Final, Yankees 9-1: An abysmal start by Jon Lester, who did not get much help from his defense, and a rather lame effort by the lineup sends the Red Sox to their 17th loss in 22 games.
We now turn our attention to Florida to see what the Rays do. They will be either two or three games behind Boston in the loss column by the end of the night.
The Sox will start Tim Wakefield in the matinee Sunday and then John Lackey in the nightcap. A.J. Burnett and Ivan Nova are scheduled to go for the Yankees. We’ll be up bright and early to get you ready for a long day of very important baseball.
End 8th, Yankees 9-1: The last time the Red Sox left Yankee Stadium, they were two games ahead of New York in the division.
They will be eight games back after this one comes to a merciful end. Not that it matters anymore since the Yanks have clinched, but that’s a glaring discrepancy over a span of about 90 games.
Mid 8th, Yankees 9-1: The Sox go quickly in the eighth, and I’ll bet they do the same in the ninth. It’s time to put this game to bed, get a nice dinner and a good night’s sleep and put your best foot forward on Sunday.
Wakefield and Lackey. Wakefield and Lackey. Wakefield and Lackey.
Jose Iglesias has taken over at shortstop, so at least we have a chance to see a web gem. Michael Bowden has taken over on the mound. Lars Anderson is at first.
End 7th, Yankees 9-1: Junichi Tazawa gave way to Trever Miller in a 1-2-3 seventh.
The Rays game will begin in a few minutes. Blue Jays lefty has dominated Tampa Bay this year so that’s something on which you can hang your hat.
Mid 7th, Yankees 9-1: Boone Logan gets his man, inducing a grounder to first off the bat of David Ortiz.
Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez are a combined 1-for-8 with three strikeouts against Logan this year.
The Red Sox have emptied the bench a bit more. Conor Jackson remains in the game in right. Ryan Lavarnway is catching.
6:30 p.m.: Nothing has changed in the five minutes since we last spoke, aside from an infield hit by Dustin Pedroia and another pitching change for Joe Girardi.
Boone Logan is coming on to face David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez, if it gets that far.
6:25 p.m.: Well, the Red Sox are on the board.
Conor Jackson singled and scored on a double by Carl Crawford, proving Terry Francona’s genius and making it a 9-1 game.
With two outs in the seventh, Joe Girardi is making the first of what could be multiple pitching changes. Here comes Cory Wade to face Dustin Pedroia.
End 6th, Yankees 9-0: Junichi Tazawa, meet Jesus Montero. Mr. Montero, this is Junichi Tazawa.
Actually, those two may have met in the minors. We know their first major league encounter goes the way of Montero, who smacked an opposite-field homer on Tazawa’s fifth pitch of the game.
Montero is 3-for-3 with four RBIs. You get the sense he’s going to be a thorn in the side of the Red Sox for many years to come.
Raul Valdes, a lefty, is in for New York. He’ll face Conor Jackson. The benches will be emptied in a big way here as the two teams get ready for 18 innings tomorrow.
Mid 6th, Yankees 8-0: We’ve discussed several times how the Red Sox pitching has been poor, and we’ve discussed many times how the Red Sox defense has been poor.
Those two go hand-in-hand. Obviously, you need your defense to make plays behind you, but the defenders also need their pitcher to pick them up from time to time, to get a big out after an error or misplay.
During this stretch, it seems as if every miscue, such as the Mike Aviles and Carl Crawford plays in the first, end up hurting the Sox. The pitchers aren’t getting a lot of help, but they’re also struggling to prevent those mistakes from being meaningful.
Freddy Garcia did a nice job of that in the sixth, working around an Alex Rodriguez throwing error that allowed leadoff hitter Dustin Pedroia to reach. There was also a dribbler by Aviles that went for an infield hit with two outs, but Garcia got through the frame just fine.
He’s up over 100 pitches, so we could get the Yanks pen from here on out. Speaking of pen, Scott Atchison has been removed, to my surprise. Junichi Tazawa will take over. Still wonder if Atchison will be available tomorrow at all.
End 5th, Yankees 8-0: Scott Atchison has thrown eight scoreless innings since Sept. 15.
It’s amazing to think that Atchison stands out like a sore thumb on this team right now. He’s been that good and the rest of the roster (or most of it) has been a mess.
