Game 20: NYY vs. BOS — A rainy Tanaka is still an amazing Tanaka

Okay, bad news first: after initial tests, the doctors recommended that Ivan Nova should have surgery (the old Tommy John kind), which means he could be out 12-18 months, essentially the rest of 2014 and all of 2015. He is wisely (and perhaps hopefully) seeking a second opinion before making his decision, but that is the usual route in these cases. It’s not great, especially because he’s been so on point, but he’s young enough to make a good recovery and comeback. Continued prayers and wishes for good health.

Oh, and it was pouring in Boston for tonight’s game. Just a little bit at first, but by the 9th inning, I was wondering when Noah was going to stop by with his ark.

Good news? Well, it’s always good news when the Yankees beat the Red Sox. And thanks to some truly outstanding pitching by the Yankees, they beat them solidly. The Red Sox got a firsthand view of Masahiro Tanaka tonight and figured out rather quickly why he’s been hyped up. Tanaka threw 105 pitches over 7.1 innings, allowed 7 hits and 2 runs, striking 7 batters. Those 2 runs came courtesy of 2 back-to-back solo home runs in the 4th inning. And other than that, it was a standard Tanaka outing. Even the talking heads calling the game (not from YES Network, but the “other guys”), who are usually part of the anti-Yankee media crowd, couldn’t stop gushing over Tanaka.

Dellin Betances came on in relief for Tanaka in the 8th and carried his unshakable consistency into the 9th. His two flaws were 2 doubles in the 9th, one added another run, giving the Red Sox a total of 3 runs. But he closed the game as the rain continued to pour, chasing the Fenway Faithful up under the overhangs.

Both Tanaka and Betances were certainly aided by the Yankees offense that seemed to chip away early at the Red Sox ace. Leading off, Jacoby Ellsbury (incessantly booed throughout by his former fans) tripled, halted at 3rd by fan interference (and a minor dispute). Derek Jeter singled him home before advancing to 3rd himself on a passed ball. He would then score on Carlos Beltran’s single. In the 3rd, 3 back-to-back-to-back doubles by Alfonso Soriano, Mark Teixeira, and Brian McCann scored 2 more runs.

After the Red Sox gained brief momentum in the 4th, the Yankees came roaring the next inning to ensure their lead. Teixeira and McCann on base with a walk and a single, and 2 outs on the board, Brian Roberts reached on a fielding error as Teixeira comes jogging home. Ellsbury then doubled home both McCann and Roberts and then made it home himself on Jeter’s 3,333 hit (a single). Beltran would add one more in the 8th with a deep solo home run into the right field seats. And the Yankees slogged their way off the flooded field with a 9-3 win.

Look, I said this in Spring Training, and I’ll say it again after watching tonight’s game, these Red Sox are not the 2013 Red Sox. I’ve already heard someone blaming the weather for their sloppy fielding, lack of offense, and weak pitching. Honestly, that’s a cop out. Inclement weather (be it rain, snow, cold, heat, or otherwise) is always terrible and it does affect play and playing ability. But a great team still pushes through and makes the best of it. You can still be a team in terrible weather, you can still hit the ball in terrible weather, and you can still make basic plays in terrible weather. No one’s expecting “The Avengers in the Outfield” (I claim residuals for my idea, Marvel), superhero-level strength and ability when it’s pouring rain, but at the professional level, people expect the professional. You can’t magically create a team in bad weather if you’re not a team in good weather.

But this isn’t 2013, and for that, especially as a Yankees fan, I am truly grateful. The Red Sox can have 2013, and honestly, the city of Boston needed that. But this is our year…

Go Yankees!


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