With the Red Sox closing out their regular season home schedule against the Yankees last night, we’re looking back at each and every matchup so far this season. In case you missed it, the Red Sox lead the season series 11 – 4 with a month left to play. Its easy to forget these teams had some big games early in the year, including three games Beckett won against Sabathia, the “Posada needs a day” incident, the brouhaha over Ortiz flipping his bat and the ensuing plunking as well as Youkilis taking Chamberlain deep the one time he decided not to hit him.
Here’s a quick recap of the 15 games the Sox and Yanks have played this year.
“Stop the Bleeding”
Friday, April 8
Its easy to forget the atrocious start of the season, but entering the Red Sox first series against the Yankees the team was 0-6 and the much-vaulted offense was flailing worse than the Sweet Dee dance on Always Sunny. The 100th Fenway home opener would become one of the biggest wins of the early season, as the 9-6 victory over the Yanks on April 8 put and end to the six game loosing streak, the longest for the Sox since opening 0-8 in 1945. Lackey would foreshadow his 2011 season, giving up six runs in five innings, however he still took the win. The Red Sox handed Bartolo “Calzone” Colon his first loss of the season while Papelbon notched his first save.
Pedroia got the offense started with a solo shot in the first inning, and the Sox chased Phil Hughes after just two innings. Saltalamacchia got one of his bigger hits of the early season, breaking the tie with a double in the fifth. The game also marked the seventh straight home opener the Red Sox have won.
Saturday, April 9
The second Sox Yanks matchup saw New York even the season series with a 9-4 win as Russell Martin, batting ninth, had two home runs and 4 RBI. Martin also seemed to take some pleasure in showing the Sox, who looked at bringing him in during the off-season, that he was healthy. “The Red Sox, I think they were a little iffy with the injuries that I had and they weren’t too sure,” Martin said after the game. Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano also homed.
Buchholz took the loss, giving up five runs on eight hits in just 3 2/3 innings. In his post-game interview he seemed to blame his poor outing on the fact he had to throw strikes: “I got deep into a couple of counts with a couple of guys and I had to throw strikes. I didn’t want to walk everybody. They put the bat on the ball in a couple of situations.” Pedroia again went 3-3, this time all doubles
“Beckett Sabathia I”
Sunday, April 10
With the Red Sox facing as much as a must win game as you’ll see nine games into the season, the last game of the first series saw the first of three heavyweight bouts between Beckett and Sabathia. Featuring two of the biggest names in baseball, this was among the most sough-after Red Sox ticket of the season. Beckett rose to the occasion on Sunday Night Baseball, shutting out the Yankees over 8 innings, striking out 10, and, perhaps most impressively, only two of the hits he allowed made it to the outfield. The game also marked the first time he struck out 10 or more since July of ’09. 10 strikeouts is also the most Beckett has had against the Yankees. The Sox handed Sabathia his first loss of the season. Pedroia got on base all five times he was at the plate. The win gave the Red Sox the first series win of the season, but perhaps just as important, Mark Teixeira was 0 – 12 in the series. After the game Buchholz’s contract was extended through 2015, with club options in 2016 and 2017.
“Friday the 13th”
Friday, May 13
The first Sox game in the Bronx coincided with Friday the 13th, and the revenge Youkilis extracted on Joba is right under what Jason Vorhees and his mom took on Camp Crystal Lake. After using Youk as his personal catcher on so many occasions, Joba miraculously decided to pitch to Youk rather than at him. Joba launched a 98 mph fastball right down the plate, which Youk proceeded to blast over the right field scoreboard for two runs. Youk also took the opportunity for a backhanded compliment to Yankee Stadium. “I was very fortunate we’re not playing at Fenway Park and are in Yankee Stadium … That’s the good thing being here. The ball goes out to right field where it’s an out probably at Fenway Park, how deep it is.”
“I knew it wasn’t a good pitch as soon as I let it go,” said Chamberlain.
Youk takes Joba deep:
The first sellout at Yankee Stadium since opening day, the win brought the Sox within five games of then-division leading Rays and dropped NY two behind the Rays. This game caused quite a stir and if you had MLB gameday tickets for this one you have quite a story to tell. The game marked Buchholz’s third consecutive win, he gave up two runs and five hits in six plus innings, striking out seven with one walk. Gonzalez’s fourth homer in three games landed in the second deck. The Sox handed Colon his second loss, both at the hands of Boston. He lasted seven innings and threw 103 pitchers, giving up three runs, two earned, along with five hits and three walks. Yankees went 1-9 with runners on base and 0-3 with runners in scoring position.
