"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Gut Check

Julio Lugo lined Jeff Kartsen’s first pitch off the pitchers’ right leg yesterday bringing to mind the lyric, If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all. “You can’t print was going through my head and coming out of my mouth at the time that happened,” Yankee GM Brian Cashman said after the game (he also added, “0-7 feels like 0-14 in New York”). Kartsens threw five more pitches before giving up a single to Kevin Youkilis and was removed from the game. Turns out the kid has a fractured fibula.

So with no out and two runners on in the first, Kei Igawa entered to face David Ortiz. Not a promising site for the Yankees. But Igawa got Cookie Monster to hit into a double play and pitched into the seventh inning without allowing a run. Brian Bruney, Kyle Karnsworth and Mariano Rivera held the Sox to just one run the rest of the way as the Yanks pulled out tense, hard-earned 3-1 win. Bruney was excellent, Farnsworth not so much. He struck out Manny Ramirez looking, throwing nothing but sliders for strikes. Manny didn’t even take the bat off his shoulder. When is the last time you saw that? Coco Crisp was called out on strikes to end the eighth inning. He angrily threw his bat and helmet to the ground and was promptly tossed. Though home plate ump Bruce Froemming called wide strikes equally for both teams, it was hard to blame Crisp for being vexed. He didn’t have a chance to do anything with those “strikes.”

Jason Varitek got his third hit off of Mariano Rivera this season to start the ninth. But Rivera was helped out by a slick bare-handed play by Alex Rodriguez and held on for the save. After the game, Cliff e-mailed me, “Was that the tensest 9th inning you can remember in a long time or is it me?” He added that the win was “Huge in like 900 ways.”

Jorge Posada’s two-run homer proved to be the difference. If the Yanks can pull out a win today, it will be a huge relief for New York. If they lose, we’re back to fret-con-one.

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