Oh, Sweet Victory! Oh, and Get Well, Tito

Red Sox 7, Yankees 3.

Tim Wakefield pitches 6.2 IP, 3 H, 2 solo HR, 2 BB, and 4 K, while Mike Mussina gets incredibly lucky – 6 IP, 9 H, 2 R 2 BB 2 K. I have a feeling Mussina’s going to scuffle this season again, as he did last, when I posited that March 30th, 2004. We should have blown the game wide open early, but we settled for heroics in the ninth inning to finish the Yankees off.

Mariano Rivera was the victim, giving up five runs (one earned, though) to provide the final margin of score. While the error by A-Rod took Rivera off the hook for earned runs, Rivera is the one at fault here for loading the bases. A-Rod fielded the ball then in his hurry to step on third so he could fire to first/home, he bobbled the ball. It is unlikely he would have turned two, so the run scores anyways and then Rivera falls apart, walking David McCarty (yes, him) and Doug Mirabelli. Yikes. He was all over the place and had nothing.

It was a FUN game to watch. It was kept close all day long (and imagine that – we shut Hideki Matsui down) and near the end, I got that feeling I love, but dang, do I hate it at the time. You know, heart pounding, hands shaking, eyes glued to the TV, praying that the hitters/pitchers come through. Nothing better.

It was a very rewarding win to see the Red Sox come back two games in a row. While you can’t possibly compare this club to the 2004 postseason Red Sox because it’s impossible for any team to live up to that billing, I have to think the Red Sox are a lot more confident this year, and that could lead to a lot more comeback wins. Manny Ramirez rifled a hit and Edgar Renteria continued his funk for the first half, then finally delivered, ending up with two hits and a nice padding of the lead in the ninth. Renteria will now get cheered at Fenway.

In other news, Terry Francona missed the game with tightness in his chest. Even though he wasn’t feeling well, he took the 8 AM bus to the field to start preparing. However, he admitted to bench coach Brad Mills that he wasn’t feeling so hot, necessitating an ambulance to be summoned to bring Francona to the hospital. He is since out of the New York hospital and will move to Boston. Apparently, Brad Mills, who is now 1-0 in his career as manager, will take care of the Toronto series.

Some quotes on Tito from the AP:

“Tito has meant so much to this whole team. He’s the guy that would go to battle for you.” – Johnny Damon

“I almost needed a bed next to Tito. (The win) was a lot to do with the guys focused on what they have to accomplish.” – Brad Mills

“We’re all doctors. The first two days we tightened up his chest and today we lowered his blood pressure.” – Kevin Millar

“It was scary because you’re talking about real-life stuff, you’re not talking about wins and losses.” Millar.

This is a little scary because he’s had issues before in the past, as A’s bench coach, and has had countless surgeries. I really hate to say it, but it’s possible Tito could die on the job while manager of the Red Sox given his medical history. I certainly hope not, because I am a HUGE fan of Tito, but it’s something that could reasonably happen.

David McCarty replaced Millar in the field during the game when Millar left with leg cramps – nothing to worry about. I don’t know … I think we need to utilize Youkilis more at first. I can understand using McCarty, a first baseman in this game, but in games with a lesser scope, such as the Blue Jays, Devil Rays, etc. we should give Youkilis a lot of time. Why? McCarty isn’t hot with the stick anymore and we could use the added flexibility of that roster spot that McCarty occupies, whether it’s calling up another outfielder, infielder, or pitcher. It’s something that we need to work on to improve – put McCarty out of a job.

Also, if you have time, you should read this sensational column by John at Only Baseball Matters. It’s a GREAT article.

Today’s an off-day, and the Red Sox will start their swing in Canada tomorrow: 7:15 PM on Friday, 1:07 [seven minutes?] on Saturday, and again, 1:07 on Sunday (oh, those Canadians!). Arroyo’s taking the ball in the opener against David Bush, then it’s David Wells and Matt Clement, setting up Tim Wakefield for Fenway Opening Day. Oooh, the banner raising. Can’t wait!