Final, Yankees win 2-0: It was a well-pitched game all around, but unfortunately the Red Sox (64-80) fall on the short end of the stick on Thursday, and end up losing the three-game set to the Yankees (81-62).
Phil Hughes (15-12) picks up the win, while Felix Doubront (10-9) gets saddled with the tough-luck loss. Rafael Soriano picks up his 38th save of the season.
Well, that's it for us from your Red Sox Live Blog. We'll be back with another edition tomorrow, however, as the Red Sox take on the Toronto Blue Jays across the border.
In the meantime, be sure to stick with NESN.com for all your postgame needs, and follow this live blogger on Twitter at @ZachStoloff to chat Red Sox and all things MLB any time.
Mid 9th, Yankees 2-0: Last chance for the Red Sox offense, which has been stymied all night. It's really kind of ironic, actually, as Doubront has gotten great run support all year, which has allowed him to have a winning record despite a middling ERA. So, it just seems a little unfair that on a night he puts in a really good outing, the Red Sox bats can't get anything going.
So, on to the bottom of the ninth inning, with the Sox down by two runs.
End 8th, Yankees 2-0: The bullpen gets it done for the Yankees, who continue to hold the Red Sox scoreless on the night. Outstanding effort by Hughes, and then David Robertson gets Ryan Lavarnway to fly out to end Boston's threat.
Mid 8th, Yankees 2-0: Well, it's "Sweet Caroline" time here at Fenway, but so far the score has not been so sweet.
In fact, Hughes hasn't allowed the Red Sox to get much of anything started, with 87 pitches through seven innings. He looks well locked in, so Boston may have to find a way to manufacture a run to back Doubront's solid outing.
Mid 7th, Yankees 2-0: Junichi Tazawa really has had a heck of a season. Specifically, he's done really well with not allowing inherited runners to score.
Well, that trend did not play out last inning, but Tazawa did well to limit the damage to one run. He certainly wasn't the first pitcher to yield a bloop single to Jeter on a pitch that jammed the shortstop.
And actually, a stat that needs to be noted: Jeter just tied Willie Mays for 10th all-time in hits. An incredible career continues.
Jeter ties Willie Mays on all-time hits list with No 3,283. Tenth.
— Gordon Edes (@GordonEdes) September 14, 2012
End 6th, Yankees 1-0: So we've been asking you to share your Red Sox pictures with us using the hashtag #NESNFenway, and we finally have a submision. In fact, not only do we have a submission, but it's apparently via Miss Massachusetts 2008.
Thanks to @aliciazitka for the photo, it's exactly the kind of family moment we're looking for. Pretty adorable.
So check out the submission below, and be sure to send us your Instagram Red Sox-related photo!
— Alicia Zitka (@aliciazitka) September 13, 2012
Mid 6th, Yankees 1-0: Is Felix Doubront's night done? Right now there is no one warming in the Red Sox bullpen, but at 93 pitches it's hard to imagine the southpaw going much further.
Doubront has looked as good as he has all season, but he hasn't often gone past the 100-pitch barrier, so it will be interesting to see what he has left if Bobby Valentine leaves him out there.
Then again, this may well be a case where Valentine's hand is forced. The rotation has clearly had difficulty going deep into games lately, and the bullpen is likely pretty worn down.
If done, Doubront's now has 4th quality start in as many outings vs Yankees this yr. Again, he'd be 1st Sox since Bill Lee in '74 to do that
— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) September 14, 2012
End 5th, Yankees 1-0: Well, this will inevitably jinx it, but we have to mention that by the standards of a typical Red Sox-Yankees game, this one is moving along at lightning-quick speed.
That is, of course, because the game has been so crisply pitched thus far, and it's a different sight from a matchup that typically features lots of offense. Both Doubront and Hughes have had at least one minor hiccup, but through their last inning of work, respectively, they each seem to have re-found their groove on the mound.
Mid 5th, Yankees 1-0: From our vantage point up here in the press box, it really didn't look like there was a play at the plate. It was a deep fly ball and Rodriguez still has decent speed.
However, apparently Doubront didn't care for the fact that Jones' fourth-inning sac fly was cut off on the throw home.
Check out Doubront's reaction in this pretty hilarious animation.
End 4th, Yankees 1-0: After the first inning, Hughes had looked very effective, mostly just pitching off his fastball, which seemed to have a lot of movement on it.
