I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion that in my opinion, when you want fair and balanced coverage of the Red Sox or the Yankees, you need to look no further than the Hartford Courant. The paper has a beat writer for each team, and neither of them suffer from the shortcomings that generally plague other writers in their respective locales.
Well, this morning, on the day of the final (and most important) Sox-Yanks matchup in the regular season in 2003, the Courant did something interesting. They have two articles side-by-side under the heading ‘Looking to the Opposite Field’:
Dom Amore is in his fourth year covering the Yankees for The Courant. David Heuschkel, who covers the Red Sox, is also in his fourth year. They each cover about 130 regular season games, so they know all about their teams. But they have seen 16 Yankees-Red Sox games this season and certainly have thoughts about the other team. So we did a little role reversal. Amore writes about this year’s Red Sox and Heuschkel tackles the Yankees.
Heuschkel, easily the most quoted journalist here at PSF.com, has the following bits about the Yankees in his article entitled ‘Yankees’ Hold On First Is Shaky’:
Despite all that has gone wrong, the Yankees have been at the top of the American League East for all but 11 days this season. Having spent all that time in first place you’d think the Yankees were closing in on another division title.
But unlike the past three years when August turned to September, the Yankees haven’t been able to pull away from the Red Sox.
It wasn’t that long ago – Aug. 20 – that the Yankees had a 71/2-game lead (eight in the loss column) over Boston. Just when the division race seemed a foregone conclusion, the Yankees allowed the Red Sox to creep back into it.
The recent comments by Torre in the New York Post, that this season “hasn’t been fun,” are also cause for concern. If the players didn’t sense it before, they certainly know it now. And that could have a negative effect.
To hear the even-keeled Torre declare a victory over the Red Sox last weekend in Boston the biggest win of the season made the manager sound uncharacteristically desperate – with a month to go.
Can anyone remember the last time a first-place Yankees team was desperate?
And believe it or not, Amore has a similar tone in his review of the Sox chances entitled ‘Is That Opportunity Knocking?’:
Let’s talk about two pitches: Brandon Lyon’s fourth ball to Jorge Posada on May 28 in New York, and Mariano Rivera’s third strike past Bill Mueller last Saturday at Fenway Park.
There have been other turning points, but right now, those two pitches represent just how close – and just how far away – the Red Sox are. Had those pitches gone the other way, the Red Sox would lead the season series 9-7 and be in first place. They’ve done just about everything this year, except beat the Yankees when it could have made all the difference.
…So for all the Red Sox’s hitting exploits, especially at home, they lost five of nine to the Yankees at Fenway Park. Last weekend, Manny Ramirez was a no-show, but so were several Yankees. Neither Jason Giambi nor Alfonso Soriano got a hit in the series, yet the Yankees took two of three. How? The Red Sox couldn’t get Nick Johnson or Enrique Wilson out.
This is not a vintage Yankees team, and they (the Sox) are playing tight.
Maybe the Red Sox, who joked last Sunday, despite falling 51/2 games back, about “having the Yankees where they wanted them,” finally realize it’s opportunity, not heartache, that has been pounding the door on Yawkey Way this year.
Both columns are good reads.
Also in the paper this morning is the fact that Jeter is not playing this weekend, and the Yanks called up NFL Backup QB Drew Henson. Also Erick Almonte is injured, so there is a pretty good chance that last year’s manager of the AA Norwich Navigators Luis Sojo will see some time. I wonder if that is the first time ever that a player and his former manager sit on the bench as teammates…
Unfortunately, it appears that Manny’s covert plan to infect Enrique Wilson with pharyngitis did not work, so the Pedro-killer will have more chances tonight.
Pedro vs. Pettite to start of this pretty significant series.