Final, Yankees 10-2: Clay Buchholz faltered early, and the Red Sox could just never get back in the game after Buchholz and Alfredo Aceves combined to give up nine runs and four home runs in a nightmare second inning.
As of this very moment, the Yankees remain one game up on the Orioles for the AL East lead, who are half a game clear of Oakland for the second seed in the wild card race. Tampa Bay and Los Angeles are all but an afterthought at this point.
With the win the Yankees improve their record to 93-67 while the Red Sox fall to 69-91. The winning pitch is CC Sabathia (15-6), while Clay Buchholz (11-8) takes the loss. Time of the game was three hours on the mark.
Well, that's it for us from your Red Sox Live Blog, but be sure to tune in tomorrow for game 161 of the regular season. First pitch is again scheduled for 7:05.
End 8th, Yankees 10-2: The pinstripes add another run on two hits. Eduardo Nunez reaches on an infield single, moves to second on a Brett Gardner groundout and scores on a Melky Mesa ground-ball single up the middle. Mesa's hit is the first of his major league career.
Mid 8th, Yankees 9-2: Perhaps lost in this blowout is that Sabathia is throwing another gem. At 103 pitches and the game well in hand we'd be very surprised to see the lefty go for the complete game, but this one is case in point why Sabathia is an ace.
Through those eight innings of work Sabathia has allowed just four hits and one walk while striking out seven. The only real blemish on his evening was Nava's solo home run.
If things stay as they are, Sabathia would be in line to start a potential one-game wild card playoff on Friday on regular rest.
Mid 7th, Yankees 9-2: Credit Gomez for helping the Red Sox plate their second run on the night. Specifically, credit Gomez for laying off of that final slider that Sabathia threw him.
Most young players wouldn't be able to spit on an offering like that — particularly against an imposing figure like the big New York left-hander — so it says something about Gomez's pitch recognition that he was able to work a walk there.
In fact, this live blogger has been saying for a while that Gomez should be seeing at-bats over James Loney, who's upside has long been determined. Though they both may be the same age, Gomez may yet have something to prove and somewhere to go as a hitter.
Mid 6th, Yankees 9-1: Last Wednesday, the 2012-13 Celtics campaign began in earnest, as the team opened its training camp in Waltham.
With Ray Allen gone to the Miami Heat and the team generally a very veteran one, there's been a fair amount of turnover, and thus our NESN Daily Poll asks which newcomer are you most excited to watch during the preseason?
Among the choices Jason Terry and Courtney Lee, so all the new blood should do much to invigorate the team on the heels of its Eastern Conference Finals loss to Miami.
Mid 5th, Yankees 9-1: Are the Yankees poised for a deep playoff run? The team certainly has all the tools, most notably a solid frontline starting rotation and a pretty excellent relief corp — even in spite of the midseason loss of closer Mariano Rivera. The offense, too, is still pretty good, if over-reliant on the home run.
Well, Bobby Valentine sure thinks that the Yankees have what it takes to go deep into the postseason, and this live blogger is compelled to agree. With the Angels now apparently out of the playoffs, Texas and New York are the clear frontrunners to represent the AL in the World Series. With all due respect to Baltimore, Oakland and Detroit, those teams just don't have the depth that the Rangers and Yankees possess.
Mid 4th, Yankees 9-1: Off the bat, that looked like a well-hit ball from Lavarnway, who's still struggling at the plate despite seeing regular at-bats for weeks now, sharing DH and catching duties with Saltalamacchia.
Lavarnway hasn't hit a home run since the middle of September, and doesn't have hits in consecutive games since August. Likewise, his defense is still a work in progress, but is probably coming around faster than his bat right now.
Mid 3rd, Yankees 9-0: That last at-bat really showed just what Ciriaco's limitations are as a professional baseball player.
Sabathia had no inention of giving the utility infielder anything to hit, and if you're an opposing pitcher why would you? Ciriaco has shown time and time again that he basically refuses to take a walk, and will chase anything to make sure that doesn't happen. That lack of plate discipline just isn't tenable going forward.
While Ciriaco may have proven his value this year as a capable backup, he's also proven just what his limitations are. He's now had regular major-league at-bats, and we know what kind of player he is. And Ciriaco just isn't a big league regular starter.
Bottom 2nd, Yankees 7-0: Well, not much to say there about Buchholz. It's actually hard to imagine that his back issue isn't still bothering him, as the right-hander just didn't look like himself in that last half inning. Basically everything he threw was right in the middle of the plate, and major league hitters just won't miss that.
And that will be the way Buchholz ends his 2012 season — yielding a two-run double to Robinson Cano. Talk about disappointing from the man who had been probably the biggest highlight of the Red Sox' downward spiral of a second half. For the past month or two we've been talking about Buchholz' evolution into an ace-caliber pitcher — he sure didn't look like it there.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: He's really grown into his repertoire this season, and Red Sox starter Buchholz features one of the biggest arrays of pitches in all of baseball.
