I am told that the meeting Saturday night in which Joe Girardi “decided” to start Phil Hughes against the Red Sox Sunday night, was not limited to uniformed personnel and General Manager Brian Cashman. At least one other person was involved, couldn’t confirm who it was. The reversal proved invaluable as Hughes offered his cleanest outing in weeks and he may have staunched the Yankee bleeding for the moment.
Alex Rodriguez: DNP – Broadcast-related injury.
Not only was Jon Lester in good enough shape to stick around and do interviews after the Red Sox 9-5 loss to the Yankees – he did them standing up. The impact point just below the right knee is just red right now – he expects a bruise by morning – and he insists he will not only make his next start but he will not even limit his next in-between starts throwing session.
To my knowledge, no team since the 1985 Cardinals of Vince Coleman ever made a statement with a stolen base, but here in the Bronx tonight the Yankees came close. As noted in the first post, New York stole three bases – basically uncontested – off Jon Lester and Jason Varitek in the first. The game count is now seven (including one from Alex Rodriguez that shouldve been called a bak on Hunter Jones). Rodrigue has three, Jeter two, and Cano and Damon one each. The message may be less about Boston having to watch out for the Runnin Yanks and more about putting some doubt in the minds of Terry Francona and John Farrell that their pitchers – even southpaws like Lester and Jones – are doing enough to keep runners close. That, in turn, could mean more throws to first, and that could lead to the length of the average Sox-Yanks game increasing from eight hours to a week-and-a-half.
Nothing broken. Jon Lester left tonights game here with nothing worse than a contusion of the right quad – x-rays at Yankee Stadium negative and hes day-to-day (were all day-…). After Lester had been levelled by Melky Cabreras third-inning line stove – as Sox radio play-by-play man Joe Castiglione had put it in the press box hallway half an inning earlier – our season hangs in the balance in the trainers room.
Well that changes everything. The 78th pitch of Jon Lesters long night here at Yankee Stadium just rocketed back off Melky Cabreras bat and the inside of Lesters right knee. He started to drop to the ground before the ball did, and when Terry Francona and the training staff helped him down the steps toward the Boston clubhouse, Lester has to hop from one step to the next. As the old grim joke goes, I dont know what it is, but Im guessing its broken.
The last time Boston was here in the Bronx one of the franchises many great baseball minds nodded gravely at my contention that the Yankees might not be that great a team, then could contain his disbelief no longer, smiled broadly at me, and asked, in the way only friends who consider each other slightly nuts can ask, Really?
The Baseball Prospectus folks (sorry, subscription required, these are not plugs, I just really find their work useful) analyzed the nine possible playoff teams four-man rotations based on Support Neutral Winning Percentage, which I think I understand but probably dont. The Cards lead at .575 with the Tigers second, the Red Sox third (.561) and the Yankees, dragged down by Joba Chamberlain, eighth at .520. Thus – natch – Jon Lester has sputtered through a long first three innngs capped by a second-deck home run by Alex Rodriguez, while Chamberlain is perfect through three, havng struck out three of the bottom four Boston hitters and popped up the fourth (Varitek) behind the plate.
The Closer Carousel never stops; the only true accomplishment is knowing when it’s going to start spinning dangerously like the merry-go-round at the end of Hitchcock’s “Strangers On A Train,” and if the carny is going to get to the shut-off valve in time or if the entire bullpen is going to get launched in the general direction of the cotton candy machine.