Results tagged ‘ Scott Proctor ’

Red Sox Nation conspiracy hunting

Yankees Universe will love this. The American League Division Series started Friday night with the Yankees in and the Red Sox out. According to Red Sox nation, this is all the Yankees’ fault.

That’s right. The Red Sox did not qualify for postseason play because the Yankees conspired to keep Boston out. It is all the fault of Yankees manager Joe Girardi for using 11 pitchers in the final game against Tampa Bay and setting it up for journeyman Scott Proctor to toss a lollipop to Evan Longoria for a game-winning home run in the 12th inning moments after Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon had blown a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth in Baltimore that jumped the Rays over the Red Sox as the AL’s wild-card entry.

This is how sick the fans of that crybaby team that calls Fenway Park home reacts to everything: the Yankees are to blame. What a joke!

Of the 20 losses the Red Sox had in 27 games in September when they spit up a nine-game lead in the wild card standings, only four were to the Yankees. The same Scott Proctor who gave up that playoff clinching homer to Longoria also gave up a 14th-inning home run to Jacoby Ellsbury in the last regular-season game at Yankee Stadium. How come Red Sox Nation doesn’t think the Yankees were trying to help Boston there?

That the Yankees are responsible for the Red Sox’ failure to make the playoffs is absurd. After all, the Yankees had a 7-0 lead in that last game at Tropicana Field. Girardi paraded a collection of relievers into the game, but the guys that Tampa Bay came back against were not September callups. The Rays tied the score off Boone Logan, Luis Ayala and Cory Wade, all of whom were slated for the postseason roster. Proctor is another story, but Joe had simply run out of arms.

The Red Sox won the season series over the Yankees, 12-6. Where were the conspiracy theorists when the Yankees were losing eight of their first nine games and 10 of 12 to the Red Sox earlier in the season? Please tell me how that is the Yankees’ way of making sure Boston didn’t reach postseason play. The best way to keep opponents from advancing to the playoffs is to beat them as often as you can, which the Yankees certainly did not do for the most part against Boston.

I covered the 2004 AL Championship Series when the Yankees gagged on that 3-0 lead to the Red Sox and became the first baseball team to lose a seven-game postseason series after having won the first three games. The Yankees had a one-run lead in the ninth with Mariano Rivera, the best closer of all time, on the hill in Game 4 three outs from a sweep. Dave Roberts stole second base, and it all went downhill from there.

It was an excruciating period for Yankees Universe. The most successful franchise in sports suffered the most embarrassing postseason collapse. However, I don’t remember Yankees fans blaming anyone else for the team’s failure other than the team itself. The players felt the same way. They were responsible for not putting the Red Sox away.

This is no different. The Red Sox had an entire month to put the Rays out to pasture. That they failed to do so was no one’s fault but their own. Red Sox Nation should not hang Boston’s humiliating ending on the Yankees. Look in your own dugout.

Yankees struggle against Orioles’ bullpen

The Yankees are finally finished with the Orioles – and good riddance. I don’t think there was a single game among the 18 the teams played this year where they didn’t get their shoes wet. Rain followed them wherever they went, especially two weeks ago in Baltimore when Hurricane Irene hit and this week in New York when the heavens opened again causing one game’s starting time pushed to past 11 p.m.

The Yankees didn’t even want to go to Camden Yards Thursday, which they had to do because one of the games during the Baltimore series Aug. 26-29 was lost to the storm. The Yankees had wanted to play two games on the first day of that series, but the Orioles refused, so the game was made up Thursday, which originally was an open date before starting a trip to the West Coast.

So the taste in the Yankees’ mouths was pretty sour, particularly after losing a game, 5-4, to a Baltimore team that seemed to be handing it to them. The Orioles made three outs on the bases, two on sensational throws to the plate by Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson and sturdy play from catcher Francisco Cervelli, who withstood hard-charging runners and later threw out Robert Andino on a foolish attempt to steal third base with two out.

Ironically, it was Andino who got the game-winning hit, a single off Scott Proctor, the Yankees’ seventh pitcher, in the 10th inning. The Orioles had tied the score in the eighth on Andino’s RBI single off Rafael Soriano. Andino took second on the throw home before making the dumb move of trying to swipe third.