Buchholz will throw two and four-seam fastballs, a devastating changeup, a slider a cutter and a straight curveball. About the only thing that the 28-year-old doesn't feature is a sinker.
End 1st, 0-0: Although he's one of the best pitchers in all of Major League Baseball, Sabathia actually has one of the simplest approaches you'll ever find from a starting pitcher.
Sabathia throws just three pitches: a four-seam fastball, a slider and a changeup. The thing that makes the big left-hander effective, however, is the fact that he can throw any one of those pitches for a strike at any point in the count, and each one of them has swing-and-miss stuff. Sabathia will use the changeup most often as his strikeout pitch, but he's capable of overpowering hitters with any one of them.
7:08 p.m.: We have first pitch! And, for those wondering, the gametime temperature in New York City is 69 degrees with 47 percent humidity and winds from the west at nine miles per hour. Basically, it's a beautiful night for baseball.
7:00 p.m.: It didn't make much news, but on Wednesday the Red Sox added a new member to their front office, hiring former Angels scouting director Eddie Bane as a "talent evaluator."
Bane is one of the more underrated minds in baseball, and his firing was likely completely undue in Anaheim, so if you would like to read this live blogger's opinion on what Bane's hiring means for the Red Sox, follow this link.
6:05 p.m. ET: It's been oft-noted that the Red Sox are working with a depleted roster that won't be retooled until this coming offseason, but Monday's lineup looks a little bit uglier than usual, with both Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury out of the lineup for Boston.
That created a chain reaction throughout the starting lineup, with Mauro Gomez hitting in the cleanup role, Ryan Lavarnway DHing and hitting fifth, Danny Valencia at third base and Che-Hsuan Lin in center field.
If the Red Sox are to win this one and deal a blow to New York's bid to win the AL East, they'll likely rely on Clay Buchholz to turn in a solid start, and the offense to scratch and claw to manufacture some runs.
Check out the lineups for both squads below:
Pedro Ciriaco, 2B
Daniel Nava, LF
Cody Ross, RF
Mauro Gomez, 1B
Ryan Lavarnway, DH
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Danny Valencia, 3B
Che-Hsuan Lin, CF
Jose Iglesias, SS
Clay Buchholz, SP
Derek Jeter, SS
Ichiro Suzuki, LF
Alex Rodriguez, DH
Robinson Cano, 2B
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Nick Swisher, RF
Curtis Granderson, CF
Russell Martin, C
Eric Chavez, 3B
CC Sabathia, SP
8 a.m. ET: As the Los Angeles Angels lost the second leg of a doubleheader to the Texas Rangers on Sunday night, both the New York Yankees (92-67) and the Baltimore Orioles secured playoff berths for 2012, just as we enter October. For the Yankees, they've been to the playoffs ever year since 1995 save for 2008, while the Orioles are enjoying postseason play for the first time in 15 years — quite a disparity.
And as play opens on Monday, the final series of the season, the two ballclubs find themselves tied atop the AL East, with three games to play. With the new playoff format there's a lot on the line, as no one wants to have to endure the random chance of a one-game playoff, likely against the Oakland Athletics.
So as the Boston Red Sox (69-90) travel by train north to the Bronx borough of New York City — having just been swept by the Orioles in a three-game set in Camden Yards — one might say that the Sox are just trying to make things more difficult on New York by letting the Orioles win. And as the Red Sox close out a disappointing 2012 season, at this point nothing would give the team (and Red Sox Nation) more pleasure than to relegate the Yankees to a winner-take-all scenario.
So what if the Red Sox just lost 90 games for the first time since 1966? Tune in, as Boston has a big chance to spoil New York's fun. Mark Teixeira's also expected back from injury for the Yankees, so there's always the possibility of seeing the first baseman resume his grudge match with Vicente Padilla.
To open the three-game series, the Red Sox send presumed-ace Clay Buchholz (11-7, 4.22) to the hill. During Buchholz's last time on the mound, the right-hander yielded four runs for the third time in six starts, in this instance to the Tampa Bay Rays. He also gave up nine hits and five earned runs over six innings in his only start against the Yankees this year. However, since the All-Star break the 28-year-old has a 3.11 ERA and .225 opponents' batting average, so overall Buchholz is a big reason for optimism in 2013.
Opposing Buchholz is Yankees ace and go-to starter in the clutch, CC Sabathia (14-6, 2.42). Landing on the disabled list twice this season, the outstanding number of innings Sabathia's thrown over his career may be finally catching up with him, and that lack of rhythm may have tempered his season a bit. Nonetheless, Sabathia has managed to throw 192 innings over 27 starts, recording a 1.16 WHP and 190 strikeouts. In his only start against Boston this year, the left-hander gave up eight hits and six runs over six innings.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET, but you can tune into NESN beginning at 5:30 p.m. with Monster Monday. Or just stick right here with NESN.com, as this very live blog will have the starting lineups and, as Vin Scully would say, "all the stats and stories" leading up to the game.
And, as always, follow this live blogger on Twitter at @ZachStoloff to chat Red Sox and all things MLB any time.