Final, Red Sox Win 8-6: If the Red Sox (50-51) had lost this game, would it have been about time to pack in the season, declare the team sellers at the trading deadline and look towards the 2013 season?
On the one hand, that might seem ridiculous with the new playoff format this early in the season, but the reality is that was what the Red Sox were facing coming into this game, as if they were to have suffered a sweep to the Yankees, it would be hard to justify not getting what they could for the team's assets. Nonetheless, with the win the Red Sox have to feel like they're still in it, as they move to within 10 games of the Yankees (60-40) in the AL East.
Andrew Miller (3-1) gets the win by throwing a third of an inning and two pitches, while Rafael Soriano (2-1) picks up the loss, through no fault of his own.
First pitch on Sunday is schedule for 8:05 p.m. ET, and we'll be right back here with yet another live blog. We'll have the starting lineups and your other need-to-know information in the hours beforehand, but until then, good night.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 8-6: It was a bit of a gift from Granderson, but those are two runs the Red Sox will gladly take.
Losing this game after giving up a five-run lead could have been devastating, so for them to respond with two runs — whether or not they would have scored without the aid of Granderson — is a huge statement. Now, presumably, the game gets turned over to Alfredo Aceves, who will get to prove that he does indeed deserve to remain as the Red Sox closer despite the imminent return of Andrew Bailey.
End 8th, 6-6: Think the fued between Teixeira and Padilla isn't personal? Just look at how long Teixeira stood and watched his long home run off the bat before breaking into his trot. That was clearly intended to send Padilla a message, so keep an eye out for the next time those two might meet again.
For now, it's a whole new ballgame, as the Red Sox have squandered a five-run lead in a game they badly needed to win, and now go to the ninth trying to eek one out against a tough Yankees bullpen — even without their future Hall of Fame closer.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 6-4: So, clearly, this is what everyone has been waiting for.
We would guess that Vicente Padilla will come in to pitch the eighth inning for the Red Sox, meaning that if one Yankees batter reaches base, we will see the long-awaited matchup between Padilla and Teixeira, the first since their war of words earlier this month.
While you never want to root for injury or fighting on the diamond, we have to admit that it would likely be pretty entertaining if Padilla "lost control" of a pitch.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 6-4: Gonzalez has already had himself a heck of a game, and he almost added to it there if not for quite a catch by Ichiro.
As the right fielder pulled up, however, it showed how dangerous the playing field can be in these wet conditions, as it looked like Ichiro had trouble stopping, and ultimately kicked up some large divots in the outfield grass. That's an easy way to pull a groin muscle.
End 6th, Red Sox 6-4: First off, a recognition of Jon Lester's 1,000th career strikeout.
It was a heck of an inning to do it in, as the lefty looked like he made a slight mechanical adjustment, and subsequently his cutter began to look deadly again, getting Teixeira and Cano on strikes on the pitch. At 101 pitches, Lester's night is likely done, and it was probably a good note to end on, bouncing back well after a very tough fifth inning.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 6-4: Tonight's been a pretty good example of the value of CC Sabathia, who will end up eating at least six innings — possibly seven, depending on what Yankees manager Joe Girardi does with his big lefty after 104 pitches — even though it clearly hasn't been his best effort.
But that's what separates an ace from any other middling pitcher — the ability to give their team something of value each and every time out on the mound.
End 5th, Red Sox 6-4: This is not the way the Red Sox were hoping to see Lester respond.
First of all, not that we're letting Lester off the hook, because it was a well-hit ball, but Nix' home run looks like another case of a ball that wouldn't have been out of most stadiums in baseball. But, Yankee Stadium being the joke that it is, it's a ball that gets about two or three rows up into the stands.
Aside from that, what you're seeing from Lester at this point is someone whose mechanics have completely broken down. Whether or not that's a result of anything mental, who knows, but Lester was dramtically (emphasis on "dramatically") dropping his elbow in that last half inning, bringing down his arm slot. That's forcing him to come partially sidearm or under the ball, which is why he's leaving pitches up in the zone or way up and away to right-handed hitters, or up and in to left-handed hitters.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 6-1: So, it's safe to say that Gonzalez hasn't been uncomfortable at the plate facing the left-hander Sabathia.
After hitting a screaming line drive to double in an RBI in the first inning, it actually looked like the first baseman missed his pitch with Ciriaco and Pedroia aboard in that last half inning. Not sure if that one can be attributed to the Yankee Stadium effect, but either way Gonzalez hit a very high home run into the right field stands, giving Lester and the Red Sox a 6-1 advantage.
End 4th, Red Sox 3-1: As our Red Sox Live Blog Lester Watch continues, there really isn't much to report, and that's a very, very good thing.