At 26 pitches, Atchison has also been incredibly efficient and should get a few more outs in this one.
Mid 5th, Yankees 8-0: Jacoby Ellsbury is 2-for-2 with a walk. The rest of the lineup is 3-for-17 with no walks and three strikeouts.
He’s totally the MVP, dude!!!
End 4th, Yankees 8-0: If this one is going to remain a one-sided affair, you might as well get it over with fast.
Scott Atchison is on board with that mission. He’s thrown 11 pitches in getting four outs out of the bullpen.
Atchison has been one of the better relievers of late. Boston has a ton of arms out there, but how many do you trust right now? Atchison may be on that short list, but if he’s used up today then you have two games tomorrow (again, Wakefield and Lackey…are you getting sick of hearing that?) without him.
Mid 4th, Yankees 8-0: And then there’s Freddy Garcia, who appeared to be hitting the wall so many predicted of him early on.
He had a 10.95 ERA over his three previous starts before coming in and putting up four straight zeroes to begin this one.
David Ortiz hit into a double play and Mike Aviles struck out to finish off the fourth.
End 3rd, Yankees 8-0: Had a few stats wrong in that last post, but they’re fixed now. It’s just getting so mind-boggling that I can’t even add correctly anymore.
Jon Lester threw 55 pitches, so the silver lining is that he will be back Wednesday to pitch in Baltimore, if necessary.
The big thing now is how this will impact the bullpen tomorrow. If Tim Wakefield and John Lackey can’t give you the innings you need, that’s a long day of piecing things together.
5:12 p.m.: Jon Lester’s a very good pitcher and has done great things for this team. And he will continue to do great things for this team. I’m sure of that.
But Lester has fallen on his bum when his team needed him most. He’ll be the first to tell you.
Lester is done after just 2 2/3 innings, his day ending on a two-run double by Jesus Montero that makes it 8-0.
Lester’s line is still open, but he’ll have an ERA well north of 10.00 over a span of three starts against Tampa Bay (twice) and New York.
Scott Atchison is your new pitcher.
Mid 3rd, Yankees 6-0: Jacoby Ellsbury has reached base twice with a single and a walk. But nobody else has found safety against Freddy Garcia, who strands Ellsbury when Crawford hits a dribbler to first to finish the third.
Jon Lester has given up 14 runs — all earned — in his last 13 innings. Walks have been up. Strikeouts down just slightly. And now he’s given up home runs in consecutive games for the first time since June.
You have to wonder if he’s just hit a wall or if this is nothing more than an aberration. You also have to wonder if he has another bad inning if Francona just yanks him (sorry, pun intended) and saves him for Wednesday on short rest.
End 2nd, Yankees 6-0: It sounds a bit silly to call any of the games for the Red Sox a big game. They all are, for obvious reasons.
But with Tim Wakefield and John Lackey pitching tomorrow, you get a sense of urgency this afternoon with Jon Lester.
New York may use some rather makeshift lineups on Sunday loaded with minor leaguers and subs, in part because of the doubleheader and in part because they’ve clinched.
But Lackey and Wakefield are the kind of guys, at least right now, that can be had by a second-rate lineup. And if they are had, the Sox can lose not once but twice in a day. Since we all eye the loss column in the wild card standings, that would alter things dramatically.
Not saying any of that will happen, but so much could be riding on Lester’s outing. And it’s taken a seriously bad turn.
Lester got himself in trouble in the second when Robinson Cano singled and Nick Swisher walked. Andruw Jones then hit a ball to Marco Scutaro’s right that should’ve been the second out if Scutaro did the proper thing and threw to third for the force. Instead, he went to second but was too late and the floodgates opened. Not sure if Aviles was on third to cover, but I missed the replay on that. You can tell me.
Anyway, bases loaded with one out.
Jesus Montero then ripped a single on a 3-1 pitch to make it 1-0. Carl Crawford then couldn’t come up with a bloop to left that hit off his glove. Two runs came in there. Lester was hurt tremendously by his defense, but he failed to pick them up by surrendering a three-run shot to Derek Jeter.
That was a 30-pitch disaster.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Adrian Gonzalez entered his at-bat in the top of the second inning with 10 hits in his last 16 at-bats (.625). He flew to deep center for the first out.
Mike Aviles entered his at-bat with seven hits in 11 at-bats (.636) against Freddy Garcia. He struck out for the second out.
