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Wednesday Night’s Game: Half-Assed Running Commentary, Rivalry Edition!

With the Yankees and Red Sox playing a night game live on YES, I thought I’d do a running commentary on the game, at least until Becky switches over to the new episode of Lost.

The Yanks are hosting the Red Sox at home at Legends Field. As expected, the YES broadcast is non-stop Johnny Damon for the first 15 minutes. Nauseating. The one bit of “relief” is footage of Jorge Posada being hit in the face with a throw from Kelly Stinnett while playing catch during BP before the game (to bad they haven’t started BPTV yet, or whatever it’s called). Posada was distracted by another ball and Stinnett’s throw hit him in the nose, catching a bit of his left eye socket as well, knocking him down and bloodying his face. He was helped off the field in a daze and pulled from the line-up.

During a terrible version of the national anthem, the camera catches non-roster invitee Enrique Wilson in his Red Sox uniform. Hilarious.

Top 1

Here’s the Red Sox’s line-up:

Adam Stern CF
Alex Cora SS
J.T. Snow 1B
Manny Ramirez DH
Mike Lowell 3B
Wily Mo Pena RF
Dustin Mohr LF
Ken Huckaby C
Alejandro Machado 2B

Jonathan Papelbon P

Shawn Chacon is on the hill for the Yanks.

Stern steps in wearing a red jersey, looking like he’s still on team Canada. He singles through the right side on Chacon’s second pitch.

The defensive alignment shows Bernie in center with Damon, who was seen throwing during fielding drills before the game, as DH. Sigh. I imagine it would make Torre’s brain ache to write one of the Kevins in the line-up with the rest of his starters.

Stern takes second on Chacon’s second pitch to Cora, Stinnett’s throw is up and away to Jeter, thankfully missing his nose. Chacon makes Cora look bad on a slow 12-6 curve for the first out.

J.T. Snow is the first of three former Yankee minor leaguers in this line-up. Chacon gets ahead 0-2, wastes one high and away, then gets Snow swinging on a harder curve over the outside corner.

Manny forgot his uniform and is wearing number 95 with no name on the back (the rest of the Sox have their names on their jerseys). Manny’s look this spring is a homeless-man beard and light orange dreads. He works the count full and draws a walk on a fastball just barely low and away.

Mike Lowell, ex-Yankee farmhand #2, is next. Stinnett makes a nice stop on a pitch in the dirt away, 1-1, then again 2-1. Chacon’s fourth pitch to Lowell is popped straight up, Stinnett, who wears a regular cap rather than a helmet or nothing at all under his hockey-style mask, makes the catch with his left foot in the right-handed batter’s box.

Bottom 1

The Yankee line-up, sans Posada:

Damon DH
Jeter SS
Matsui LF
Sheffield RF
Rodriguez 3B
Giambi 1B
Williams CF
Cano 2B
Stinnett C

At least Torre bothered to move Stinnett down to ninth rather than just subbing him in Posada’s spot (the original lineup ended Posada-Cano-Williams).

The Sox are wearing caps with red bills and buttons with their red BP jerseys. Whatever. The Yanks are in their blue BP jerseys and pinstriped pants.

Damon shows bunt on Papelbon’s second pitch, fouls off a 2-2 pitch, then takes ball three to go full. He chops the seventh pitch to third, Lowell stops it but doesn’t field it cleanly, but still recovers to get Damon by a half-step.

Jeter falls into a quick 0-2 hole then works it back full. He then hits a half swing chopper to second and is thrown out easily.

Papelbon looks a bit like a younger Mike Timlin from the back. A big country boy (Timlin’s from Texas, Papelbon from Baton Rouge) with a large, square back and skinny legs that taper to the ankle.

Matsui draws a five-pitch walk. Sheffield hits a pitch high and over the plate to center for the final out.

Top 2

Wily Mo (ex-Yankee farmhand #3) sends his bat flying into the stands striking out on another tremendous Chacon curve.

Mohr swings about a half-hour early on a couple of change-ups for Chacon’s fourth strikeout of the game. Makes you think that if Chacon had a strong fastball to go with his curve and change he’d be unhittable. Unfortunately, that’s the one pitch you can’t teach.

Save for Stern’s lead-off single, the Sox have yet to hit the ball fair. As I type that, Huckaby laces a double down the third base line past Rodriguez for a double and makes a Willie Mays Hayes head-first slide into second, nearly stopping short of the bag as Jeter turns to apply the tag. A moment later, the YES camera’s catch Jeter rotating his left shoulder with Huckaby lurking to his left.

A grounder to second and a flip to Chacon ends the inning.

Bottom 2

Rodriguez makes a nice swing on the first pitch he sees, flying out to the warning track in right center. Jim Kaat argues for Ortiz’s 2005 MVP candidacy. Sigh.

Giambi puts a nice swing on a fastball up in his eyes and pops it to center.

Bernie then crushes a ball over the foul pole in left. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen Bernie hit a ball that hard or show that much bat speed. It would be a lot of fun if Bernie proves me wrong this season. 1-0 Yanks.