“He just needs a day”
Saturday, May 14
The Georgie “just needs a day” game, the highest attended game at the Stadium to date, featured a sulking Posada who asked out of the game after being dropped to ninth in the order. As you may recall, Posada, batting .165 at the time, asked out of the lineup after he was slotted to bat ninth in Girardi’s original lineup.
While the Yankees were mum on the subject, other than the infamous “he just needs a day” comment, Big Papi wasn’t shy about letting us know how he feels: “Want me to tell you what I think? [The Yankees are] doing that guy wrong … You know why? Because that guy is legendary.”
Beckett again shut out the Yanks, giving up four singles and two walks and striking out nine in six innings. Beckett got of to an wobbly start, giving up singles to the first two batters, but he buckled down and retired Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano in order.
Gonzalez homered for the fourth consecutive game in the seventh, chasing Sabathia. For those keeping track at home, the home run also marked Gonzo’s first extra-base hit against a lefty as a member of the Red Sox. Joe Girardi was so upset about the home run he complained to umpire Mike Winters and got tossed. It was never made clear exactly why Joe had words with the ump, however he failed to fire up the team, who didn’t score the rest of the way. The game saw Teixeira break a string of 30 straight at bats without a hit with a single in the eight.
Sun, May 15
The game capping the series sweep saw the Red Sox get to .500 for the first time in 2011. Prior to the game, Posada apologized to Girardi and Cashman and called the Saturday’s nonsense a “bad day”. Even though Posada was in the dugout, the fans called out his name during “roll call” and Posada played along with the idiocy by waving from the dugout. Posada was used as a pinch hitter in the eight and got a standing ovation, going on to walk against Bard, who retired the following three batters. Lester got the win while Garcia the loss. Yankees had a 4-1 lead early, but Sox chipped away.
- A-Rod letting a a ball roll between his legs in the seventh, a costly error that let the Sox take a 6-4 lead. “I don’t know what the numbers say but we’ve almost made an error per game here over the last 15 games … We’ve hurt ourselves over and over again with the glove and tonight was an example of me not making a very routine play.” (NY had made 13 errors in 10 games)
- In the bottom of the inning Carl Crawford had an error of his own off an A-Rod double, allowing the Yanks to score Granderson and get the game within a run, however it was not enough
- With a strikeout against Bard with runners at first and second, Nick Swisher moved to 0-17 with runners in scoring position.
- Yankees got five losses in a row, and dropped nine of 12
- A three-run homer from Youk
- Ortiz had the go-ahead hit
- Salty got first homer of the year
- Papelbon got the fans at Yankee Stadium even more riled up than usual, stopping to tie his shoes twice en route to a perfect ninth, good for his seventh save of the year
- And last but not least, the series sweep at NY was the first in the Bronx since April of 2004
“Fastest to 200 saves / Papi’s not being nice”
Tuesday, June 7
The Sox entered the game winning 17 of 23 since their last appearance in the Bronx. Lester got the win and improved to 8-2, giving up three runs and eight hits in six innings.
Garcia got the loss, getting the boot after just 1 2/3 innings. Ellsbury led of the game with a homer, and Gonzalez hit an RBI triple two batters later. Papelbon got save #200 in his 359 appearance, breaking the record for fewest number of appearances to reach the milestone, Mariano Rivera held the previous record with 382. Teixeira left the game with a bruised knee after getting hit by Lester in the first and falling to the ground, writhing around in agony “It’s tough to hit a guy like that and see him kind of go off the field not feeling too good,” Lester said. “To be able to get back up on the mound and throw strikes was key.” The long-lost Bobby Jenks pitched just four pitches in the seventh due to tightness in his back, while Bard pitched a perfect eight.
Girardi got his panties in a bunch when Ortiz flipped his bat after hitting a two-run homer after being brushed back of rookie reliever Hector Noesi to take a 6-1 lead. “Yeah, I didn’t really care for it,” Girardi said of Ortiz’s flip.
“That’s Papi style,” Ortiz said.
