Saturday, April 21, 2007

Sox Win a Thrillah...

Just back from a week spent in the Sunshine State, and the Red Sox - a bad call on Dice-K in Toronto aside - haven't skipped a beat. They took 2 of 3 from the Blue Jays after the Jays inexplicably removed ace Roy Halladay, and last night Jason Varitek and the Sox gave A-Rod and the Yanks a full facial, winning a come-from-behind thriller after NY had built a 6-2 lead and turned the game over to Mariano Rivera.

The Sox were clad in green hats and shirts last night in what seemed like another shameless 'event' dreamt up by Dr. Charles -- until Don-O and RemDawg told us it was Celtics/Red Auerbach night at the ballyard. The Cooz was in the booth during the game, telling stories about 'Ahnold' and the old days. Love the Cooz. And Wick Wobey gwabs the weeebound.

Anyway, starting pitcher-wise, last night's matchup between Curt Schilling and Andy Pettite was the marquee matchup of the series. The big story on both sides was the blistering start Alex Rodriguez is off to. A-Rod had hit 10 homers coming in, including two walk-offs. He hit his 11th in the top of the 4th to give the Yanks a 2-0 lead, and then Varitek hit an opposite-field two-run homer off Pettite to tie it up in the bottom of the inning. An inning later, the en fuego A-Rod hit a three-run homer off Schilling (with Crisp falling over the wall in an attempt to make the catch) to give the Bombers what seemed like a commanding 5-2 lead. But the Yanks bullpen couldn't get it done. Singles by Mike Lowell and Varitek made it 6-4, and then Coco Crisp had a huge triple to tie it up at 6-6. Alex Cora then delivered a single over Pretty Boy's head for a 7-6 lead. Since Papelbon had pitched the night before, Francona went with lefty Hideki Okajima to get the last three outs.

All in all, a very satisfying win in what was a great game to watch. The Yanks could have used a W as they send youngster Jeff Karstens to the mound today against Josh Beckett, which seems like a mismatch on paper. Tomorrow night, it's Dice-K vs. Chase Wright on national TV (Joe Morgan Alert! Joe Morgan Alert!!).

The Sox are currently in first place with a 10-5 record, and the Yanks are in second at 9-7. I've said it before and I'll say it again -- now is the time to hit the Yankees while they're down. They don't have Wang. They don't have Mussina. The Sox have a huge pitching edge right now and need to fully exploit it. On the other hand, the Yanks have the hottest hitter on the planet right now who's singlehandedly keeping them afloat.

Gametime today is 4:00 p.m. on Fox.

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