Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Win Is A Win

Japanese peace activist Daisaku Ikeda once said "The determination to win is the better part of winning." About the only positive thing I can say about Boston's wild 16-11 win over the Yankees yesterday afternoon is that they showed more determination to win than New York did. Because the rest of the game was pretty much a god-awful mess.

Yes, the Boston bats did erupt in an offensive frenzy and seven of nine starters got at least one hit (Drew and Green the exceptions). Yes, Varitek hit a grand-slam and Lowell drove in six runs. And Ellsbury went 2-4 with a homer. All well and good. But the Sox also hit into three more double-plays. Papi only got one hit (he is currently hitting .217). Right-field has become an issue for the Sox with JD Drew flashing a weak bat and Baldelli on the DL. And Pedroia had an unusually bad game, committing both an error in the field and a boneheaded base-running blunder in the sixth that killed a rally dead.

And the pitching...I don't think anyone expected both Burnett and Beckett to throw as poorly as they did. Both were pulled after five innings of work and gave up eight earned runs. If you watched them pitch you'd have been hard-pressed to believe the won a title in Florida in 2003. It's was ugly.

After Beckett was pulled, Delcarmen came out and tacked those final two runs onto Beckett's sheet. Then Okajima earned the win despite giving up the final Yankee run and boosting his ERA over seven. The only pitchers who could hold their heads semi-high were Ramirez and Papelbon. And Ramirez put guys on second and third before ending the eighth and Paps walked two guys. It was just an ugly, ugly game yesterday.

But...the Sox won because, right now, they have a determination to win that the Yankees do not have. As Aviv mentioned in his post, the Sox grind out those at-bats and get the clutch hit they need. For whatever reason, the Yankees can't seem to do the same thing. You can also toss in the fact that Boston's bullpen is better that New York's. The only pitcher I have seen come out of their pen that has been consistently good in this series is Phil Coke. And when your starters can't break six innings, that adds up to trouble.

So who knows what kind of game we will get tonight. It could be a taut extra-innings thriller or a slugfest. All I know for sure is that regardless of the result tonight, the Sox are guaranteed to have pushed the Yankees into third-place and taken second for themselves. And they are within striking distance of the Jays. A couple of more wins and a Toronto loss could see the Sox in first before May. And after their horrendous start, wouldn't that be a remarkable thing?

First Pitch Strikes

Is this even worth analyzing from yesterday's game? No.

Next Game

April 26 / Home against New York / Masterson vs. Pettitte / 8:05 PM


Unknown said...

I'll take a crisp 1-0 pitchers' duel over Saturday's slugfest. Hope we get it tonight.

Dave said...

Possible, but not likely. I'd settle for a Friday replay.