Big Papi takes Noesi deep:
“[Expletive] that [expletive], man.”
Wednesday, June 8
Wake got the win, Burnett the loss and the 11-6 win gave gave the Sox sole possession of first place in the East. The loss took Burnett to 0-4 in 8 starts with a 8.71 ERA against the Sox as a Yankee. The Sox had three home runs, one from Ortiz. When asked what he hit, Ortiz replied “A Bomb”
After Girardi made a big deal about the bat flip in the previous game, Ortiz was more subdued after his home run in the first. Asked why, he responded “I don’t want to be on national news tomorrow … I don’t want to have you guys asking me the same questions. I got almost 370 bombs in the big leagues and everybody wants to make a big deal because I bat flip one of them. [Expletive] that [expletive], man. If I have to make that video on my [expletive], let’s see how many bat flips I got on this [expletive]. Good night.”
Ex-Yankee Alfredo Alceves took the game from Wake in the sixth and pitched the rest of the game, earning his first save of the season. New York loaded the bases in the sixth, but Aceves got Jeter to end the inning by hitting into a double play. Pedroia sat with a sore right knee and Crawford continued to put his horrible April behind him, with two hits and a home run
“Ortiz gets hit / 1:43 a.m. / Beckett Sabathia III”
Thursday, June 9
The second series sweep at Yankee Stadium of the year, the rain delayed the game started at 10:30 p.m. and didn’t end until 1:43 am Monday. It was the third time this year Beckett stared down CC and the Yankees and emerged victorious. But what we all remember from this game, at least those of us who stayed up, is that Big Papi finally got hit by the Yankees after the fact that he hadn’t been hit by the Yankees since the 2003 ALCS was a running part of media coverage. (BTW ARod had been hit 14 times in that span).
Ortiz got hit in the third inning, eliciting chants of “CC! CC!” from the stadium. “The ball just got away from me,” Sabathia said about hitting Ortiz.
When Sabathia returned to the dugout following the inning, his teammates congratulated him with fist bumps, high fives, back slaps and ass pats. “Jeter always gives me a pound after every inning,” explained the lefty.
The bleacher creatures wouldn’t be cheering in the seventh though, when Ortiz started the inning with a single and Boston went on to bat around, capped by Ortiz batting again in the inning and hitting a two run double to complete the rally. You might recall this game was followed by one of the angriest press conferences ever from Ortiz, which included plenty of cursing at the press for playing up the fact that he hadn’t been hit in by the Yanks in more than five years. We couldn’t find any video or reports about Ortiz’s actual words, but you might recall his conference featured plenty of profanity aimed at the media, who Ortiz thought egged on the Yankees.
Francona didn’t seem to mind the outburst, saying “He feels good about himself, and he should.”
Beckett had already hit both Jeter and ARod, almost daring the Yankees to throw at Ortiz. The Sox outscored NY 25-13 in the three-game sweep. The last time the Red Sox won the first five games at the Bronx was in 1912, whey they went on to win the World Series.
“It’s not how you wanted it to end tonight, it did and you’ve got to move on,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
“Yanks Retake First Place”
Friday, August 5
Even though the Red Sox chased Colon in the fifth, the Red Sox couldn’t get much going against the bullpen, as five New York relievers combined to throw 4 1/3 shutout innings. The Sox were able to load the bases for Adrian Gonzalez, but with two outs, Girardi pulled Colon and went with lefty Boone Logan, who proceeded to strike Gonzo out. Red Sox runs came off an Ellsbury RBI double in the third and a Big Papi homer in the fourth. The game gave the Yankees eight wins in a row and put them in sole possession of first place in the division. Josh Reddick got the final out of the game against Rivera.
“Six RBI for Ells / Bogey abstains”
Saturday, August 6
A career-high six RBI for Ellsbury, who had a three-run homer, and four hits from Crawford helped Boston win this game 10-4. Ellsbury became the first Sox leadoff hitter to have 6 RBI since Ellis Burks had seven against the Orioles in June of 1987. Lackey went six innings, giving up three runs, walking four, two on hit batters, but struck out five en route to his fifth consecutive win. Sabathia also went six innings but allowed seven runs, giving up nine hits and a walk with six strikeouts. The game marked the first time in 11 starts CC didn’t make it to the seventh inning.
