Final, Yankees Win 4-3: Well, when you walk Francisco Cervelli with two outs in a tie game, bad things are going to happen. Ultimately, Andrew Miller just couldn't execute after getting two quick outs, and the Yankees walk off with a huge win for them.
Heading into Game 162, the Yankees now control their own destiny in the division. Win tomorrow and they capture the division crown. Lose and the best Baltimore can do is tie them, forcing a one-game playoff on Thursday.
With the win, the Yankees improve their record to 94-67, while the Red Sox fall to 69-92. Derek Lowe (9-11) picks up the win in relief, while Andrew Miller (3-2) takes the loss. Time of the game was 4:09.
Well, that's it for this edition of a very exhausting Red Sox Live Blog. We'll be back tomorrow for our very last one of the year, and we hope you follow along with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.
And, as always, follow this live blogger on Twitter at @ZachStoloff to chat Red Sox and all things MLB.
Mid 12th, 3-3: This live blogger does believe that's the first time he's seen a bird delay on the field.
Actually, scratch that, I can, in fact, recall at least one other bird delay. Viewer be warned, this video is of an animal dying, but does anyone remember the time that Randy Johnson, in a horribly-timed freak accident, actually killed a bird with a pitch.
End 11th, 3-3: What a play by Ellsbury. Off the bat of A-Rod that one looked like it had a real chance to get out of the ballpark, but it looked like it may have been brought back by the weather a bit, as the rain still looks to be falling lighly.
In any case, Ellsbury preserves the game for the Red Sox, who now have another shot in the 12th inning.
Mid 11th, 3-3: Curious decision by Valentine there not to pinch run for Saltalamacchia. Even if the catcher hadn't suffered an apparent injury beating out a potential double play, wouldn't you pinch run for him anyway after he reached second base?
We're not sure what the thinking is, but it was also questionable whether or not to pinch hit for Iglesias with the go-ahead run at second.
End 10th, 3-3: Off the bat that one from Ibanez looked a little bit dangerous, but it stays well inside the yard and we go to the 11th.
It's actually been a pretty impressive outing for Mark Melancon, who struggled mightily for the vast majority of the season. However, since the calendar turned to September Melancon has been very good, allowing just a single earned run over now 9 1/3 innings of work.
Mid 10th, 3-3: Anyone hoping for Daniel Nava's third home run in three games was left wanting in that last half inning, as Pedroia reaches via the base on balls but the Red Sox can't move him anywhere.
Aside from that, a very interesting decision by Joe Girardi to let Soriano pitch two innings. Presumably the thinking is that if the Yankees win this game they control their fate on Wednesday, but this is the first time that Soriano has thrown over 40 pitches in a game since 2005. That means he's absolutely lost for Wednesday, and possibly for any division tiebreaker games that could happen on Monday.
End 9th, 3-3: Wow. Just … wow.
The Yankees were on the verge of waking up on the last day of the season tied for the division lead. Now they head to extra innings with their fate completely in their own hands. All they have to do is take this game and win tomorrow and they take the division.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, can't help but feel very, very deflated. Winning this one would have felt like a complete effort, a well-played ballgame all around. Instead, the Sox are again left searching for answers and have to be very, very frustrated.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 3-1: Loney provides some rare power and an insurance run for the Red Sox, who will take a 3-1 lead to the bottom of the ninth — a potential win which would force the Yankees back into a tie for the AL East lead going into the last day of the regular season.
We're not sure if it will be Bailey coming out immediately or if the Sox will allow Breslow to start the ninth against Granderson, but here we go.
End 8th, Red Sox 2-1: Despite being picked off there, Gardner is an interesting player for the Yankees. Despite losing his regular left field job to Ichiro, he still has a lot of value as a defensive replacement and, as you saw there, a pinch runner.
Gardner is among the fastest players in Major League Baseball, and it's a great tool for Joe Girardi to have at his disposal coming off the bench in the playoffs
Mid 8th, Red Sox 2-1: By the accounts we're hearing, the rain is intensifying a bit down in New York City. At this point this has long been an official game, but in the event of a delay the Yankees will likely do everything they can to play if they are still down in the score.
