Phil Hughes had a bad night, giving up 7 runs in the first three innings of the game, and the Yankees never recovered. It should be noted that Hughes is battling the flu, and it was very cold at Fenway Park [not great baseball weather]. Never the less, this was the second consecutive poor pitching performance by Phil Hughes which may be cause for concern if Mr. Hughes continues to be ineffective in in his next few starts.
The numbers tell the story. In 2 innings pitched, Hughes gave up 6 hits, 7 runs [6 ER], he walked 3, had 3 strikeouts, and threw a very high amount of pitches, 65, in his brief outing. At (0-2), this is not the kind of pitching we expected from Hughes.
The Red Sox starter, Daisuke Matsuzaka, didn’t pitch much better. But, even though Dice-K struggled, he did manage to get through 5 innings. He threw 116 pitches, giving-up 5 hits, 4 ER, 6 walks, while only striking-out two batters. Matsuzaka is now 3-0.
Both teams had many opportunities to score more runs, as Boston left 16 runners on base, and the Yankees left even more stranded, 19. So, credit should be given to both bullpens for keeping the score down.
For the Yankees, Ohlendorf pitched 3 scoreless innings in relief; and, Hawkins pitched two innings without giving up a run. But, then Kyle Farnsworth was brought into pitch the bottom of the 8th, and gave up two hits, and one run. Again, the question must be raised: Why is Kyle Farnsworth still on this team? He has shown over and over, that he is not an effective pitcher. He continues to pitch very much the same as he did last year, which can only be described as TERRIBLE !!! As long as he is in the bullpen, there will always be a temptation to bring him into a game. Games and Wins are just “too valuable” to in trust to Mr. Farnsworth. The only saving grace is that this is the last year on Farnsworth’s contract, and surely, if he is not traded sometime during this season, he will not be re-signed by the Yankees for the 2009 season, and beyond. Hopefully, he does not cause too much more damage [in the games he does pitch in] during his remaining time here in New York. The best way to insure this, is to not bring Farnsworth into ANY close games, or ANY late-game, key situations. The Yankees are in a pennant race, and “EVERY GAME COUNTS” !!!
Some bright spots for the Yankees included…
Jason Giambi hitting his second homerun of the season, off of Sox reliever, Mike Timlin.
Jose Molina had a another great night, going 2-4, [including his 7th double of the season]. He also scored a run, and had an RBI. But, Jose was removed from the game in the 8th inning because of an injury [a pulled muscle] that happened earlier in the game as he slid into home, scoring his run. This caused Jorge Posada to move from DH to catcher in the game, and is a cause for concern by the Yankees, because Posada’s arm is still not healthy enough for him to catch [really, at all] for at least the next week or so. Another catcher will have to be brought in to take over the everyday catching duties.
Hideki Matsui had a good game, going 1-3 [Hideki’s first hit ever off his fellow Japanese countryman, Daisuke Matsuzaka], walking twice, and scoring a run. Matsui is hitting, .341, and is really swinging the bat very well. His hot hitting early in the season is sure to remove any doubt from the minds of “those” who wanted Matsui traded in the off-season. Hedeki is one of the best hitters in this All-Star Yankee lineup; and, a very important force and key factor as the Yankees strive to win their 27th World Championship in 2008.
And, Alberto Gonzalez continues to impress. He was 1-2, with a walk, and an RBI. Also, Gonzalez has proved to be a tremendous defensive shortstop. When Derek Jeter returns, the Yankees have to keep Alberto Gonzalez on the team. By his great play in the field, he has shown that he would be very capable of playing every infield position. This would make Wilson Betemit expendable; and, quite frankly, playing everyday at (AAA) SWB, might help Betemit find his game, and improve whatever is causing him to hit so poorly in the early part of the season. At this point, Alberto Gonzalez is much more valuable to the Yankees, then Wilson Betemit.
So it goes. Red Sox 8, Yankees 5.
Now that the first three games in the “Season Within A Season” are complete, the Red Sox lead the Yankees in the series, 2 games to 1. There are 15 games to go in the 2008 chapter of this great Baseball [and Sports] Rivalary. The next acts of this drama take place this week at Yankee Stadium, in the beautiful Bronx New York….
Game number 4: Wednesday, April 16th
Game number 5: Thursday, April 17th
It doesn’t get any better that this. Yankees vs. Red Sox !!! Championship Baseball all the time !!!