Strange daze, indeed
Teixeira’s 3 HRs pace Yankees’ rout of Sox
The stands were rain-soaked and sparsely populated by the time No. 44 jogged in from the bullpen. There was nothing more on the line, with the exception of their rapidly ebbing pride, as a spare outfielder took the mound to finish the game for the Red Sox.
Jonathan Van Every did just about as well as anyone else, allowing two runs on two hits (with a called third strike on Brett Gardner) as the Sox fell, 14-3, to the Yankees yesterday in a game that was as dispiriting as the weather.
The Sox are now 1-8 against the Rays and Yankees at Fenway Park, a haven from the road in recent years. That does not bode well for the rest of the season, as the Rays are bent on running away with the division, with the Yankees not far behind.
“I don’t think that’s something that we’re happy about,’’ Mike Lowell said. “Take away Toronto and we haven’t played well in our division at all. The results are easy. You can see where we are in the standings. That basically tells the story.
“I don’t really think it’s the Rays or the Yankees or the Orioles that are doing it to us. I don’t think we’re playing very good baseball as is. I think if we played other good teams our record would be somewhere around the same as well. We’re just not playing the baseball we’re capable of, day in, day out. We show kind of flashes of it, but I think we’re all looking for that consistency.’’
Why? “I wish I knew,’’ Lowell said.
It was a day (and night) of oddities, with Yankees starter CC Sabathia leaving the mound, because of a rain delay of 1 hour 14 minutes, one strike away from qualifying for the decision, with two relievers exiting in the middle of counts with injuries, with a helicopter passing dangerously and mysteriously close to the park, and with a position player making his second career appearance on the mound for Boston (and getting as many strikeouts as the Sox’ starter).
By that point, as Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira blasted his third home run of the game into the light tower above the Green Monster, the outcome was long past being in doubt.
“They beat us,’’ Victor Martinez said. “They kicked our butt today.’’
Just when it appeared that Boston had emerged from its doldrums, from embarrassing defensive and mental mistakes, from awful starts by pitchers, from sweeps by teams like Baltimore, in came the Yankees.
The question is whether the way the Sox have played is representative of this season. Are they a team rife with errors, a team of poor pitching from starters and relievers, a team destined to hover around .500, after falling below that mark again yesterday?
“They’re still a good baseball team,’’ Sabathia said. “They have a lot of veterans and it’s still early in the season. They have a lot of time to try and turn it around. We’re happy right now that we’ve played well against them so far. They still have the pop they’ve always had and they make you throw the ball over the plate. We lost eight straight against them last year. You have to keep that in mind, that things can change.’’
They haven’t yet, with yesterday’s loss the fourth straight to the Yankees. The Sox have now dropped 13 of 15 to New York dating to last season.
Not only did the Sox have to suffer through an offensive explosion from players such as Gardner (two hits) and Francisco Cervelli (five RBIs), they also suffered through a rain delay that only prolonged the misery of a game that had a three-run margin at the time the grounds crew came on with the tarp.
After the delay, Sox starter Clay Buchholz and Sabathia had departed. Buchholz allowed six runs on nine hits and five walks in five innings, with a single strikeout.
“It wasn’t his best stuff, but I thought he tried to limit the damage, especially early,’’ manager Terry Francona said.
It wasn’t enough.
Though there were brief positives — including second baseman Dustin Pedroia’s stop of a misthrow by Martinez in the first inning — there were far more negatives. The Yankees, after all, pounded out 17 hits, only two of which were against Van Every.
And not only did the Yankees take their second straight game in this three-game set, but they got some revenge, too. It appeared the third inning was the perfect time for Sabathia to repay the Sox for the night before, when Josh Beckett hit Robinson Cano, buzzed Cervelli, and plunked Derek Jeter.
So Sabathia — not that he would admit it — went after Pedroia and drilled him with two outs and former teammate Martinez coming up next. Martinez had been just 3 for 15 lifetime off the big lefthander.
“It was just a fastball that got away,’’ Sabathia said. “I was trying to get in and go inside on all the big hitters. It just got away.’’
But then another one got away, with Martinez slamming a pitch over the back row of the Monster seats, the Sox’ second home run the inning, after Darnell McDonald had done the same. The Sox had the lead, 3-2, but only for a half-inning before the Yankees tied it — and then scored 11 more unanswered runs.
Asked about the hole the Sox have dug themselves, Lowell showed a brief moment of levity, needed in a solemn postgame clubhouse in which most of the starters left immediately and without a word.
“Maybe a lot of us have some shovels,’’ Lowell said, “but we don’t really want to go any deeper.’’