In that last half inning, however, Podsednik finally forced him out of the zone, and then Loney and Ross hit balls hard, so look for Hughes to change up his sequencing and work in some more offspeed stuff from this point forward.
Nonetheless, the Red Sox had a golden opportunity to put themselves on the board, but Nava can't come through and the Yankees stay ahead by a run.
Mid 4th, Yankees 1-0: Call it reverting back to old (bad) habits.
For the record, Doubront was absolutely squeezed by home plate umpire Tom Hallion in Martin's at-bat; any one of those four pitches could have been called a strike. However, Doubront absolutely tried to get too fine with his pitches in that last half inning, not trusting his stuff and yielding consecutive free passes.
Also, the team would do better to pay more attention to Yankees baserunners — even A-Rod. Rodriguez could have been using a walker and ended up at second base. The Red Sox were paying him no mind, and the third baseman got an enormous jump.
End 3rd, 0-0: We won't editorialize on this much, but it's been clear in recent weeks that Alfredo Aceves is on his own program.
While on the west coast road trip, the former closer was suspended for the three games for conduct detrimental to the team, and that was before a bizarre outing in Seattle. In that game — in one inning, actually — Aceves engaged in three bizarre plays: trying (and failing) to catch a pop up he should have left to his infielders, making pickoff throws to Pedroia at second base (who clearly didn't know they were coming) and refusing to exchange baseballs with the home plate umpire.
And that was all before last night's mound walkaround. Nonetheless, Aceves is still on the roster, and has suffered no further consequences beyond the initial suspension.
Mid 3rd, 0-0: Well, well, well. That's something we haven't seen from Doubront all year: quick, early count outs.
Pitching to contact has absolutely not been one of Doubront's strengths, but it's something he'll clearly have to work on, as it's a fair assumption he's locked up a spot in the Red Sox rotaion for 2013.
End 2nd, 0-0: We know there have to be some active Instagram-ers out there, so again, we invite you to share your Red Sox pictures with us — whether you're at the game, at home or on the go — via either Instagram itself or Twitter, using the hashtag #NESNFenway. If we see something we like, we'll share it with everybody here on our NESN.com live blog.
In fact, even this live blogger shared an Instagram pic from down on the field before the game. Check it out using this link (Twitter's embed feature seems to be having some issues).
Mid 2nd, 0-0: As we mentioned in the last post, the key to Doubront's night will be his command. Of course, that's not much for analysis and is true of any pitcher, but it's a bit more true for Doubront.
All season, the lefty has had trouble putting away hitters, which has led to many high pitch counts and relatively short outings in otherwise effective starts. Well, Granderson's at-bat was a good sign, as after setting him up 0-2, Doubront threw another marvelous curveball that Granderson had a hard tim laying off. Doubront then came back to strike out the Yankees center fielder with an overpowering high fastball.
If Doubront can pull the strikg on the curveball to lefties like that, it will go a long way to keeping the Yankees off the board and his pitch count reasonable.
End 1st, 0-0: Well, Hughes certainly wasn't fooling the Red Sox hitters in that inning, as both Podsednik and Loney get good wood on the ball, only to have Granderson reel them in. That catch on Podsednik, especially, was probably a WebGem, in ESPN parlance.
So, what to expect from Doubront tonight. The lefty features a cavalcade of pitches to choose from: two and four-seam fastballs, a cutter, curveball, changeup and slider. The problem is, despite his insistence otherwise, the all the innings the 24-year-old has racked up this year have appeared to have taken their toll, as his command just hasn't been very good in quite a while. That being said, his velocity hasn't taken much of a hit, so the Red Sox will hope Doubront is feeling rested and loose out there.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Well, that was one heck of a curveball that Doubront threw to Cano, who dove out of the way like it was coming right at him. We'll take a look at the southpaw's arsenal of pitches next half inning, but for now let's turn our attention to Yankees start Phil Hughes, and what to expect from him.
When Hughes first came up to the big leagues, he threw three pitches almost exclusively: a four-seam fastball, a curveball and a changeup. Since then, however, the right-hander has developed a slider and a cutter, which he'll use left often, but the slider especially can be a very effective pitch against right-handed batters when it's on. Look for Hughes to keep it simple early on, and then mix in additional pitches as the game progresses.
7:12 p.m.: We have first pitch! And for those wondering, the gametime temperature is 73 degrees with 69 percent humidity and winds from the south at 13 miles per hour.
In short, it's a beautiful night for baseball.
