Mission (nearly) Accomplished!…

 

The day brought several victories on the homefront…

 

Credit: Bill Kostroun/AP

 

The Yankees defeated the Boston Red Sox, 3-0, on Saturday behind the stellar pitching of CC Sabathia.  The game featured the potent formula that the Yankees hope will take them deep into October.

CC Sabathia + Phil Hughes + Mariano Rivera = Win, Hold, and Save!

CC was locked into a pitchers’ duel with Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Dice-K pitched masterfully on the day.  His only mistake was a pitch left out over the plate with Robinson Cano batting to lead off the 6th inning.  Cano took advantage of the opportunity, and gave the Yanks a 1-0 lead with his career high 24th home run of the season.  It would be the only run that CC needed.

 

Credit:  Bill Kostroun/AP 

 

It would have been the final score except for an error in the 8th inning by Red Sox third baseman Chris Woodward.  The Sox had speedster Brett Gardner caught in a rundown between third and home, but Woodward couldn’t handle a throw from catcher Victor Martinez.

 

Credit:  Bill Kostroun/AP

 

The play extended the inning and allowed Johnny Damon to bat after Derek Jeter struck out with the bases loaded.  Damon delivered a two-run single to raise the score to 3-0.

 

Credit:  Henny Ray Abrams/AP

 

I realize that Red Sox manager Terry Francona is playing for October, as evidenced by his starting lineup (possible future Yankees left fielder Jason Bay had the day off).  Nevertheless, Yankees manager Joe Girardi is clearly playing for the AL East Championship.  I am sure that once the Yanks clinch the division, we’ll see a lineup that includes Shelley Duncan, Juan Miranda, and Ramiro Pena, with Josh Towers on the mound.  For now, the Magic Number is 1 and the Yankees have a game to win.

 

 

Their next victory will be the 100th of the season.  Joe Girardi’s second season has been very successful, so far.  CC has played a huge role (no pun intended) in the team’s success.  I know Zack Greinke is being highly touted for the AL Cy Young Award, but the Kansas City Royals reside in the cellar of the AL Central.  Without Greinke, they’d still be among the AL’s worst teams.  Felix Hernandez has also pitched great this season, but the Mariners season will be coming to an end in about a week.  CC Sabathia, on the other hand, has the Yankees at the doorstep of the AL East Championship.  Without CC, it’s likely the AL East pennant chase would have been much closer or perhaps Boston would have been in the lead.  So, in my mind, CC has made a much greater difference on his team’s success than Greinke or King Felix.  Admittedly, the Cy Young is for individual accomplishment, but CC leads the AL with 19 wins and is fourth in ERA (3.21).  He hasn’t lost a game since late July and he has been the true definition of an ace for the Yankees.  I know that Greinke has an ERA of 2.08, with 229 strikeouts, but seriously, there’s more pressure pitching in the Bronx against the Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays than facing the Chicago White Sox in Kansas City.

 

Credit:  Bill Kostroun/AP

 

By taking the first two games of the latest series, the Yankees accomplished several objectives besides cutting the Magic Number to 1.  First, I am the winner of the latest wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants.  As her penalty for losing, Julia will once again grace us with a pro-Yankees blog entry.  She’ll post a list of Top 11 Yankees players, past or present (and can include managers).  The list will be in no certain order or ranking; she can simply choose 11 Yankees she feels have made a difference in the game.  I would like to see a mix of different eras, including the present, but it will be up to Julia to decide.  She will also be forced to wear a Yankees t-shirt in photographs near famous Boston landmarks.  The pink Yankees hat is optional.

 

 

I had a tough time trying to decide what t-shirt Julia should wear.  My initial thought was to go with the player I felt was most instrumental in the series win.  Despite CC’s great performance yesterday, the table was set on Friday night with the hitting (and stealing) show put on by Alex Rodriguez.  However, A-Rod has certain past indiscretions that made him an illogical choice.  I thought about Robinson Cano or CC, but I really wanted someone that represented the Yankees like no other.  With that in mind, the choice became clear.  “I’m Not A Headline Guy” is a tribute to Lou Gehrig so it is only right that Julia must wear a #4 jersey…

 

Lou Gehrig Yankees MLB Prostyle Player T-shirt

 

The second benefit of the Yankees victory is they have denied the Red Sox the opportunity to break champagne on Yankee Stadium soil.  If they had clinched the Wild Card slot while in the Bronx, they would have become the first team to break bubbly at the new stadium.  However, with two Sox losses and a win by the Texas Rangers yesterday, Boston’s Magic Number stands at 3, making it impossible to clinch on Sunday.  As a result, the Yankees are the only team with the chance to spill some champagne today so life is good…

 

Champagne.JPG

 

Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe wrote “Today might be a good day to employ the half-full theory.  Cover your eyes, let the Yankees celebrate, and think about October”.

 

Credit:  Henny Ray Abrams/AP

 

Yes, today is our day to celebrate.  It is time for the Yankees to put closure on the AL East Championship!  Tomorrow, we can join the RSN in thinking about October!

 

 

By the way, nice play by Boston’s Victor Martinez. 

 

Credit:  Henny Ray Abrams/AP

 

It’s the changing of the guard in Boston, as Jason Varitek makes his way to the exit door.  Tek has been a worthy opponent, and I am sure that we’ve not seen the last of #37 who is a future manager waiting to happen…

 

Credit:  Boston.com

 

Go Yankees!

 

Credit:  Simmons/Daily News

 

P.S.  Congratulations to the University of Iowa Hawkeyes for their 21-10 victory over the fifth-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday night.  The Hawkeyes upset Penn State last year, so the Nittany Lions were seeking revenge.  It was not meant to be as the unranked Hawks moved to 4-0 on the season.  As a lifetime Hawkeyes fan, success has been very fleeting so it’s always a great time when they can play with the big boys.  J

 

Credit:  Matthew Holst/Press Citizen

 

P.S.S.  Good luck to A.J. Burnett’s father, who undergoes surgery on Monday.  Bill Burnett will have triple-bypass surgery.  A.J.’s start was pushed back to Tuesday so that he could make the trip to Arkansas to be with his dad.  Best wishes for a successful surgery, followed by a speedy recovery!

 

Credit:  abcnews.com

6 Comments

Scott, that play by Victor really was top notch. heads up. fabulous. But… tsk tsk .. didn’t change nothin : )

Melky 24 bombs! Whoda thunk that at the beginning of the year? And Brett just wreaks havoc on the basepaths. This team is the complete package.

Buz – http://buzblog.mlblogs.com/

I’d vote for CC for the Cy Young even if I weren’t a Yankee fan. (Well, I think I would.) You make a great case for why he should get it. Fingers crossed for the clinch today.

- http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

I love the picture of Ellsbury, Pedroia and Papi!
So cute!
–Melissa
http://redsox46.mlblogs.com/

Very nice recap. And good luck to AJ’s Dad. I was lucky enough to see AJ pitch in person at Angels Stadium. The Dodgers magic number is one to win the Western NL. It is getting exciting.
http://catlovesthedodgers.mlblogs.com

Why do you think Hideki Okajima is a future manager? That is an interesting thought. ;)

Greg
Red Sox Ramblings: http://thevendahhh.mlblogs.com

Congrats on the win today Scott – Yankee fans like you have been waiting a long time for this. I “look forward” to receiving my shirt. ;-) In all seriousness – it will be an honor to wear a shirt from a Yankee who was not only a great player but also a great human being. And the Pink Hat will be out in “all it’s glory”! Ready for the next time our two teams meet?

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com

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