But where the Yankees really lost the game was after the fourth inning when the Orioles’ bullpen shut them down over six innings. The Yankees didn’t get a hit during that stretch and had only two base runners. Granderson was hit by a pitch leading off the seventh inning but was erased on a double play. Alex Rodriguez walked with two out in the 10th and was stranded. Four Orioles relievers combined to hold the Yankees scoreless and hitless with one walk and eight strikeouts.

The Yankees had similar problems with the Birds’ pen the day before at Yankee Stadium when they had no runs and three hits against Baltimore’s relief corps over the last six innings of the 5-4, 11-inning loss.

In a way, the Yankees were lucky to have scored at all Thursday. Andino, who had a weird day, failed to cover second base on a potential force play as a run scored in the second. After Brett Gardner walked on a very close 3-2 pitch, Derek Jeter singled in two more runs. Eric Chavez pushed the Yanks’ lead to 4-1 in the fourth with a two-out single, but the offense went stagnant after that.

Ivan Nova did not have his Rookie of the Year candidate stuff and labored through 5 1/3 innings but was still in position for a winning decision, thanks to the Yankees’ defense. The relay from Granderson to Cano to Cervelli on a double by Vlad Guerrero in the seventh that cut down Nick Markakis at the plate was poetry in motion. Cervelli got his bell rung on Markakis’ hard slide but stayed in the game and made two more splendid plays.

That the Yankees’ bats were silenced two days in a row by a bullpen that has been torched all year may say something about the fatigue factor that comes with playing three games in 42 hours under hostile weather conditions. The Yankees were on their way to Anaheim, Calif., where it hardly ever rains and then continue the trip to Seattle and Toronto, cities that have domed parks. It will feel nice playing with dry cleats.

Laborious day for pitchers at Stadium

Billy Altman was the official scorer for that 22-9 game the Yankees won against the Athletics on the previous homestand. Billy, a free-lance writer who concentrates on baseball and pop culture, is one of my oldest pals, but I must say I was not all that happy to see him, particularly when the score got to 8-7, and we were still in the third inning.

Billy said that due to the rain delay and the length of a game (4 hours, 31 minutes) in which 31 runs were scored – 12 by the Yankees on a record three grand slams – he did not get to his Westchester home until well past eight o’clock that night. Considering we would all have to be dealing with Labor Day traffic Monday, a similar fate may have awaited us.

It is not often that a pitcher with a 9.07 ERA entering a game has it grow, but that is what the Yankees did to Orioles starter Brian Matusz. The lefthander had hoped his career record at Yankee Stadium (2-0, 2.10 ERA in 25 2/3 innings) might have been an indication that he was in position to lower that ERA considerably and perhaps improve a 1-7 won-lost record.

Just the opposite happened, however. Matusz wobbled his way through 1 1/3 innings in which he was grilled for five earned runs, five hits and two walks with three strikeouts. The result was that Matusz’s ERA rose to 9.84. Well, at least he kept it under 10.

Reliever Chris Jakubauskas fared no better. The righthander took over for Matusz in the second and promptly loaded the bases by walking Mark Teixeira, who had homered (No. 36) in the first inning, and hitting Alex Rodriguez with a pitch on a 0-2 count. Robinson Cano cleared the bases with his 24th home run, his third grand slam of the season and seventh of his career, six of which have come at the Stadium.

Just as an aside, imagine if Jakubauskas pitched for the Red Sox. With Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the plate, you would surely have a battery with the longest names in history. The shortest I can remember is pitcher Doug Rau and catcher Ed Ott with the Angels in 1980.

Yankees starter Freddy Garcia also had his ERA swell Monday. He didn’t make it through the third inning, yielding seven earned runs and nine hits, which sent his ERA from 3.09 to 3.50. Yankees manager Joe Girardi turned to Scott Proctor in the third. The righthander returned to where he started his career in 2004 and made his first appearance for them since July 22, 2007, also against Baltimore. Proctor, whom the Yankees signed to a minor-league contact Aug. 15, gave up one run (on a game-tying home run by Robert Andino) and three hits in two innings.

Another September callup, Jesus Montero, continues to win over fans on this homestand. He was according a curtain call in the fifth inning when he hit his first major-league home run, a solo shot to right field in the fifth that pushed the Yankees back into the lead, 9-8. With each game, the rookie is bettering his audition for a post-season roster spot as the Yankees’ designated hitter against left-handed pitching.

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