Yankees sweep, Red Sox get swept

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So much for momentum.

The Yankees finished off a sweep in Oakland with their 10th straight victory over the A’s on Wednesday, while the Red Sox lost their third in a row to the White Sox at home, giving the Bombers a two-game lead in the AL East.

The Red Sox, apparently worn out after a four-game series in Detroit that included a day-night doubleheader on Sunday, have lost four in a row to fall back to 30-26 on the season.  Before dropping the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader, they had won 13 of 15, a stretch that started when they swept the Yankees in New York on May 13-15.

Boston dropped Wednesday’s game 7-4 after Paul Konerko singled in the go-ahead run in the seventh and put the game away with a two-run homer in the ninth.  An apparent bad call by second-base umpire Marty Foster led to a two-run fifth inning for the White Sox, erasing what was a 3-1 lead for the Red Sox at the time.

On that play, Tim Wakefield picked Juan Pierre off first base, with Pierre continuing to second on the throw.  In the rundown, Dustin Pedroia appeared to perform a swipe-tag on Pierre for what would have been the third out of the inning.  Pedroia reacted as though there was a tag.  Pierre reacted as though there was a tag.  Foster, though, said no tag and refused to ask for help when the Red Sox argued.

The Yankees have won four in a row after dropping their first two games in Seattle last weekend.  Mariano Rivera finally got back into the save column with the 4-2 win on Wednesday.  He had gone three weeks without one since saving 13 of the team’s first 33 games.  He had just one opportunity during the span, blowing a 1-0 lead in a game against the Orioles on May 18.

Both the Yankees and Red Sox now have Thursday off.  The Yankees go to Anaheim to face the Angels on Friday, while the Red Sox will get their chance to take on the A’s in another series at Fenway.

Matthew Stafford audibles with “Kershaw! Kershaw!”

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Last night the Detroit Lions played the New York Giants. During the game Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford called an audible. The call itself referenced Stafford’s childhood friend and high school baseball teammate, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. From the Freep:

Matthew Stafford stepped to the line of scrimmage late in the third quarter and surveyed the Giants defense.

With five pass rushers across the front and three Giants cornerbacks showing a press-man look, Stafford looked at his two receivers to the left and invoked the name of his childhood friend, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

“Give me Kershaw here, Kershaw,” Stafford said, repeating his friend’s name two more times as he spun around at the line of scrimmage.

The audible did not result in a pick-4 to Aaron Altherr. It called for a run up the middle. And it worked nicely, gaining eight yards.

You may suggest the results of other starting pitcher-themed audibles in the comments. I’ll start: “Harvey! Harvey!” is where the QB fakes a handoff, drops back, looks deep and then his arm falls completely off. Damndest thing.

Matt Harvey has a 13.19 ERA since coming back from the disabled list

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Matt Harvey‘s season was mostly a loss due to extended time on the disabled list. He’s been given a chance, however, to end the season strong and make a case for himself in the Mets’ future plans. Unfortunately, he has been unable to make that case. He was shelled again last night, and his late season opportunity has been a disaster.

Last night Harvey gave up seven runs on 12 hits and struck out only two batters in four innings against a Marlins team that, until facing him anyway, had been reeling. It was his fourth start since going on the shelf in mid-June and in those four starts he’s allowed 21 runs, all earned, on 32 hits in 14.2 innings, for an ERA of 13.19. In that time he’s struck out only eight batters while walking seven. His average fastball velocity, while ticking up slightly in each of his past four starts, is still below 95. Back when he was an ace he was consistently above that. His command has been terrible.

Injury is clearly the culprit. He had Tommy John surgery just as he was reaching his maximum level of dominance in 2013. While he came back strong in 2015, he was used pretty heavily for a guy with a brand new ligament. Last year he was felled by thoracic outlet syndrome and this year a stress injury to his shoulder. Any one of those ailments have ended pitchers’ careers and even among those who bounce back from them, many are diminished. To go through all three and remain dominant is practically unheard of.

Yet this is where Matt Harvey is. He’s 28. He’s still arbitration eligible, for a team that is, to put it politely, sensitive to large financial outlays. While his 4-5 start opportunity to end the year may very well have been seen as a chance to shop Harvey to another team, his trade value is at an all-time low. It would not be shocking if, on the basis of his recent ineffectiveness, the Mets considered non-tendering him this offseason, making him a free agent.

Someone would probably take a chance on him because famous names who once showed tremendous promise are often given multiple chances in the big leagues (See, Willis, Dontrelle). But at the moment, there is nothing in Harvey’s game to suggest that he is capable of taking advantage of such a chance. All one can hope is that an offseason of rest and conditioning will allow Harvey to reclaim at least a portion of his old form.