Saturday, April 21, 2012

Red Sox implode as Yankees storm back 15-9


It was only an innocent solo homerun in the sixth inning of a Red Sox blowout. With the Boston Red Sox up 9-0 on the New York Yankees, and having chased Yanks starter Freddy Gracia out of the game in the second inning, Mark Teixiera's solo homer to make it 9-1 didn't seem to amount to much at the time.

I repeat: at the time. Little did anyone know that homer was the beginning of a Yankee barrage that would leave the Boston Red Sox and manager Bobby Valentine completely bewildered; the Bronx Bombers scored 14 unanswered runs in the seventh and eighth innings combined, stealing the game 15-9.

It all began to fall apart when Valentine inserted former Philadelphia Phillies flameout Vincente Padilla to pitch against the Bronx Bombers; I am sure that Valentine would love to have that decision back. Padilla gave up singles to Edwardo Nunez and Russell Martin, and walked Derek Jeter, loading up the bases for Nick Swisher.

Swisher, who has gotten off to a solid start this season, teed off on Padilla, belting a grand slam homer over the Green Monster in left to cut it to 9-5. Ironically, fans in New York didn't see the grand salami because Fox had turned away to Phil Humber's perfect game in Seattle for the Chicago White Sox. While Humber's feet was historical and deserved the attention, little did anyone know that the Yankees were about to make history of their own.

When Fox returned to the Yankees game, the Bombers had two on, the score was 9-5 and Padilla was out of the game. Then, Teixiera corked a second homer over the Monster to make it a one-run game, 9-8. With the Red Sox reeling, the Yankees continued the barrage in a 40 minute top of the eighth.

Nunez singled, and Jeter walked, before Swisher once again delivered, this time a two run double to give the Yankees a 10-9 advantage. After Robinson Cano and A-Rod  walked, Teixiera once again delivered, hitting a ground rule double to right to drive in two more to make it 12-9.

Finally, Russell Martin's two run double to center scored Teixeira and A-Rod to make it 14-9. Valentine came out of the dugout to remove Joe Thomas and was simultaneously serenaded with boos as he made the pitching change.  Valentine looked up to the crowd, grinned and tipped his cap as he walked back to the dugout; that's right, he tipped his cap! What is going on here, Bobby?!

The Red Sox totally wilted under the pressure, and now at 4-10, the noose around Valentine's neck is going to get awfully tight. The Red Sox face the prospects of a sweep at the hands of the Yankees with CC Sabathia pitching for the Bombers. Could Boston actually lose six straight home games?

And if they do, is it over for Bobby V? That is the biggest question surrounding this Boston team. How much longer will ownership take it; how much longer will Bobby stand it himself? Valentine has done himself little favor by acting like a fool since getting the job; in fact, most of his recent behavior is uncharacteristic of the guy who took the Mets to the World Series in 2000.

As for the Bronx Bombers, the win shields the Yankees from the obvious complaint that their pitching stinks. Once again Freddy Garcia was awful, but with the bad news that Michael Pinenda suffered a set back in his rehab, the Yankees can only remove one of their three woeful starters between Garcia, Phil Hughes and Hirioki Kuroda. Andy Pettitte will be back by mid-May, but it can't come fast enough for this Yankees team.

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