Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Yankees Demolish Boston For 18th Division Title

24 hours after Raul Ibanez nearly single-handedly kept the Yankees in first place, the team clinched the AL East with a 14-2 blow out win over the Boston Red Sox.

The Yankees actually captured their 18th AL East title before their game ended when the Baltimore Orioles lost 4-1 to the Tampa Bay Rays. The win gave the Yankees the best record (95-67) and home field advantage throughout the AL playoffs. Their 51-30 mark at home was the best in all of baseball.

Unfortunately, that 51-30 show of excellence at home won't matter in the first round of the playoffs when the Yankees play either Texas or Baltimore. With the extra wild card "play-in" game, the Yankees open the playoffs on the road as Major League Baseball (aka Bud Selig) has gone back to a 2 (road) - 3 (home) format.  But back to Game 162.

Robinson Cano continued his torrid finish to the regular season with a pair of home runs, two singles, a walk, and 6 RBI. Curtis Granderson gave the Yankees the lead for good with a first inning, 3-run home run off Daisuke Matsuzaka and added a solo shot in the 7th to give him a career high 43 home runs.

Hiroki Kuroda won his career high 16th game with a solid 7 innings (2 ER allowed) and for a pitcher who didn't have much run support during the season, there was plenty to work with tonight. His counterpart and fellow countryman was not so fortunate.

Matsuzaka most likely ended his Boston career in ignoble fashion. The Japanese native was acquired by Boston prior to the 2007 season with a posting fee in excess of $51MM plus a six-year, $52MM contract that is set to expire shortly. He went 33-15 in his first two seasons (2007-2008) and finished fourth in the Cy Young voting in '08 with an 18-3, 2.90 ERA. But since then he was ineffective and often injured, and appeared in just 56 games in the last five years.

Dice-K retired the Yankees in order in the 1st and had a 1-0 lead, but Cano started the 2nd inning with a single and Nick Swisher followed with a walk. One batter later, Granderson began the onslaught with his first long ball of the night. In the 3rd Cano followed an Alex Rodriguez single with a 2-run shot for a 5-1 lead. When Swisher followed with a single, Bobby Valentine, likely also finished in Boston, ended his starter's night. The Yankees just rolled from that point on.

The Yankees actually had one less hit than Tuesday night's 16, when they scored only four runs, but they made the most of them. One of those hits was by Derek Jeter, who at age 38, led the Major Leagues in hits with 216.

Cano's 33 home runs set a career high and finished 24-39 (.615) over the last nine games to raise his average from .296 to .313.

No comments:

Post a Comment