Survival in the Bronx
Mark Loretta now knows what it’s like to be in the thick of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry. Same goes for Kevin Youkilis, Jonathan Papelbon and Mike Lowell.
You can watch the rivalry and even experience it as a background performer, like Papelbon and Youkilis did previously. But you don’t know what it’s like to be in the middle of it until zany nights like Thursday.
As Papelbon aptly said after the game, the Red Sox laid it all on the line to win this game.
Loretta is taking great at-bats every time he’s at the plate. Same goes for Youkilis. Doesn’t it seem like Youkilis hits the ball hard every at-bat?
Perhaps not as hard as Papelbon throws it. This kid continues to be something. The Yankees aren’t used to seeing the Red Sox with such an overpowering weapon in the late innings. As good as Foulke was two years ago, I think it does more psychological damage for an opponent to see a guy like Papelbon out there, who just overpowers people.
We all had questions about how this particular Red Sox team would do when the pressure is on top of them. This is no longer the team of Johnny Damon and Bill Mueller and Kevin Millar, etc., who showed ealry on in their tenure with Boston that they didn’t fear the Yankees and could go toe to toe with them.
It appears that trait has been passed on to this group. You can say all you want about it being just a regular season game in early May. But these games really do come with the buzz of October.
And what a double whammy this was for the Yankees. Hideki Matsui might not play another baseball game in 2006. Fractured wrist, ouch! You don’t wish that on anyone. He has been such a key performer for the Yankees over the last four seasons, it’s hard to see this not being a major blow. What will the Yankees be able to get out of Sheffield? Will his wrist nag at him once he comes off the DL?
Brief three-game set at Fenway against the Rangers, but the forecast is bad. Hopefully we’ll see some baseball. It will be hard to see what we saw thursday though. Those games are a treat, even when they last four hours.
Talk to you from Fenway,