That's important for the Yankees, who, as of moments ago, are up just half a game on the Orioles, who just won in Tampa Bay 1-0 over the Rays.
End 7th, Red Sox 2-1: Of all the relievers the Red Sox have seen step up their games or adapt to new roles in 2012 — and there have been many — Junichi Tazawa has been an absolutely revelation out of the bullpen.
In short, Tazawa has the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in Major League Baseball, just a tick better than Braves closer Craig Kimbrel, who this live blogger recently argued should win the NL Cy Young Award.
It's an impressive season from someone who was a completely unknown commodity coming into the year.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 2-1: Ciriaco leads off the inning with a single and steals second, but the Sox can't come up with the big hit to drive him home and extend their lead.
That leaves the Yankees down to their last nine outs down by just a single run however. It feels like Boston has lost a lot of similar games late in which they were unable to add insurance runs late.
End 6th, Red Sox 2-1: We're not sure exactly what happened with Lester — it looked to be an injury — but either way he is done after five innings of one-run ball, yielding eight hits and one walk while throwing 83 pitches. The peripherals weren't great, but ultimately it was a solid, gutsy effort from the southpaw.
Likewise, credit Rich Hill for getting himself out of the jam he created there, retiring Suzuki to end the inning. Somewhere, Teixeira is smiling that for once it wasn't him leaving runners on base.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 2-1: With the division on the line, the Yankees aren't pulling any punches. At just 86 pitches the team pulls Phelps, who had looked to be rolling right along, and goes with Boone Logan to face Loney and turn Saltalamacchia around.
Well, credit that decision making, as Logan gets his two men and shuts down the Red Sox' threat.
End 5th, Red Sox 2-1: Teixeira sure likes hitting the ball to Iglesias at shortstop. At least that time there were already two outs.
Moving on, this live blogger has just been informed of the result of Adam Greenberg's at-bat with the Miami Marlins: a three-pitch strikeout. Worse yet, Greenberg was forced to face knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. You're kidding me, right?
This live blogger was never much of a fan of the publicity-stunt idea to give Greenberg an at-bat, but he deserved better than this. If you're going to give him a chance, at least do so against a pitcher who isn't a relative freak.
Nonetheless, this live blogger won't lie. Upon being informed of the result, I may have let out a laugh at Greenberg's Tuesday misfortune. I'll temper that by saying it was partially laughter out of recognition of the fact he was put in a difficult situation, but there you go.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 2-1: Is Jacoby Ellsbury a platoon player?
History says no, but the numbers don't necessarily clear anything up. Ellsbury actually has a better batting average against left-handed pitchers, but hits them with far less power, owning an OPS of .648 against lefties and .716 against righties. While neither figure is very impressive, the center fielder is clearly more productive facing right-handed pitchers.
All that being said, did Valentine really imply that he thinks Ellsbury is a platoon player? Probably not, but what isn't ambiguous is that he thought Che-Hsun Lin was the better option in center on Monday night facing CC Sabathia.
"CC was pitching and I saw [Ellsbury] face [Joe Saunders] a couple of nights before with his breaking ball and I thought it was a situation where a right-hander might be able to do better," Valentine said. "And Lin got half of our hits so maybe that hunch was OK."
End 4th, Red Sox 2-1: It's really bizarre. This live blogger just checked back in with the box score and was surprised to realize that Lester has yielded seven hits over the course of his four innings. While he did induce a couple of double plays to shorten innings, it just doesn't feel like the lefty has been in trouble that often.
Likewise, 66 pitches isn't terribly efficient, but it isn't horrendous, either, and you would expect someone who's given up seven hits to have thrown more pithces. Either way, Lester's been effective when he's needed to be, and the cutter has looked pretty devastating against right-handed batters thus far.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 2-1: Since a rough first inning, you're seeing percisely why Phelps is a reason the Yankees are excited going forth into the future.
