Leaving New York … Happy?

Before the series, both teams had definite things they wanted to do. The Yankees wanted to sweep, the Red Sox wanted to sweep. What was acceptable for both teams were the Yankees taking two and the Red Sox taking one. It is not every day you see both teams in this situation leaving a series happy, but that’s just what happened.
For the Yankees, they avoided losing ground and were able to gain ground. That’s where they’re happy the most. They got strong performances from Aaron Small and Randy Johnson. Now they can be reasonably confident in Aaron Small going down the stretch and believe that Randy Johnson has turned a corner as well. Johnson now has a 3.91 ERA after checking in at a 4.34 ERA after August 21st. He has given up four earned runs in 28.1 innings since he allowed back-to-back-to-back homeruns against Chicago on the 21st.
The Red Sox also certainly have to be pleased with what transpired. Don’t get me wrong, it would have been nice to sweep or take two of three, but what transpired this series really helped us.
TODAY: Wakefield, 8 IP 1 ER
YESTERDAY: Schilling, 8 IP, 2 ER
the 9th: Wells, 5.2 IP 5 ER
the 8th: Clement, 6.2 IP, 3 ER
the 7th: Arroyo, 8 IP, 3 ER
the 6th: Wakefield, 9 IP, 2 ER
the 5th: Schilling, 5.2 IP, 4 ER
the 4th: Wells, 9 IP, 1 ER
In the last eight games, we have gotten five great performances, and only one bad performance. Our starting pitching is starting to come around, and at the right time. Our bullpen is recieving tremendous rest, and as a whole, our pitching is simply clicking. It only took all year, but it’s clicking.
Tim Wakefield was the hard-luck loser today, allowing only three hits and striking 12 out. One of the hits was to a known steroid user, and a cheapie at that. Out on your front foot looking fooled and you just barely hook it over the 314′ foul pole in right. Kind of leaves a bitter taste in your mouth, but what are you going to do?
We had a very ugly game Friday, but we were able to come back strong yesterday and played good ball today. We simply couldn’t score today. We had chances, but we couldn’t do it. These games happen, plain and simple. Our offense is not the problem (last eight games runs scored: 5, 3, 3, 6, 0, 4, 9, 0), so bemoan the 1-0 loss as a fluke, not as the accepted norm, because our offense will not be shutout often. Rejoice in our pitching, defense, or our lack of mental errors.
I’m treating this 1-0 game as a win, because it was excellent, and we simply need not worry about this offense. Bottom line. It may not count as a win, but I can say that Francona and the front office are quite pleased with what transpired this series.
The Yankees are still three games back. We may still be aware of the Yankees, but I can’t say we’re looking over our shoulders – neither should we be, either. We need to focus on each game and win as much as possible – the rest is up to the Yankees. With the Yankees headed to the “accursed” Devil Rays tomorrow, the Red Sox follow suit to Toronto. Toronto has bedeviled us all year, as have the Devil Rays for the Yankees.
We will send Bronson Arroyo, Matt Clement, and David Wells to the mound in Toronto, and then a four-game jaunt begins, hosting Oakland. We’ll tune up against Ted Lilly (8-10, 5.65), Scott Downs (2-3, 4.19), and Josh Towers (11-10, 3.88).
LILLY 2005 v. RED SOX: 2-0, 17.2 IP, 1.53 ERA
LILLY CAREER v. RED SOX: 3-3, 76.1 IP, 3.77 ERA
DOWNS 2005 v. RED SOX: 0-0, 3.2 IP, 4.91 ERA
DOWNS CAREER v. RED SOX: same as above
TOWERS 2005 v. RED SOX: n/a
TOWERS CAREER v. RED SOX: 3-2, 33.1 IP, 7.56 ERA
I am actually a little more amped up for this Toronto series than I am New York. Call me an idiot, but Toronto has completely destroyed us this year, and this series, in my opinion, will be a lot more telling of the Red Sox. The Red Sox and Yankees over the last few years are .500 against each other. We know what we’re getting when we play the Yankees. A see-saw battle, going both ways. Slugfests, errorfests, pitching duels, it doesn’t matter. But for Toronto, they’re out of the race, but they’re still playing hard and we need to, we MUST overcome Toronto.