On Teixeira's line-drive single to center field, it looked like a fastball that Lester again left over the plate. However, aside from that one bad pitch, the left-hander has looked relatively like his old self through four innings. Of course, this game has that feel that it could all turn around in an instant, but we'll see how Lester responds the rest of the way.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 3-1: Speaking of Herman Cain, he's been making some guest spots on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart lately that have been absolutely hilarious.
The recurring segment is called "Herman Cain, an American Presidency" and features Cain responding to various hypothetical situations as if he had actually won the presidency in this upcoming November election.
You can see the first segment here, in which Cain owns up to the American people on what he would do if his actions had lead to the accidental death of actor Nicholas Cage.
End 3rd, Red Sox 3-1: As former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain famously said, "I don't have the facts to back this up," but we're guessing that Yankee Stadium is the only ballpark in America which would have yielded that home run to Chris Stewart.
It was probably the first really hard-hit ball Lester had yielded all night — save for maybe Cano's second-inning lineout — but that's a double at Fenway, and Lester is out of the inning after Jeter's groundout. Bad break there for the left-hander.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 3-0: Sabathia looks to have settled in after a tough first inning. That could make it a difficult rest of the night for the Red Sox, who may be forced to hold that three-run lead — we'll see if Lester is up to it.
Like Lester, the difference between Sabathia in the first inning and therafter has been fastball command, as the big lefty had a couple fastballs hit very hard in that first frame.
End 2nd, Red Sox 3-0: Our Red Sox Live Blog Lester Watch continues.
Again, Lester looked great in that second inning, as well, and put away Nix there on a perfect fastball, basically an unhittable pitch when it's places like that. With all the talk about what's wrong with Lester and his confidence level and all the other theories put forward, the root of his problems are simple enough — location. Hitters never looked much more comfortable against Lester's breaking stuff, but they've been absolutely teeing off on the fastball as of late, as the left-hander has been leaving it over the plate consistently, something he won't get away with in the low 90s.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 3-0: Great at-bat by Ellsbury there, who just showed that he's getting closer and closer to peak form. In 13 games since returning from the disabled list, the center fielder has hit .309 with a .752 OPS, but has looked just a bit off from his near-MVP form of a year ago, mostly lacking the power that saw him hit 32 home runs last year.
Since returning, Ellsbury has knocked three doubles and a single home run.
End 1st, Red Sox 3-0: Let's not get too excited yet, but suffice to say that Lester looked pretty good in that first inning. That last breaking ball to Teixeira, in particular, looked like vintage Lester, using a well-spotted fastball to get ahead in the count, and then getting the hitter with a tight breaking pitch low and out of the zone.
It's a long game, but any time the Red Sox can get through the first inning without any damage it feels like a moral victory.
Mid 1st, Red Sox 3-0: Credit Will Middlebrooks as an inning-saver there. One of the Red Sox problems lately — at least it feels that way — is that they haven't been able to get multiple runs across the plate in a given inning, leaving runners on the bases on a fairly consistent basis. We'll try to back that up with some stats later in the game.
Either way, big hit by Middlebrooks, who stakes Lester to a 3-0 lead before he even takes the hill. That's got to be a new feeling for him.
Let's see what he does with it.
6:09 p.m.: We have first pitch! For those wondering, the first pitch temperature in New York is 71 degrees. And yes, there is a lot of moisture in the air.
5:45 p.m.: We're hearing reports that this game will be starting at 6:05 p.m.
4:55 p.m.: This Red Sox rain delay is presented by LL Bean.
It looks to be absolutely pouring in the Bronx, so we really have no idea when (or if) baseball is being played today in New York City. The forecast, however, call for just a small chance of rain in the coming hours, so we'll keep you posted here on our live blog.
4:30 p.m.: Here are your lineups, in case this one ever gets under way:
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Pedro Ciriaco DH
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Cody Ross RF
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Kelly Shoppach C
Mike Aviles SS
Daniel Nava LF
Jon Lester P
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Adam Jones LF
Jayson Nix 3B
Russell Martin DH
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Chad Stewart C
CC Sabathia P
Click here for the inside scoop on the batting orders, including how the Red Sox fare against Sabathia.
4 p.m.: Looks like a rain delay at Yankee Stadium. No word yet on when this one will start, but they first grabbed the tarp around 2:30, and it's still on the field.
8 a.m. ET: Jon Lester has arguably been the Red Sox worst pitcher over the past month, and that needs to change on Saturday.
Lester enters Yankee Stadium on Saturday with a bloated 5.46 ERA and a miserable 5-8 record on the season. Coming off an 11-run outing against the Blue Jays on Sunday, Lester will be looking to bounce back in a big way but with CC Sabathia taking the hill for the Yanks it should be a battle.
Dustin Pedroia was pretty fired up after Boston's embarrassing 10-3 loss on Friday night, so look for the emotional second baseman to make a big statement on Saturday and propel this offense to a n even higher level.
Keep up with the Red Sox Live Blog for all your up to date info and analysis before, during and after the Sox take on the Yanks.