Before yesterday's Yankees game — the one after David Ortiz hit a home run, flipped his bat, did a little spin, and ticked off Joe Girardi — the Boston designated hitter told Kim Jones that he'd hit another one last night. And then he did, in the very first inning, giving Boston a 3–0 lead that would swell to 7–0 before the Yankees would get on the board. The Yankees would get to within three runs twice, but by the end of the night, Boston had a 11–6 win, their seventh win in eight games against the Yankees this season — including all five played in the Bronx — and a spot atop the American League East.
Just like they did the night before, the Red Sox got to the Yankees starter early. This time it was A.J. Burnett, who'd last longer than Freddy Garcia did the night before, but didn't give the Yankees the length — or the effective outing — they desperately needed. Which isn't to say the blame can't be spread around a bit: With the Yankees down 8–5 in the sixth, the Yankees loaded the bases with one out. But Brett Gardner hesitated on a wild pitch on which he should have scored and remained at third. The batter at the plate, Derek Jeter, then grounded into a double play to end the inning.
But back to Burnett. Forget, for a moment, the mystery of whether "Good A.J." or "Bad A.J." will show up on any given night. Instead, think back to all the talk of Burnett's great numbers against the Red Sox (5–0, 2.56 ERA) during his days with Toronto. A reporter last night remembered all that and asked him about it. Here's what Burnett (whose ERA as a Yankee against Boston is an ugly 8.71) had to say:
"I'm not in Toronto (anymore), so I'm tired of hearing about all that," said Burnett, who fell to 0-4 in eight starts against the Red Sox as a Yankee after his team lost, 11-6, on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium. "That's just retarded. If anything was different I made pitches when I was with Toronto, and I didn't make pitches tonight. That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard."
So first, A.J., don't use the word retarded like that. And second, while we suppose that's true enough — that you used to make pitches against Boston and now don't seem to be doing so — the question then remains: Well, why aren't you making those pitches anymore?
We can only imagine how much Boston fans are enjoying this year's season series with the Yankees, with quotes like that, and Ortiz predicting a home run and following through, and the drama with Jorge Posada the last time they played, right smack in the middle of a Boston sweep. And at least one Boston writer is pretty confident. From the Boston Herald:
The win boosted the Red Sox a full game ahead of the Yankees in the standings and it wouldn't be a surprise if they never trail again.
These Sox were built to win the division easily, and now would be a good time to make that happen. New York is in disarray, the Sox are rolling, and there's really nothing in their way.
It may have taken a couple of months, but the Red Sox finally resemble the juggernaut that had one of the local papers (OK, it was us), declaring them the Best Team Ever before they had even played a game.
It's here we remind ourselves that just a couple days ago, the Yankees were coming off a very nice West Coast road trip, in which they won six of nine. Disarray might be a little strong to describe the Yankees, in general, just two games later — though the news that they'll now play without the injured Joba Chamberlain means the bullpen hardly resembles the one the Yankees had intended to use this season. But against Boston so far this year, disarray seems appropriate. This team has flaws — and while we knew that entering the season, that they'd lead to such a one-sided series against Boston is awfully frustrating. If this homestand against Boston, Cleveland, and Texas is going to teach us something about this Yankees team, we don't like what we've learned so far.
CC Sabathia pitches tonight, trying to avoid a sweep against Josh Beckett. They need Sabathia to give them length tonight. They need him to slow the Boston offense that's scored seventeen runs so far in this series. They need him to be an ace, and to put the Yankees in a position to finally win another game against the Red Sox.