The newly-acquired Mike Aviles broke a 2-2 tie in the fourth with a single after Youk led off the fourth with a double. Crawford and Scutaro would both single, setting the stage for Ellsbury to blast a high fly into the 380-foot marker of the right-field seats.
The other highlight you saw on ESPN featured a beer vendor’s tray falling onto the field, sending cans of beer onto the dirt next to the Yankee dugout. “I’m just glad Bogie didn’t grab one and start drinking it,” joked Francona.
Sunday, August 7
3-2 win in ten innings
The Red Sox retook the division lead and Josh Reddick walked off in tenth on the last game of the series. The win also clinched a season series win for the Sox for the first time since 2004. Also reminiscent of 2004, the Red Sox had to come from behind against Mariano Rivera in the ninth. Scutaro led off the ninth with his fourth hit of the game, a double, moved to third on a sac bunt from Ellsbury and scored on a sac fly from Pedroia, sending the game to extra-innings. Bard pitched a perfect ninth, striking out Teixeira and Swisher and getting Cano to ground out to send.
After Youk flied out to center to start the tenth, Ortiz lined a double off Hughes and was replaced by pinch-runner Darnell McDonald. Crawford, who had three hits, was walked intentionally, setting the stage for Reddick to get his first MLB walk-off. He swung at the first pitch he saw and sent it deep to the corner in left.
“Sabathia gets a W”
Tuesday, August 30
Among one of the biggest wins of the season for Sabathia, the big lug finally got that long-sought win against the Sox after coming up short the previous five attempts. And Lackey got his 10th loss of the season, bringing him within two losses of a .500 winning percentage. Sabathia set his season record for pitches at 128, lasting six innings and striking out 10. Lackey did what Lackey does, allowing five runs with seven hits and with three strikeouts.
What all the talking heads concentrated on the fact that Francisco Cervelli clapped his hands after crossing home plate following a home run, followed by Lackey hitting him in the back his next time up. Benches “cleared” following the throw, but both teams were sluggish getting out of the dugout- Pedro Zimmer II it was not.
The Sox had their chances with 13 hits, but a combined 12 stranded runners from Salty and Gonzo didn’t help the cause.
“Beckett grinds it out”
Wednesday, August 31
The second game of the series saw Josh Beckett take the mound after owning the Yanks so far this season. The Sox had won all five games he started against New York, and Wednesday’s game made it six. However the dominant Beckett of previous starts was not present, and Beckett had to work a bit harder than in previous games. He hit a rough patch in the sixth, allowing four runs, but the team was able to pick him up. Ellsbury had a go ahead two-run homer, with Ortiz and Captain ‘Tech adding two-run shots. Phil Hughes got the loss, going 5.2 innings with eight hits, six earned runs and four strikeouts.
“Gonzo Caught Looking”
Thursday, September 1
The last series at Fenway came down to a rubber match, with the Red Sox coming up short despite loading the bases in the bottom of the ninth down two runs. The biggest play of the game was Mariano Rivera getting Gonzalez to watch an iffy strike call off the right-side of the plate to end the game with the bases juiced.
Burnett didn’t shit the bed, and post-game spin credited a change in the position of his hands when starting the windup. “I’ve only really been working on that for three days. I’ve been pitching the same way for 11 years so it’s a big change, but as the game went on I felt more comfortable,” said AJ.
The Sox had the lead but Alfredo Aceves and Bard couldn’t hang on, allowing the Yankees to score three times in the seventh. Aceves also cause Teixeira to leave the game after hitting him behind the knee. Pedey had a two run shot for 18 this season, the most he’s had in one season. Despite having to work hard, Lester only allowed one run, however he threw 114 pitches over five innings, including 43 in the first.
So the Sox hold a half game lead entering September, and while there will be some pressure to win the division, the truth is that both teams will more than likely make the playoffs. And as the Sox and Yanks represent the two best teams during the regular season, there’s a good chance these teams will face off again for a good old fashioned Yanks Sox ALCS, the likes of which we haven’t seen since that fateful October in 2004. The last series of the year is the penultimate of the season for the Sox and takes place in New York from Friday September 23 through Saturday the 25th. By then Francona and Girardi will likely be lining up their staffs for a run at the Series, but it could have some implications for the playoffs.