6:55 p.m.: We're going to try something different tonight. Who's a fan of the $500 million smart phone application Instagram?
Well, if you happen to be at the game tonight (or even if you don't) we invite you to share your pictures from tonights game by using the hashtag #NESNFenway (on either Twitter or Instagram) to share your pictures with us. If we like them, we may well share them here on the live blog, or on NESN.com.
So, please share your Fenway pictures, how you're enjoying the game at home or any way you care to show your Red Sox pride.
6:45 p.m.: Are you a celebrity stalker? Then you'll love this update from tonight's game.
As you may have seen on NESN's pregame show, Bill Cosby is in attendance at the game, sporting a Red Sox jersey. Also, we hear they're Yankees fans, but Mad Men's Jon Hamm and Curb Your Enthusiasm's Larry David are also in attendance.
What is this, a Dodgers game?
Bill Cosby on Yawkey Way twitter.com/PeteAbe/status…
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) September 13, 2012
6:30 p.m. ET: As you may have heard, Red Sox Nation has welcomed a new member into the fold, as Dustin Pedroia's wife, Kelli gave birth to a son on Wednesday, the couple's second child.
As such, the Sox will be without their hottest hitter for Thursday night's rubber match against the Yankees, which is clearly unfortunate for the team — but we can give the Pedroias a pass for that one. Family clearly comes first (especially when a playoff spot isn't on the line).
So Ivan De Jesus takes over at second base for the evening, with Mike Aviles back at shortstop a night after letting Jose Iglesias show what he can do. The Sox will also be featuring a lot of speed at the top of the lineup, as Jacoby Ellsbury and Scott Podsednik will get it started.
For the Yankees, Alex Rodriguez makes his return to third base after spending some time in the DH role coming off the disabled list. Likewise, suffering a left ankle injury on Wednesday, Derek Jeter will take that slot on Thursday.
Check out the lineups for both teams, below:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Scott Podsednik, DH
James Loney, 1B
Cody Ross, RF
Daniel Nava, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Mike Aviles, SS
Pedro Ciriaco, 3B
Ivan De Jesus, 2B
Felix Doubront, LHP
Derek Jeter, DH
Nick Swisher, RF
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Russell Martin, C
Andruw Jones, LF
Curtis Granderson, CF
Steve Pearce, 1B
Eduardo Nunez, SS
Phil Hughes, RHP
8 a.m. ET: If the New York Yankees (80-62) were expecting to come into town and have a struggling Boston Red Sox (64-79) squad lay down dead for them on their way to a postseason berth, clearly the Sox had other plans.
After taking Tuesday's series opener in walkoff fashion, The Red Sox showed a lot of fire in losing to the Bronx Bombers 5-4 on Wednesday, with both Cody Ross and manager Bobby Valentine getting ejected for arguing balls and strikes. Considering each team's relative place in the standings, however, the first two games of the series have probably been much more competitive than the Yankees would like or expect, and the Red Sox certainly hope to further complicate New York's playoff hopes, as the club finds itself tied with the Orioles atop the American League East.
All that being said, the Red Sox would clearly love nothing more than to make the Yankees' path to October that much more difficult, and to try and take this three-game set, Boston will send Felix Doubront (10-8, 5.21) to the mound. The 24-year-old left-hander — much like the rest of the Red Sox rotation outside of Clay Buchholz — has clearly been struggling of late, yielding a 6.47 ERA over his past 72 1/3 innings pitched, a span of 14 starts. So, clearly, it's been a while since the southpaw has been on his game. In 11 starts to being the season, however, Doubront posted a 3.75 ERA over 62 1/3 innings.
Opposing Doubront will be Phil Hughes (14-12, 4.13), the talented right-hander who's battled injuries and inconsistent results throughout his career. In 2012 the 26-year-old native Southern Californian has mostly been able to avoid the injury bug, and has allowed three runs or less in 11 of his last 14 starts. However, games like his four-inning, seven-run performance against Toronto in the middle of August are always in play, keeping Hughes from reaching "the next level," as they say.
First pitch is again scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET, but you can tune in to NESN beginning at 6 p.m. with Red Sox First Pitch. Or just stick right here with NESN.com, as we'll have the starting lineups and, as Vin Scully would say, "all the stats and stories" in the hours leading up to first pitch.
Also, be sure to follow this live blogger on Twitter at @ZachStoloff. I'll be reporting, writing, live blogging and tweeting live from Fenway, and will try to keep things entertaining for you.