Marco Scutaro entered his at-bat with eight hits in 15 at-bats against Garcia (.533). He grounded to shortstop for the final out.
Such is life.
End 1st, 0-0: Jon Lester threw 43 innings in the first inning the last time he faced the Yankees. He also threw 43 first-inning pitches two starts ago against Tampa Bay and 21 his last time out, also against the Rays.
Lester was a bit better in terms of efficiency this time. Derek Jeter lined the first pitch of the inning into the glove of a leaping Dustin Pedroia. Curtis Granderson struck out on a breaking ball and Mark Teixeira flew to center on just the 10th pitch of the frame.
Mid 1st, 0-0: A good start to things for the Red Sox, who get a bloop single to right by Jacoby Ellsbury and then a safe call on a steal attempt by that same man, even though he was out.
Nobody said so, even after the replay, and the Yankees didn’t bark, but the tag got him on the thigh an inch or two before the foot got in.
As has been the case all September, Boston cannot capitalize and Freddy Garcia is able to wiggle out of things from there. Carl Crawford returned to the two-hole with a pop to second, Dustin Pedroia grounded to third and David Ortiz lined to deep left on a 3-1 pitch.
4:06 p.m.: Sorry for the lack of updates, but there’s been some technical woes on this end. Looks like they’ve been solved with minutes to spare, so keep it here for all the in-game analysis.
2:42 p.m.: Carl Crawford’s numbers are not what you expected. That much we know.
But I’ve contended all year that a huge part of that is because of where he has hit.
Crawford enters this one hitting .259 with 18 steals. Can’t you give both of those numbers a slight uptick if he has Dustin Pedroia or Adrian Gonzalez hitting behind him instead of Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Jason Varitek, Marco Scutaro, Darnell McDonald and Josh Reddick? The same goes for his .295 on-base percentage.
It would still be a down year, but Crawford simply hasn’t been used the way most envisioned when he came here, getting on base before some of the big guns and using his legs to “wreak havoc,” as he said to reporters Saturday.
Crawford is a career .304 hitter in the two-hole, where he played the bulk of his games with the Rays. I thought that once Kevin Youkilis went out that Francona would try something like this. It certainly took some time, but it just might have an impact in a game the team needs.
1:34 p.m.: It seems like a daily task to update the rotation going forward, but this is what we know.
Tim Wakefield will pitch in the matinee Sunday against A.J. Burnett with John Lackey going in the nightcap against Ivan Nova.
Josh Beckett will face Tommy Hunter (same matchup from a few days ago in Fenway Park) on Monday in Baltimore. Erik Bedard will pitch Tuesday against Zach Britton in a matchup of lefties.
Boston has not named a starter for the regular season finale. It will be Jon Lester on short rest if the game means anything in the standings. Otherwise, perhaps Kyle Weiland will get the nod.
Alfredo Simon is scheduled to pitch the finale for the Orioles.
12:38 p.m.: Terry Francona has altered things dramatically from yesterday’s lineup (before the rainout).
Take a look at both batting orders, followed by a few nuggets:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Carl Crawford, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Mike Aviles, 3B
Marco Scutaro, SS
Josh Reddick, RF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Derek Jeter, SS
Curtis Granderson, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, RF
Andruw Jones, LF
Jesus Montero, DH
Russell Martin, C
This is the first time that Crawford has hit second since Aug. 13 in Seattle. It is his seventh start in that position in 2011. Gonzalez has not hit fifth since Opening Day
10 a.m. ET: After a rainout Friday night, the Red Sox will get back to action with the opener of a suddenly condensed three-game series with the New York Yankees.
The two teams will play a doubleheader Sunday, at which point Boston hopes to be on the verge of a wild card berth. While the Sox were inactive Friday, both the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim lost at home.
Boston’s lead over Tampa Bay is three games in the loss column, four over Anaheim.
Jon Lester will get the nod Saturday for the Sox. Lester has lost his last two starts, both against the Rays. He allowed eight runs while walking seven in just 11 innings, falling flat in two big outings against his team’s primary competition in the wild card race.
Lester is 6-1 with a 2.67 ERA in nine career starts in New York (both Yankee Stadiums).
Yankees starter Freddy Garcia is 0-1 with a 10.95 ERA over his last three outings for the Yankees, who have already clinched the American League East.
First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 p.m.