The Home Stretch
With the Red Sox and Yankees both losing to relative bottom feeders yesterday, nothing changed between them, but with Seattle continuing their winless skid, most recently against Toronto, NY has to look like the favorite to draw the AL Wild Card, regardless of whether they catch Boston or not. Not that they shouldn't try, of course, and they will have a chance to make real progress (or lose a lot of ground) when they head into Boston; but my preference would be to have both teams playing well going into the playoffs, and to meet there for another high energy post-season series. New York beat TB today, and I'm just waiting to see if the Sox can recover tonight against Baltimore.
So what about Joba Chamberlain? The head-throwing incident against Youkilis was replayed endlessly and discussed at great length on NESN last night. To their credit, Don Orsillo and the RemDog tried (as they generally do) to be objective while not betraying their devotion to Red Sox baseball. The conclusion seems to be that whatever was really behind the incident is a mystery. On the one hand, one can't get around how deliberate it looks on repeated viewing. On the other hand, it was utterly pointless, unlikely as a message, and kind of risky. Even with a decent lead, why would you risk putting anyone on base early in the ninth inning against the always dangerous Red Sox? As for whether it was right to chuck Chamberlain without warning after two throws, I think it was, and I say this as a diehard Yankees fan. I prefer baseball to beanball. The point was to make sure it didn't escalate. Whether it was deliberate or not, the umpire could not know for certain, but he was compelled to make a call based on what it could very well appear to be. And if there's even apparent head throwing in Boston later this month, I assume they'll be prepared to make the same call.