-Marcus Thames delivers the game winner off everyone’s favorite Red Sox, Johnathan Papelbon. Had Swisher not been out with a bicep injury and Posada not hurt his foot the night before, Marcus most likely would have never been in the game with Righty Dice-K as the starter. Then the Lefthander platoon specialist collects an RBI double and sac fly off Matsuzaka, and then gets the game winning HR facing another tough Righty in Paps. That’s just Baseball, Susan.
-Aaron Boone was in the booth for ESPN, along with Nomar Garciaparra. That would be a bit more spooky if the Yanks-Sox rivalry wasn’t loaded with these see-saw games where it’s never over until the final out is recorded. But if that still gives you goosebumps, go for it.
-In what may be the most under reported story from last night’s game Javier Vazquez collected the win in his abbreviated outing facing only one batter in Kevin Youkilis. Yankee fans have Javier’s last relief appearance emblazoned in their brains forever, but this time he fared much better. It came on the 1-year anniversary of his old nemesis Johnny Damon’s walkoff win for the Yanks last year over the Twins, which was the 3rd in a walk off in a row in that May Twins series that propelled the Yanks for the rest of the season, and onto a World Series championship.
-With our bullpen at full force, in all likelihood last night’s game would have played out much differently. But Joba was unavailable, Mitre had just pitched the day before, and Aceves is on the DL. There was a lot of second guessing Girardi’s bullpen moves from yesterday, but most of it was unwarranted. Joe Girardi explained why things played out as they did:
“I tried not to use Javy today, because I want to pitch him Friday.” Girardi said. “I want to make this clear; he was not skipped because of (the Red Sox). Our bullpen is a mess. I needed a long guy today. We could not activate Chan Ho Park if we didn’t have a long man.“
If Thames strikes out last night, the Vazquez move is brilliant and nobody’s second guessing Joe. The Red Sox had already used their long man in Wakefield, so the Yanks would have had a decided upper hand going into extra innings, even on a night when their bullpen was depleted. Also, for the folks decrying Logan’s appearance let’s review Bullpen Management 101: You don’t use your best guys first. You get what you can out of your lesser guys and have your better options backing them up. That’s why your closer is your best arm, setup man 2nd best and the long man is the least desirable. The Logan move was solid. It was the 6th inning, you weren’t facing the heart of the order (5-8) and you want to make V-Mart bat Righty to pull to the big part of the ballpark. It just didn’t work out. With Park giving up 2 consecutive HRs, there wasn’t much of a chance to minimize the damage there. I had zero issues with Joe’s moves last night, it was by the book given what he had to work with.
-Last and never least, Mr “unclutch” himself, Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez. Remember that tag? Seems like a long time ago, and it is. In an inning where Paps made Tex and Cano look bad on splitters, he serves up a first pitch fastballs to Alex and Thames, who deposited them in the bullpen and the left field stands, respectively. With the injury situation piling up and some players due to fall back down to Earth, A-Rod finding his power stroke couldn’t have come at a better time. The Yankee manager agrees:
“He’s a weapon,” Joe Girardi said. “Everyone is in scoring position whenever he walks to the plate.”