia admitted to not wanting to face Joba for years to come – he said it’s “unfortunate” that he’s young. He also said Joba’s stuff is electric and admitted to calling him one of the best pitchers in the game. Interesting stuff there.
7:06, BASEBALL: And we’re ready for baseball.
7:09, IF ANYTHING AT ALL: Damon put together a nice at-bat making Beckett throw ten pitches to start the game… and a base hit for Jeter.
7:15, PROMISING: Probably couldn’t have been a better few at-bats. Damon makes him throw 10 pitches, and then both Jeter and Abreu get singles up the middle. Whatever happens this inning, it’s a promising start for the Yankees.
7:32, THE REAL BATTLE: Everyone is making a big deal out of Youkilis and Joba. Don’t expect anything. Chamberlain is a hard-nosed player. He would pitch every game if he could. After getting suspended for throwing at Youkilis last year, don’t expect anything. He may go inside, but that’s all you’ll see from him in relation to Youk.
Good slide by Pedroia on the previous play, even though he was out. I have to respect the guy. You cannot get him out and he plays hard on every play.
7:36, NADY OUT OF LINEUP: Xavier Nady was pulled from the Pittsburgh Pirates lineup this evening. There is no reported injury, which would lead me to believe he’s close to being traded. I doubt this involves the Yankees, but Cashman has been working the phones all day. We shall see.
7:47, ‘TIS WHY HE’S HERE: Melky is surely a great center fielder, arguably one of the best in the league. If he doesn’t hit, he’ll still take hits and runs away. I’ve always been in favor of him, and I’ll stick by it. Amazing catch. Amazing, again. Cano just had a terrible hop and throws onto Jeter who completes the double play. The defensive is GOLDEN.
7:52, MARTE AS WELL: It appears both Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte have been traded. My guess is the Mets. I’m sure something would’ve been said if it were the Yankees. Again, Cashman has been on the phone all day, but it seems unlikely. Some team is picking up two great players. Imagine if it was the Yankees. Send them to Fenway and get them in the rivalry right away.
7:54, YANKEES MAKE A DEAL: Well, maybe I’m wrong. Apparently they have been traded to the New York Yankees, at least that’s what Will Carroll is reporting.
8:00, COME ON DOWN: You are the next contestants in the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry. This sure is an interesting time for a move. Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte have definitely been traded. Two reports are confirming the Yankees are on the other side of this deal. However, the Pirates would not say. Apparently the only pending thing is physicals, but that’s usual. The asking price for Nady has apparently gone down. The Pirates realized they were not going to get what they wanted. I would not be surprised if Ian Kennedy is going to Pittsburgh. After throwing a near 7-inning no-hitter, and pitching very well, he has to be a strong candidate. Peter Abraham reports that Phil Coke was removed from the game in Trenton after pitching an inning. Perhaps Kennedy was not involved? The Pirates were interested in Ohlendorf. We will see. I’m sure there will be more to come.
8:48, OH, THE GAME: Everyone is only talking about the Nady-Marte to New York deal. However, there’s a good game going on. Chamberlain is showing up Beckett tonight. The Yankees aren’t capitalizing on their hits. Joba has only allowed 3 hits in 5 innings, and
he’s at 75 pitches. Hopefully Joba can turn another good two innings and move on to Farnsworth and Mo, unless we can score some more runs – which I’d take.
8:50, LOOK AT IT THIS WAY: There are a bunch of Yankees fans who dislike Farnsworth. He has pitched great, but most of you still hate him, unfortunately. Look at it this way – this would be the last 8th inning he would pitch. Marte will take over the set-up role.
9:04, 89 AND COUNTING: Joba has thrown 89 pitches through 6 innings. I’d hope Girardi would send him out to try and get through the seventh. The bullpen has been reliable, very reliable, but I want to see them let Joba go into the game a littler deeper.
Of course, Beckett comes out to pitch the top of the seventh and he is at 94 pitches. I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes for another. That’s how he is. He just recently went eight or nine and got the loss in Anaheim. Granted, Francona knew Melky would swing on the first pitch and get an out.
9:17, JOBA FOR SEVEN: Girardi sent Joba back out to pitch the seventh. In a big series like this, why not? Wow, he hit Youkilis in the head. I don’t feel that was intentional. A warning was given, but that’s ridiculous. That’s not necessary. I don’t feel he meant to hit him. That fastball really just got loose. He wouldn’t do that on good count with a 1-0 lead. That hit the handle of the bat. We almost had a bench clearing. If Beckett comes back out, expect a fight. After throwing over 100 pitches, you can expect that if he goes back out he’s hitting someone. That’s the type of guy he is.
9:20, AFTERMATH: We just saw what Joba brushing Youkilis did. Lowell thought the breaking ball wasn’t going to be sharp and looked like it was headed towards him. Well, it didn’t. It broke back over the middle. Same thing with Drew. They’re hesitant now. That’s what happens when you see a 95+ MPH fastball around the head.
9:43, THE ROLLER COASTER BEGINS: Farnsworth has been fabulous. He has nine straight hitless innings… until now. Lowrie led off with a single in the bottom of the eight. This is the last time Farnsworth will take the mound in the 8th unless there’s a blowout or something of the like. Damaso Marte will take the set-up role, or at least that’s believed. As I speak, Mariano Rivera is getting ready in the ‘pen. It’ll be interesting to see if he receives even more boo’s than usual because of the All-Star Game-Papelbon saga.
9:48, ENTER SANDMAN: He did receive a bunch of boo’s, but nothing like I expected. Girardi will call on Rivera to get five outs to finish the game. Lowrie stands on second and Crisp stands on first. This is where I see Damaso Marte fitting in so well with the Yankees – he’s so good against righties and lefties, he’s going to be an amazing fit.
9:59, NORMAL MO: Mariano came on and got two quick outs, but he has three more to go. Cano just lined out to short which means his streak of six straight multi-hit games is done… most likely.
10:02, MO ‘EM DOWN: Three outs to go and the Yankees will take an impressive 1-0 win in the first game of the series. Joba is slated to take his second victory as a starter.
10:04, ONE DOWN: Mariano got Ortiz to pop out to right field on a weak fly ball. Youkilis up next.
10:06, ONE ON: Youkilis hit a cutter threw the hole on the left side. Rodriguez was guarding the line so it got into left field. Lowell is on his way up, a double play candidate, especially with the sharp cutter. Most of Fenway is cheering and many on their feet.
10:09, STRIKE THREE: Lowell has been thrown out of the game. Francona doesn’t intend to follow. His strike zone has been all over the whole game. He is definitely a pitcher’s umpire. That seemed like a decent pitch though. He’s Mariano Rivera, you can’t take that pitch. Two down.
10:11, THE YANKEES WIN: Game over. Mariano Rivera gets the save. I’ll say this – the umpires are not big fan favorites in Fenway Park. It was a wide strike zone, but it was for both teams. You can’t say anything when the call’s go both ways.
Chamberlain picks up the win – Mariano picks up his 26th save. Is he the best closer of all-time, or what? I know Hoffman is the all-time leader, but how many people consider him better than Mariano? I don’t know one person, and I’m being serious.
Yankees take the series lead, 1-0, and look towards the Pettitte-Wakefield matchup tomorrow.