MORE LESTER MAGIC, With A Little Help From His Friends...Red Sox 9 Yankees 2
Sunday night at Fenway Park, the Yankees and the Red Sox resumed their love affair in game three of this late July series. And for one night, it was ALL Boston, as Jon Lester won his sixth game in a row. Convincingly. Johnny Damon had this to say about the Red Sox ace lefthander...
"That's two games now he's been in complete control of us," said Johnny Damon, who was 2-for-4. "He's showing that he's one of the best pitchers around."
Great words, Mr. Damon. And you're right...he IS one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. Last night he went seven strong innings, giving up two runs on nine hits, walking just one and striking out a whopping eight pinstriped batters. He was simply tremendous and earned his ninth victory. Having him on the mound every fifth day makes the almost trade for Johan Santana seem like pure folly, a bad dream, a nightmare that thankfully never happened.
The game was almost overshadowed by the soap opera called Manny being Manny, but when push came to shove, as it usually does, Sir Manny delivered and reminded everyone just how valuable he is to this club. He paired with Big Papi David Ortiz for 5 hits and 5 RBIs...Boston is virtually unbeatable when Papi and Manny produce like that. The team as a whole produced 15 hits as their frustrations were suspended with a potent offensive attack. Here's Mike Lowell commenting on Manny Ramirez and Yankee manager Joe Girardi voicing his opinion on the return of our beloved Big Papi...
"Manny says a lot of things," said Mike Lowell, who drove home Ramirez in a three-run first. "Some of them are entertaining. Some of them make you roll your eyes and spin your head. But it seems like every time after he says something he goes 3-for-4, so maybe we should encourage him to say something like that."
"That was a great 'trade' for them, getting Ortiz back," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "They have a potent lineup without him; they have a very potent lineup with him."
Peter here, and yes Joe, having Big Papi back is a very nice thing. I hope the Manny issues (plural, of course) simmer down and the team can go back to business. And that business is to win every game possible and triumph in the post season. They have the pitching, they have the hitting (I think), they have the defense and they have the bench to go all the way. That's quite a great combination and I expect good things in the next two and a half months. I really do. DO NOT EXPECT MANNY TO BE TRADED BEFORE THURSDAY'S TRADING DEADLINE. It's simple...he's a member of this team for the balance of this year, and if he wants, his option year WILL be picked up for next year. The Sox front office is not dumb enough to let him escape via the free agent route.
A three game set with the team sporting the best record in all of baseball starts tonight. Yes, the LA Angels are coming to town. If you remember, when Boston last jetted to the left coast to play the Halos and Seattle, they were swept by LA. Now it's payback time. Here are the all-important pitching matchups...
Jered Weaver (8-8, 4.08 ERA) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka (11-1, 2.63) tonight
John Lackey (8-2, 3.02) vs. Clay Buchholz (2-5, 5.81) Tuesday
Joe Saunders (13-5, 3.10) vs. Josh Beckett (9-7, 3.83) Wednesday
Lackey is one tough cookie, but I expect the Sox to win two out of three before another needed (aren't they all?) off day on Thursday. And then suddenly on Friday, it will officially be August. What happened to June?? OK, back to the here and now...of course, all three games will be televised on NESN and NESNHD. Have a great Monday as time continues to fly, day by day, month by month. You can click on the title for one more look at the "other side's" point of view, and as always, BE WELL. What a great game it was, and available to the entire nation on ESPN and ESPNHD...great job, Sox! Your comments will be read and answered, as always. Thanks for stopping in.