Cano grounds to second to end the inning.

Top 3

Cano bobbles a nice play to his left but stays with it to retire Stern. Cora pops to Jeter. After 2 2/3 innings, Chacon has thrown 68 percent of 41 pitches for strikes. Solid.

Bernie standing in center is clean shaven, hiding the grey in his beard. Having homered in the previous inning, he looks ten years younger.

Snow works a full-count walk.

Kay and Kaat are talking about how Enrique Wilson and Manny are best friends (though they fail to connect the dot back to their days as youngsters with the Indians—remember when Enrique was considered to have potential? Zoinks!) At any rate, the Sox are apparently dreading telling Manny that Enrique isn’t going to make the team. Pathetic.

Full-count fastball inside corner Ks Manny, who spins out of the way.

Bottom 3

Stinnett doubles. Damon goes 3-0 then singles through the hole into right to put runners on the corners with no outs. A grounder right to the third-base bag by Jeter catches Stinnett taking a step toward home. Lowell chases him down the line and makes the tag himself, holding Damon and Jeter to first and second. Mastui walks on four pitches to load the bases with one out for Sheffield. After 2 1/3, Papelbon has thrown 47 pitches and barely more strikes then balls.

How old is Roger Clemens? One of his closest friends is Al Nipper. Zoinks!

Sheff creams a line-drive foul. Then lifts a rainmaker sac fly to left and all three runners tag and advance, 2-0 Yanks.

Kaat misquotes Yogi: “You can see a lot by observing.” I’ve always enjoyed Kaat, but he’s either too rusty or too old right now.

Papelbon walks Rodriguez to reload the bases. Not a good night for the Sox’s best young pitcher. Giambi tops one to second. If anyone else was running it would have been close, but Giambi looks like he’s running in oatmeal on his way down to first. I may have stolen that simile from Steve Goldman. He can deal, I’m driving him (and Jay Jaffe) to Philly tomorrow (today for those reading this) for our Baseball Prospectus event at the Walnut Street Barnes & Nobel (plug!).

Top 4

Lowell hits one into the right-center gap, Bernie cuts it off, but with his momentum going away from second, his lollipop throw is too late to catch Lowell, who slides in for a double. Question is, we know Damon’s arm is no better, but would his wheels have made the difference there? The play was closer than I would have expected (though not so close that Jeter bothered making a tag).

Wily Mo cracks a two-run homer just as our new puppy pees in the living room. Pardon me for a moment . . .

Okay, 2-2 game, Machado is on with two outs. Stern doubles him home to make it 3-2. Cora grounds out to Giambi to end the inning.

On the penultimate pitch of the inning, Cora lines a hard foul down the right field line that bounces into the Yankee bullpen where Mike Mussina snags it showing off his gold-glove hands. Kaat must not have been looking and as the shot lingers on Mussina joking with catcher Ben Davis, who’s wearing Flaherty’s number 17, he remarks “as we see Mike Mussina holding a ball in the bullpen.” This is just not Kitty’s night.

Bottom 4

Bernie doubles into the RF gap, another nice swing. He shows his age running the bases, however, and makes an ugly slide trying to avoid the throw. He’s lucky he didn’t hurt himself. After all that effort he’s stranded.

Top 5

Brian Cashman joins Kaat and Kay in the booth after they inform us that the result of Posada’s pre-game accident was a fractured nasal passage that was reset at the hospital. Cashman says Posada will avoid the DL and at worst will miss a week. When last Posada’s nose was broken (by an Alfredo Amezaga throw in 2004) Posada missed just four games. Ah, but will it rob him of his power again? Cashman also tells us that Pavano threw 35 pitches in batting practice today and is projected to be activated in late April.

Bottom 5

Jeter leads off bottom of the fifth with a single. Lost comes on. Hey, it’s spring training.

[an hour later]

Top 9

With a 5-3 lead thanks to a two-run Luis Garcia homer (yes, this one), Kyle Farnsworth comes on to shut the door for the Yanks.

A group of kids can clearly be heard chanting “Let’s-Go-Red-Sox.”

Machado hits a grounder to Phillips, who flipips to Farnsworth for the first out (yes, I’ll be using that joke all year).

Adam Stern creams a hanger over the right field wall to make it 5-4. If Alex is watching this he’s cursing a blue streak over Farnsworth throwing junk with a two-run lead and no-one on. For what it’s worth, his fastball is coming in at 93 miles per hour. Now 95.

A comebacker hops right into Farnsworth’s glove for the second out.

Ian Bladergroen walks. The last out is a fly out to center. Yankees win, 5-4.

Subs: Andy Phillips 1B, Miguel Cairo 2B, Russ Johnson 3B, Omir Santos C, Luis Garcia RF, Bubba Crosby CF, Kevin Thompson LF, Kevin Reese DH, Felix Escalona PR

Pitchers: Shawn Chacon, Mariano Rivera, Mike Myers, Tanyon Sturtze, Kyle Farnsworth

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver