When all the leaves begin to fall

Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission

Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission

I say he goes 7 innings and only gives up one run.

Okay, so he went 6 and gave up no runs. My prediction skills are a little off.

I worked late on Tuesday night and missed four of those six innings.  I’m only slightly ashamed to admit that I was genuinely stunned to come home, turn on the game and find out that not only didn’t Daisuke have 70 pitches under his belt by then but that he had only walked two batters.  At the end of his six innings (plus one batter in the 7th), Matsuzaka had thrown 93 pitches (52 for strikes!), walked 3 (including the last better he faced) and struck out five while giving up no…NO runs!  And for the skeptics out there, this came against the first place, 86-58, Angels.  (As an aside, looking up their record it kills me that it’s almost exact to the Red Sox yet the Angels hold first place in their division by 6 games.)

It’s tough to make a generalization that Daisuke is “back” and if/when the Sox are in the playoffs the rotation could be filthy – but it’s fun to think about isn’t it?  Beckett, Lester, Buchholz and Matsuzaka ALL being “on” at the same time makes my mind hurt with happiness.  I try not to get ahead of myself but DAMN watching his performance (even though I had to do it AFTER the actual game) was just inspiring.

For those concerned that Daisuke isn’t a team player, how about this comment from last night:

“On the road back I’ve been a burden on my teammates more than anything, and I feel that I owe them.”

How does one respond to that? “Yes, you’ve been a burden!”? I’d like to think that no player believes a teammate struggling on the disabled list is a ‘burden’ to them but I also think that Matsuzaka acknowledging publicly what a lot of people have written shows great awareness of the situation – or at least how the situation had been perceived by outsiders.  Tom Caron pointed out that it’s amazing how the Red Sox lost an 18-game winner this year yet sit in the number one spot for the wild card.  (A notion a lot of fans, especially purported Yankees fans, who email me to gloat about the Sox not being at the top of the division seem to have forgotten.  If there was a healthy Daisuke in this rotation all year long, where would the Sox be sitting in the division?)  I don’t think Daisuke is a burden to anyone.  I just hope last night was an indication of what the Sox will get from him for the rest of the regular and post season.

I did get to watch the remainder of the game live and then switched over to the Yankees/Jays game.  I enjoy watching the Yankees lose, regardless of whether it directly impacts the Red Sox – I make no secret of this.  So I’m enjoying the lopsided score in favor of Toronto and as I settle in, a brawl starts at home plate.  It’s funny, but unless they’re playing the Red Sox, I never anticipate a fight starting during a Yankees game this year – and because I hadn’t seen any of the game prior to the fight, I didn’t see this one coming either (the guys on the Toronto feed did, though!).  I’m going to let Colin Stephenson of the Star-Ledger break it down for us:

With Toronto leading 8-2 in the top of the eighth inning, Yankee pitcher Mark Melancon hit Toronto’s Aaron Hill in the back. Hill was the second Blue Jay batter hit in the game. In the bottom of the eighth, with the Jays up, 9-2, Jays reliever Jesse Carlson threw behind Posada, who was leading off the inning. Posada took exception, and walked out of the batter’s box, saying, “You don’t want to do that,” to Carlson as both dugouts and bullpens emptied. Order was restored, the game resumed, and Posada walked. He went to second on a single by Robinson Cano and scored on a hit by Brett Gardner. As Posada crossed home plate, he ran right past Carlson, who was backing up the play, and brushed the pitcher as he went by. Posada was ejected immediately, and a bewildered Carlson approached Posada, who charged the pitcher and ignited the brawl. Yankees manager Joe Girardi was accidentally punched by Toronto’s John MacDonald in the melee, and umpire Derryl Cousins said he was hit in the knee by a bottle of soda thrown from the stands.

I felt a tremendous amount of glee upon reading “Yankees manager Joe Girardi was accidentally punched by Toronto’s John MacDonald…”.  I’m not sure anyone would ACCIDENTALLY punch Joe Girardi.  Maybe that’s just me.  So the Yankees were throwing at the Jays because they were losing, the Jays retaliated and Jorge Posada decides to go after the pitcher not from the mound but as he’s scoring?  I’m actually quite disappointed in Posada.  Regardless of my affection for calling him Sid the Sloth, I actually considered him one of the more level-headed guys on the Yankees team.  What the hell was he thinking?  The number one team in the division doesn’t need to pick a fight with the team 26.5 games out of first place.  The Jays hit five home runs (two by rookie Travis Snider) last night – four of them before the fighting began. Once again, Joe Girardi’s Yankees look like bullies – if we can’t win the game we’ll start a fight.  Haven’t seen as much of that this year as we did last – so it did surprise me given the spot the Yanks are in right now.  Why risk the injuries and suspensions that could come with this?  6.5 games out of first, the Yanks are sitting pretty – but why mess with that?  Girardi defended Posada by saying it happened in the “heat of the moment”.  No, Joe.  Scoring on a hit is not the heat of any moment.  Posada knew exactly what he was doing and when Jesse Carlson had the nerve to go back at him (something John Kruk and others on ESPN criticized him for – nah, no Yankee favoritism there) he went ballistic.  I hope there is a nice, long and expensive suspension in Sid’s future.

We’re live-chatting tonight because when Paul Byrd’s on the mound we need all the support from each other that we can get!!!!  Join us, won’t you?

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