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Yanks Draw First Blood, but Colon’s Early Exit Curbs Some of the Enthusiasm

The Yankees entered the weekend series at Fenway Park hoping to finally earn a win against the Red Sox, but when Joe Girardi made a slow stroll to the mound in the fifth, it seemed like another loss to Boston was inevitable. With the bases loaded and Adrian Gonzalez coming to the plate, Girardi decided to lift Bartolo Colon and bring in the much maligned Boone Logan. The entire Yankees’ Universe held its breath, but three pitches later, it was time to exhale. After getting ahead with a fastball, Logan induced the MVP front runner into swinging through two sliders. The crisis was averted and the Yankees lived to fight another inning.

Perhaps inspired byLogan’s heroics, the Yankees immediately went on the attack against Jon Lester, who entered the sixth inning having allowed only two walks and two hits. Four batters into the inning, however, the Yankees not only had a run, but a bases loaded threat of their own. With the game in the balance, Lester and Robinson Cano engaged in a classic confrontation, and on the ninth pitch, the Red Sox lefty got the double play he needed. Despite tying the game, Cano’s twin killing was a big let down, but before the disappointment could sink in, Nick Swisher lined an RBI double down the left field line that put the Yankees on top 3-2

Over the final four innings of the game, five Yankees’ relievers combined to shutdown the Boston lineup on only two hits. Included in the effort was a clean frame from Rafael Soriano, the third 1-2-3 inning recorded by the enigmatic reliever since returning from the disabled list. How significant was Soriano’s seventh inning performance? Before retiring the Red Sox in order, the right hander had only registered one clean frame in a game in which the Yankees didn’t have a 10-run lead…and it came on Opening Day.

Although the bullpen’s well rounded contribution was certainly a positive, the Yankees were probably hoping they wouldn’t have to use so much of it. Having C.C. Sabathia on the mound tomorrow mitigates some of the concern about a having a depleted relief corps, but the bigger disappointment revolves around Colon. Come October, the Yankees will need the rejuvenated right hander to pull his weight, but after tonight’s abbreviated start against Boston, the lingering questions about his playoff viability will likely persist.

Because both teams enjoy a comfortable lead over the other American League wild card contenders, the focus of this weekend series has been more about determining if the Yankees can beat the Red Sox than who will win the division. By drawing first blood, the Yankees made progress toward both ends, but messages aren’t sent in one game. That’s what the next eight are for.


1 Just Fair   ~  Aug 6, 2011 12:46 am

GIven Boston's offensive prowess, Colon gutted his way through this one. He didn't have his best stuff and ran up a high pitch count for 4 2/3. 2 runs to the bad guys on a 2 out Ellsbury double and 2 out Papi homer. Not too bad. Soriano, Robertson, and Mo threw 11,11, and 14 pitches respectively so the pen is in fine shape no matter what CC does. Which is a 9 inning shutout obviously. ; )
Good brouhaha in the Phils-Giants game tonight. Victorino is a punk.

2 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Aug 6, 2011 1:12 am

Hey, someone linked a cleaner version of this awhile ago..

Mad respect for Graeme Lloyd & Strawberry!

3 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Aug 6, 2011 1:17 am

[1] Looks like the Giants hit him for no reason though..

4 Just Fair   ~  Aug 6, 2011 1:21 am

[2] Now that's one of my favorites. It fires me up every time. Young Jetes and the gang.
Don't know the entire back story of tonight's dance party, but the Giants catcher was definitely hopping around looking to sucker someone. It was the damn home plate ump that was trying to hold Victor back and was eventrually shoved out of the way. Supsension are afoot.

5 monkeypants   ~  Aug 6, 2011 2:20 am

[0] Although the bullpen’s well rounded contribution was certainly a positive, the Yankees were probably hoping they wouldn’t have to use so much of it.

Of course, one wonders if Girardi really had to mix and match with so many relievers, which now will only justify the team's present somewhat silly roster construction.

6 Boatzilla   ~  Aug 6, 2011 3:51 am

[5] Wait up. All of his moves worked fantastically. The glass is half full, dude. That was satisfying well-managed win.

7 monkeypants   ~  Aug 6, 2011 7:02 am

[6] The glass is half full. That doesn't mean that, say, Wade could not have been used for four outs instead of one, thus saving Soriano or Robertson, and lessening the necessity of using Hughes out of the BP on Sunday, which in turn justifies the six man rotation and 13 man pitching staff. So, glass half full = self fulfilling prophecy!

That being said, I for one look forward to Hughes inevitable conversion to the sixth inning guy.

8 monkeypants   ~  Aug 6, 2011 7:06 am

[6][7] Now, having complained about what I see as strategic and tactical errors, I have to give credit too. I would not have pulled Colon after he gave up a few seeing-eye hits, and I certainly would not have gone to Logan. But that worked out well. Hats off to the Chessmaster™ for the tactical decision!

9 Sliced Bread   ~  Aug 6, 2011 8:16 am

[8]I wouldn't have automatically gone to Logan either, but Colon was making me nervous. It wasn't the seeing-eye hits either. Ellsbury and Ortiz had hit him very hard in previous innings, and with Gonzalez coming up the Fenway fences seemed only 100 feet away.
Gonzalez's OPS vs lefties this year .743, vs right handers 1.088. The good book says go lefty against him there. Bold but sensible call by Joe, and great execution by Logan.

Plus, remember the name Boone has been known to demonstrate heroic feats at Fenway from time to time.

10 Yankee Mama   ~  Aug 6, 2011 8:26 am

[2] Very entertaining trip down memory lane.

That Boston line-up is like a minefield. Jeez. I'll take the win anyway we get it. Although the Yanks are much improved, it wasn't too long ago that we couldn't find a way to beat them.

If Gonzales hit a grand slam, Girardi would've been chided (the less polite version). As it is, he was, dare I say, fortunate (smart?).

11 Sliced Bread   ~  Aug 6, 2011 8:35 am

[2] yeah, Straw was the man, and you don't fuck with the '98 Yankees.

That was back when the Orioles were relevant, too. Remember THAT?

12 RIYank   ~  Aug 6, 2011 8:55 am

I thought that Boone/A-Gon moment must have been the highest leverage point of the game, but it wasn't not even close. All the highest leverage ABs belonged to Mariano. So you can't complain about that! (On our side, it was Rob's DP and Swisher's double.)

Fangraph here.

13 Raf   ~  Aug 6, 2011 9:03 am

[2] Brosius always cracks me up in that video. He's part of the crowd bum rushing Benitez, but once they go one on one (around the 0:25 mark), he's not sure what to do.

I give props to Girardi for pulling Colon when he did. I second guessed him going to Logan, but I'm glad that he was able to execute.

14 rbj   ~  Aug 6, 2011 9:29 am

I'll take an ugly win over a pretty loss. Especially one that puts the Yankees in first.

15 ed   ~  Aug 6, 2011 10:15 am

I don't see any need to get any more worried about Colon after this start. If he'd stayed in to face Gonzalez and gotten him, no one would be fretting.

It was a below-average outing, yes, but 2 runs in 4 2/3 against a killer lineup like Boston is not a disaster. Every pitcher has a few outings like that. Worry about him because he's 38 years old, a serius injury risk, and because, until 2011, he hadn't pitched well in years. But not because of this start.

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