Well, if there is one thing I learned during the first outing of the Red Sox vs. Yankees, its that baseball players are human.
Mariano Rivera is not Superman. The Yankees have been very fortunate that they have had, without a doubt, the best closer that baseball has seen in recent years in Rivera. It has gotten to the point that when people see him coming through the doors, on his way to the mound, people have assumed he will always come out on top.
6-2 lead, 8th inning, why not take out Jason Giambi after his single, and put in a pinch runner. What at the time seemed like a minor decision by Torre at that time, became a choice with bad consequences, if you are a Yankee fan. I don't blame Joe... I probably would have done the same thing. Who knew the sox would take the lead 20 minutes later? And when Mike Meyers was unable to stop Big Papi, who else on earth would Torre have come in but Mariano Rivera? He was rested, and he is usually very, very good. It seemed like the best choice to make.
So, with 2 outs in the 9th, Kevin Thompson became the guy that HAD to get on base, instead of the Sox having to face Jason Giambi again. Giambi, I know who he is, he can be a Sox killer. But Kevin Thompson, who the heck is he?
Friday's game reminds us that when you are talking about Red Sox vs. Yankees, anything CAN and WILL happen.
Tito's decisions late in the game, on the other hand, paid off. That pitcher from the Far East certainly had good stuff. No, not the hyped-up, $100+ million dollar man. It was that other guy that played in Japan, the Hideki of the Red Sox, Hideki Okajima. Sox fans knew very little about this guy coming into the '07 season. Most people thought of him as just an extra guy to keep Dice-K company. No expectations. Wow, were we wrong.
And sure, April Rod did it again... not once but twice. 2 more homers. Both really good swings. AARRRGGGHHH! I will be honest with you, after the 1st half of the 8th, I too, thought the game was over.
When am I going to learn that it isn't over until Neil Diamond sings?
So next up for us this series is Josh Beckett. Currently 3-0. Hearing lots of good talk about his other pitches. No longer that one pitch pony from a year ago. I saw Beckett pitch at Yankee Stadium last year. The Fenway Faithful will remember that ugly outing. I'd like to forget it. It was a Monday night in early June (6/5/06). We lost 13-5, and Beckett got CREAMED. He was gone in the second inning. Giambi was only one of the guys who hit a 3 run homer before the end of the 2nd inning. Can't believe I spent hard earned cash to drive to NY and sit through that one. My Yankee fan friends at work had a field day at my expense after that one. I'd like to see some vindication for that ugly performance.
Good luck tonite boys. Josh, try using more than just the fastball, and you should do OK this time.