The start was pushed back 210 minutes. The team was facing a late-night flight. Some self-satisfaction had to have seeped in from winning the first two games of a three-game series in the Bronx. They’d be facing a top-shelf starting pitcher. No Pedroia. And an EARLY two-run deficit. Add it all up and last night’s contest, much like a Sunday-night affair in Detroit two weeks ago, had all the makings of a game that the Sox would dump in the mailbox.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the post office. Josh Beckett settled down. Josh Beckett threw up a bunch of zeros. Sports Illustrated columnist Jon Heyman put a jinx on the Yankees when he went gaga for CC. David Ortiz got another hit off a lefty. Nick Swisher fell down. Mike Cameron dialed back his clock six years and scalded a game-tying double. Jason Varitek kept things rolling. Jacoby Ellsbury continued to cause damage. Gonzo and Youkilis added some insurance. And David Ortiz gave David Robertson a lesson in “payback.”
When all the smoke had cleared, the Sox led the East by two games, Heyman had established himself as one of the sport’s best contra-indicators and the Sox had chalked up a win that will certainly be one of the regular season’s ten best.
Four weeks from now, last night will be remembered for two things. First, the “rally.” And second, the “beaning,” as in CC Sabathia’s decision to stick David Ortiz in the hip with a 97 MPH fastball. Yankee fans have long been clamoring for such justice and the mutts finally got their wish. That the pitch was more likely 94 (NY uses a super hot gun) and Ortiz smiled as he walked down to first probably left some wanting more but at this point, it would seem like the case on Ortiz is closed. And if the past is any indication, I would expect the cicadas to show up again before a Yankee hurler takes another shot at Ortiz.
While those will be the two lasting impressions from last night, I would like to shed light on a couple of things worth mentioning.
First, Josh Beckett was excellent once again. And importantly, he has now stuffed the Yankees three times and in each instance, CC was the opposing pitcher. “Three” is sufficient to establish a trend and at this point, it is safe to say that Beckett has put his recent troubles against the Yankees to rest. He had been dominant against the Bombers this season and that is certainly not something that anyone expected when the season started. Coming off two middling starts, it was nice to see Beckett snap back last night.
But it might have all gone for naught if Heyman hadn’t opened his big mouth at 12:30 last night. I say that because the Sox were floundering at the time, heading into the seventh, on the short end of a 2-0 score. But Heyman then tweeted:
Well, over the next fifteen minutes, the Sox reached the summit of Mount Sabbathia, planted their flag, destroyed CC’s line and left the big guy 0-3 against the Sox this season. No doubt, Heyman’s tweet came at the absolute intra-night high for CC’s stock and the pundit is now left owning a $69M extension that probably trades in the gray market for no more than $60. Nice trade Johnny Jizz! And by the way JJ, are you available in the future if the Sox need to mount a comeback against a Price or Ogando?
Having dispensed with that …. Just a few more thoughts on the Sox sweep of the Yanks this week.
- First off, that gun in NY is really frigging hot. You knew that was the case on Tuesday when Papelbon was ringing up 97s and Bard was clocking 100s but we saw a lot more of it last night with CC at 97 and Beckett at 96. Sorry Charlie, that gun just isn’t telling the truth.
- Michael Kay and Mike Francesca .. you guys embarrass yourself with your David Ortiz sob stories. I know it plays to the mutts on Staten island but guys, don’t you have any self-respect as “sports” fans? Or better yet … broadcasters?
- Jacoby Ellsbury was ridiculous this series. Two more weeks of this and he will be named an all-star.
- Wasn’t Robinson Cano supposed to have a batting title by now?
- And wasn’t Frank Cervelli supposed to be back in Trenton by now? On nights that he starts, he is in the conversation as the worst starter in the American League.
- The average AL OPS for a catcher is .679. The combined OPS of Varitek and Salty is now .688. Granted, a team like the Sox should probably aim for more outperformance than that but given where the Sox were in April, the black hole at catcher is now catching some light. And with Russ Martin sliding and now hurt, the Sox decision to place a few chips behind Salty is no longer looking that bad.
- Justin Chamberlain …… we’ll see you in 2013.