Game 87: NYY vs. BOS — When you don’t have pitching…

There’s an old debate in baseball as to what part of the team really determines a “winning team”. Is it good pitching, good hitting, good base running, good bullpen, good season schedule, or just good luck? I know it’s not just one aspect; the whole team has to be functioning with that almost innate individual talent simultaneously with the entire team’s collaborative efforts. And sometimes, even when you do everything right, you still lose because there’s almost always someone out there better than you.

The Yankees kicked off their night with Alex Rodriguez’s 1st inning, 2-out solo home run (like last night) into the Green Monster seats, giving the Yankees an early 1-0 lead (this would be the only time tonight they would lead the scoring). And to put the icing on the cake, on his way back to the dugout, Rodriguez handed a kid in the front row his batting gloves.

For the most part, I can’t say much for the pitching tonight, really on either side of the field at Fenway. The Yankees sent Ivan Nova in for the start in tonight’s game against the Red Sox. Nova went 86 pitches over his 6.2 innings, gave up 8 hits, 4 runs, no walks, and striking out just 3 batters, all in his 4th start this season. In the bottom of the 3rd, the lead-off batter singled, stole 2nd and ended up on 3rd on a throwing error, and then scored on a ground out; and the game was tied. And in the 4th, a 2-run home run gave the Red Sox the lead, something they never did relinquish tonight. The Yankees did gain back one run in the 6th when Jacoby Ellsbury hit a solo home run into the bullpen.

But the Red Sox seemed to know it was their night tonight. And onto the messy 7th inning, we went. After a strikeout, a single ended up on 2nd on a ground out, and it was time to go to the bullpen. Adam Warren came on for Nova, something that may not have been the best course of action in hindsight. Warren’s first batter hit a big RBI triple, then walked the next batter, before giving up an RBI single. With runners at 1st and 2nd and still just Nova’s outs on the board, it was time to shift to Shreve. Despite a walk to load the bases, Shreve got a big strikeout to end the inning and get out of the big jam. His lead-off batter in the 8th singled, so they turned to hard-throwing Mitchell to finish the game for the Yankees. Mitchell did so in 16 pitches, including a nice strikeout, hitting 97 mph on his fastball.

The Yankees got one more run back in the 8th. Ellsbury got a 2-out single and then scored on Brett Gardner’s RBI double. And much like Mitchell’s last inning for the Yankees, the Red Sox sent in their best pitcher for the 9th to keep the Yankees from rallying. Look, he’s really good; he’s probably one of the better closers in the game right now and has been for the last few years, playing a crucial role in the Red Sox championship in 2013.

Final score: 5-3 Red Sox.

So now the final series before the All-Star break is all tied up, which makes tomorrow’s game the ultimate rubber match — the rivalry, the series win, the final game before the break. It’s going to be interesting.

It’s time for Roster Moves… Rob Refsnyder made his MLB debut tonight, after being called up from AAA today. To make room, Cole Figueroa was sent back down, and Mason Williams to the 60-day DL. Refsnyder was the ideal choice to face the left-handed starters the Red Sox were sending to the mound tonight and tomorrow, and his consistent scouting reports from AAA confirmed his readiness for the shot in pinstripes (or rather away greys this weekend). And while he didn’t do anything offensively, he was rather in demand at 2nd base and showed off what was rather well-honed skills from his time in Scranton. That first MLB hit will come soon.

Go Yankees!

{Media note: still out of town, so no media links yet. Sorry!}

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