The 25-year-old is just practicing the fundamentals of good starting pitching perfectly: mixing his pitches, changing speeds and varying location. Right now there's nothing that the Red Sox can sit on in any count, and despite guessing right on a couple fastballs they don't have anything to show for it since that first inning.
Going back to that double play on Teixeira, Iglesias may have a pretty weak bat, but it is becoming a more legitimate question by the day whether his glove makes up for it — Nunez' hot shot notwithstanding. This very, very interesting stat comes via WEEI's Red Sox beat writer Alex Speier.
Iglesias/Pedroia DP combo is pretty amazing. Iglesias has avged roughly a DP every 11 innings; AL avg is 1 per 14 innings.
— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) October 3, 2012
End 3rd: Red Sox 2-1: Again the Yankees have runners at the corner with one out, and again Teixeira grounds into a double play to end the inning.
Last night it didn't look like the first baseman was suffering any ill-effects on his timing from the games he missed with a calf issue. Today, however, Teixeira very much looks like he's trying to get his comfort level at the plate back.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 2-1: During Ciriaco's last at-bat, this live blogger noted to his coworkers in the cubicles around him that the utility infielder was still standing at seven walks on the season. An intern replied "Are you ever going to let that go?"
The answer is no, not likely any time soon. At this point Ciriaco's OPS is below the .700 mark, so there's not much sense in pretending he's an asset on the offensive end. I'm actually surprised he's taken to third base so well, but he legitimately seems to have settled in there as a pretty solid defender.
So Ciriaco has value as a utility guy who can fill in all over the diamond when someone needs a rest, but if the Red Sox want to improve in 2013, Ciriaco needs to be in that role, not one where he's getting regular plate appearances.
End 2nd, Red Sox 2-1: The Yankees hold a $13 million option on Curtis Granderson for 2013, and it's already been speculated that they may try to lock him up longer than that. Either way, Granderson looks to become a rich man upon re-signing or reaching free agency.
That being said, Granderson is a bit overrated, as far too much of his value comes via the home run. On top of that, his speed has greatly diminished as he's gotten older, and it's really now to the point where he's the second best center fielder (to Brett Garnder) on his own team.
That's not to say that Granderson doesn't have a lot of value, but here's guessing that he's going to be grossly overpaid in the coming years.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: So, we thought we'd take a moment to update the ever-shifting playoff picture in the American League. As of last night, both the Angels and Rays were eliminated, meaning the five teams are set for the postseason. Postioning, however, remains to be determined.
As of this very moment, Detroit has clinched the Central, and Oakland and Baltimore are set to be the wild card teams. However, those two trail their divisions, and New York and Texas, respectively, by a game each, so the West and East titles are still very much up in the air.
So, tonight Baltimore plays Tampa Bay, Oakland and Texas will settle things amongst themselves in California, and you know where New York is and who they're playing.
End 1st, Red Sox 2-0: There's a good indication that Lester feels it tonight, as he induces a ground ball from Teixeira off a cutter in on the hands — which is the effect you'd like to see against right-handed hitters.
Now, turning our attention to Yankees starter David Phelps. The 25-year-old pitches with a confidence that doesn't reflect his actual age. None of his pitches are particularly imposing, but he can command them all reasonably well. Phelps features two- and four-seam fastballs, a cutter, a changup and a slider. The latter tends to be his out pitch.
Mid 1st, Red Sox 2-0: Well then, it just goes to show how different the Red Sox' lineup looks when Pedroia and Ellsbury are featured at the top. Likewise, how heartening was it to see Pedroia knock a solid double to the gap, knowing that he likely feels pain every swing — particularly on contact?
Aside from that, let's take a look at Red Sox starter Jon Lester.
The left-hander features a four-seam fastball, his infamous cutter, a straight curveball, a slider and show-me changeup. Obviously, this has been Lester's most trying season in the big leagues, and has left many to speculate just what's wrong with the 29-year-old. One contributing factor may be mechanical issues, as Lester used to feature an extreme over-the-top motion, and now has a distinctly lowered elbow and arm slot.
