Round 3 Survival
The last regular season meeting between the Yanks and Red Sox is now "history," as they say, the rubber game going to NY, 4-3. For the most part it was a well-pitched game featuring two veterans, Clemens and Schilling, both showing they have good stuff left. There were some fielding gems, including several odd races for first base won by Mientkiewicz and Clemens with no more than centimeters to spare each time; HRs by Lowell, Cano, and Jeter, the latter of which provided the margin of victory; Giambi redeeming himself for some questionable fielding at first base the last couple of outings, that got him taken out of the regular lineup for this game, with a key pinch base hit that ended up as a run scored after Jeter's HR; and an electric final confrontation between Rivera and Big Papi, with bases loaded and two outs, that could easily have ended with a walkoff but instead faded out with a gasping pop fly that barely made it out of the infield. Rivera clearly did not have his best stuff, and the Yanquis must have let out a collective sigh of relief as they exited Fenway. The Sox could have used a couple of runs from Saturday's victory, but it doesn't work like that. On the whole they outpitched and outhit NY for the series, but couldn't take it all to the bank.
What the Red Sox can take is that they lost only a small part of their lead in the Division; only another sweep by the Yanks could have had a significant effect on their relative positions. What the Yankees can take is that they lost a game of their lead over Detroit, which has won five in a row, but no more than that. Any relief the Yanks might have felt last last night must be purely momentary. They need to keep winning, because the Tigers are on their tails.