Game 86: NYY vs. BOS — Rivalry, good fans, fire alarm, a win, & a birthday… busy Friday

There is a reason that the Yankees are currently strongly in first in the AL East, and there is a reason the Red Sox are strongly last in the AL East. Both of those reasons were on display tonight. Look, I always love the rivalry games, but sometimes a little competition goes a long way to help with that excitement. And I thought, seeing who was starting tonight’s game, there might be some issues, but as things rarely go as one expects, I was rather wrong.

Michael Pineda got the start for the first game of the weekend series at Fenway tonight, and he turned in quite the performance — 89 pitches through his 6.2 innings, giving up 7 hits, just 1 run, and no walks, and striking out 6 Boston batters. That lone run came well into his outing, the 5th inning, on a 1-out solo shot. It would be the only run the Red Sox would score all evening, a sad reflection of where they are offensively right now.

Wilson closed out the 7th inning for Pineda with an 8-pitch strikeout, before handing the game over to the Dynamic Duo of Betances and Miller for the 8th and 9th, though it wasn’t a save situation. The Yankees haven’t given them many opportunities lately for set-ups and save, so getting them in the game for their usual 8th and 9th innings was more of just getting them in the game than stats building. Oh, and they did a great job as usual. After Miller’s rather messy return earlier this week, he’s back to his old self again.

I need to applaud the Yankees’ pitching staff — no walks allowed all evening and 11 total strikeouts. I always like seeing double-digit strikeouts under the Yankees’ pitching stats (not such much when they’re under the batting stats, as you can imagine). And while the Red Sox did hit a bit, they never did more than warm a couple of bases briefly.

The Yankees’ offense, on the other hand, got off to a big start with Alex Rodriguez’s 2-out solo home run right in the 1st inning. Then they came back in the 4th inning to hit the Red Sox again. McCann led off with a single, then moved to 3rd on Gregorius’ 1-out double. After that play, the Red Sox starter was pulled from the game due some elbow soreness. (Elbow soreness could be related to something simple as overuse or something as terrible as a torn tendon or ligament which usually leads to Tommy John surgery. No word yet.)

So with McCann and Gregorius in scoring position with 1 out and a new pitcher, Drew loaded the bases by reaching on a fielding error. Another out later, Jacoby Ellsbury reached on the 2nd fielding error, scoring McCann, and keeping the bases loaded. The bases stayed loaded when Brett Gardner singled home Gregorius. And then the Red Sox walked Rodriguez, which also walked in Drew, before a they got a 3rd out of the inning on a pop up.

In the 8th, with a new pitcher on the mound, Young led off with a walk and Gregorius was hit by a pitch. That forced another pitching change without the Red Sox recording an out yet in that inning. Then Drew bunted into a force ground out to get Young at 3rd, but still left 2 runners on base. With another out recorded, Ellsbury singles, scoring Gregorius and bringing a close to the Yankee offense tonight.

The Red Sox’s 9th inning pitcher was easily their best of the night, in just 9 pitches he got 3 outs effectively ending the Yankees’ attempts to widen their lead.

Final score: 5-1 Yankees.

There is never a dull moment in the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry games. Tonight, someone pulled the fire alarm again (seriously, please stop doing that, it’s not funny or legal). And one lady took a foul ball straight to the face; while medics were making their way to the seats behind the Yankees’ dugout to help her, fans surrounding her literally gave up their shirts to help stop the bleeding and keep her conscious. She walked away with the medics of her own volition and received a scattering of applause from the crowd.

She’ll be okay, but to me, this was a great example of why the rivalry works. At that moment, it didn’t matter if she was a New York or Boston fan, right then, she was in need and people were more than willing to help. I’ve seen other “rivalries” where when someone gets hurt, the opposing fans just ignore or laugh and walk away from their pain in their own self-importance. But no, they stopped to help this woman because she needed help. Bravo, people! I am proud to part of this rivalry.

A big shout-out to my mom, who celebrated a big birthday today! If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you’ll know how much family means to me and have probably heard me mention time or two of our long line of family love for baseball. For that continuing to me, I entirely blame my mom. While I didn’t learn the mechanics of the game from her (that credit goes to a variety of sources), she certainly taught me how to be a fan, and a good fan at that. We hear so much about bad fans (annoying, rude, hurtful, whatever), but it’s the good fans that make the sport worth it. It’s the good fans that keep it fun. And it’s the good fans that pass on the legacy of love for the sport to the next generation.

So here’s a to truly good fan on a great birthday. Thanks for being my mom, Mom! And for being my fan since day one of every endeavor (like my whole life)!

Go Yankees!

{Media note: battles with hotel internet are the unsung pain of those of us blog posters. Media uplinks will be added when there isn’t terrible hotel wifi to deal with, and a return to a land of normalcy is once again the rule of the land. Forgive the medieval metaphors, but it’s been a long day already!}

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