7:08: We have first pitch! And, for those wondering, the gametime temperature in New York City is 64 degrees, a little wet and winds from the northeast at 13 miles per hour.
6:50 p.m.: So, for anyone concerned, although it's apparently been raining pretty steadily in New York, the tarp will be removed and the game is scheduled to start on time.
At least, that was the word as of 15 minutes ago.
Pressbox announcement NYY_Bos game will start on time
— Gordon Edes (@GordonEdes) October 2, 2012
6:35 p.m.: Well, since he went down with an Achilles injury, we haven't heard much from David Ortiz save for the ocassional update on the status of his heel.
That relative radio silence ended today.
Big Papi told ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes some very interesting things earlier Tuesday, and, perhaps unexpectedly, they aren't too kind. In short, he referred to 2012 as a "disaster, all the way around."
Most interestingly, Ortiz largely let manager Bobby Valentine off the hook, saying numerous things about both the role of a manager and Valentine, specifically. We'll let you read the article yourself, but to synopsize: Ortiz doesn't particularly care who his manager is, insfofar as he knows how to prepare himself for baseball games. Nonetheless, he calls Valentine "supportive" of him, but says he has heard some of the talk from other players, but can't vouch for the veracity of others' stories.
Likewise, Ortiz seems to feel that the blame for this "disaster" season" can be shared all around the club house and front office, so in that respect the big designated hitter isn't necessarily saying anything with his words, if that makes sense.
5:45 p.m.: On Monday it was revealed that Dustin
Pedroia had suffered a fractured finger, keeping him out of the lineup
for the opening game of the series versus the Yankees. Likewise, Jacoby
Ellsbury was also held out for reasons unknown, severely weakening the
Sox' batting order, which, apparently, the Baltimore Orioles were none too pleased with.
But no matter, as Pedroia and Ellsbury are penciled back in for Tuesday night's edition, giving the Red Sox a significant boost in firepower.
The return of those two means that Daniel Nava — who has home runs each of the past two days — gets to take advantage of his hot bat by moving into the third slot in the batting order, with Cody Ross protecting him.
On the Yankees' end, despite being the coldest hitter on the team, Alex Rodriguez continues to hit third in the order, as Mark Teixeira — having just returned from missing time with a calf injury — hits behind the third baseman in the cleanup role.
Check out the lineups for both the Red Sox and Yankees below:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Daniel Nava, LF
Cody Ross, RF
James Loney, 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Ryan Lavarnway, DH
Pedro Ciriaco, 3B
Jose Iglesias, SS
Jon Lester, LHP
Derek Jeter, SS
Nick Swisher, RF
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Russell Martin, C
Curtis Granderson, CF
Eduardo Nunez, DH
Ichiro Suzuki, LF
David Phelps, RHP
8 a.m.: Among the positives the Boston Red Sox are looking to take out of 2012 and into 2013 are that they do have some solid options among starting pitchers. In fact, it's easy to make an argument that, between Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront and John Lackey, four-fifths of the rotation is already set for next season.
Well, after having a mostly spectacular second half and earning strong consideration to take on the "ace" mantle going forward, Buchholz blew up in equally spectacular fashion against the New York Yankees on Monday night, allowing eight runs on six hits — including three home runs — in a nightmare second inning the 28-year-old wasn't allowed to complete. Suffice to say, that wasn't how he wanted to finish out the season.
So, on Tuesday the Sox hand the ball off to Lester, who just faced the Yankees earlier this month on Sept. 11, going 5 1/3 innings while yielding five hits and three runs. In four games started on the season against New York, the left-hander is 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in 22 2/3 innings.
Opposing Lester will be spot starter David Phelps, giving Ivan Nova some extra rest. Phelps has consistently slid back and forth between the rotation and bullpen all season, and two starts ago he faced the Red Sox, capturing the win while throwing 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET, but you can tune into NESN beginning at 6 p.m. for Red Sox First Pitch. Alternatively, just stick right here with NESN.com, as this very Red Sox Live Blog will have the starting lineups and, as Vin Scully would say, "all the stats and stories" in the hours 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 day or night.