If the Yankees won the Saturday’s night cap despite the performance of their starting pitcher, they were inversely swept in Sunday’s split-double header despite the fine performances of their starters. Jaret Wright and Mike Mussina combined to hold the Red Sox to four runs on eleven hits over twelve innings, walking four and striking out nine. The bulk of the hits and strikeouts were Mussina’s, the bulk of the walks were Wrights, the runs and innings they split evenly.
In both cases the Yankees came up short due to shoddy relief pitching and Joe Torre’s ultimately wise decision to play these games as if the division had already been clinched. Torre did not run out his full starting line up in any of the four games this weekend, resting Posada in Saturday’s day game, Damon, Matsui and Cano in Saturday’s nightcap, Abreu, Giambi, Jeter and Posada in yesterday’s opener, and Damon, Rodriguez, and Matsui in the finale. As a result, the Yankee offense scuffled despite facing the likes of Kyle Snyder and Kevin Jarvis.
In yesterday’s day game, Nick Green and Sal Fasano went a combined 0 for 6 with three strikeouts. Indeed, it was Green and Fasano who made the first two outs of the fourth inning after Hideki Matsui, Aaron Guiel and Chris Wilson had loaded the bases to start the inning. That, plus a Johnny Damon strikeout for the third out, killed that rally and ultimately cost the Yankees the game. It also helps explain how Kyle Snyder was able to hold the Yankees to two runs over five innings while striking out seven.
Game one was tied 2-2 after six, when Joe Torre turned to Ron Villone. Things started innocently enough. Eric Hinske flied out on Villone’s first pitch. Villone then walked Doug Mirabelli on five pitches, but rallied to strike out Alex Gonzales for the second out, keeping pinch-runner Coco Crisp at first base. With Mark Loretta at the plate, hitting for rookie David Murphy, Villone appeared to pick Crisp off first base. Crisp, fooled by Villone’s move, took two quick steps toward second and Craig Wilson received the throw at first. Crisp then froze and, as Wilson charged down the baseline toward him, Crisp danced around him to the outfield side of the baseline and jogged back to the bag untagged. Wilson and Joe Torre argued that Crisp should have been called out for running out of the baseline, but rookie first base umpire Mike Estabrook and veteran crew chief Jerry Crawford, who was umpiring second, ruled Crisp safe and the inning continued.