For the Yankees to have much of a chance this year, they’re going to have to rack up their runs without hitting a bunch of homers.
Their biggest rivals are showing them how its done.
On a bitterly cold Wednesday night in the Bronx, the Red Sox amassed 11 singles and two doubles to beat the Yankees 7-4. In two games, they’ve scored 15 runs without the benefit of a home run, and they’re now 2-0 for the first time since 1999.
Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda already seemed to be in the midst of an off night when he had the top of his fingers grazed by Shane Victorino’s liner through the middle in the top of the second. He remained in, but faced just four more batters, hitting two of them and walking another. He was then removed with an injury with the Yankees down 2-0.
The Red Sox added on from there, scoring four times off Cody Eppley in the third. The Yankees, meanwhile, totaled just one run in seven innings off Clay Buchholz. It was quite a change from the last time they saw him; last October 2, the Yankees torched Buchholz for eight runs in 1 2/3 innings, taking his season ERA from 4.22 to 4.56.
The Yankees did come back with three runs in the eighth on a line-drive homer from Vernon Wells off Alfredo Aceves. Still, it was too little, too late.
The Red Sox went out of their way to improve the clubhouse atmosphere over the winter, and while it’d be rather ridiculous to say that it’s paid off after two games, they have put together a couple of really impressive team efforts. Every Red Sox starter except Will Middlebrooks collected a hit tonight. The seven runs were driven in by six different players and scored by six different players. The one guy to score twice was Jackie Bradley Jr., who picked up his first major league hit when he singled in the sixth.
Scott Boras, you will not be surprised to hear, believes that the Yankees should sign Rafael Soriano. From Jon Paul Morosi’s latest:
“If the Yankees didn’t sign Soriano, they wouldn’t have won the AL East,” Boras said flatly. “This is the value of depth. If the Yankees signed Soriano (after the 2010 season) when Rivera was 40 and healthy, why wouldn’t you sign Soriano when Rivera is 42 and coming off knee surgery? … When you know Mariano Rivera will be there for only one more year — at his age, coming off an injury — you can’t expect him to be what he was two years ago. There is a need there. You want to secure a great talent for future years. Soriano has proven he can be effective in New York. The team knows more about him. His value has gone higher.”
There is good sense in there. And, yes, the Yankees may sign Rafael Soriano. Anything can happen. But just assuming they will sign the big name free agents because they have the money like they used to is to ignore their stated and, thus far, carried out goal of getting payroll down compared to where it used to be so as to avoid the luxury tax.
The alternative to Soriano is to go with Rivera, who is coming back, Dave Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan, Clay Rapada, and Cody Eppley, perhaps substituting one or two of them — or augmenting — with lower tier relievers and hoping that they can do what so many successful teams do and just capture lightning in a bottle on low price relievers.
Soriano would likely be a good pitcher for the next couple of years, but the make-do plan is not the worst plan in the world. Bullpens are crapshoots. And while there is no guarantee that Rivera is his old self when he comes back, the Yankees will start shooting craps from a pretty good position in 2013.
Derek Jeter suffered a fractured left ankle diving for a Jhonny Peralta grounder in the 12th inning of Saturday’s loss to the Tigers and will miss the rest of the postseason.
The Yankees were down 5-4 when Jeter ranged to his left in order to make a play. He grabbed the ball but tumbled down awkwardly and didn’t get up. In obvious pain, he was helped off the field without putting any weight on the leg.
With a clean break being the initial diagnosis, Jeter is expected to miss about three months, meaning he should be ready for spring training.
In Jeter’s absence, the Yankees will undoubtedly restore Eduardo Nunez to the roster for Sunday’s Game 2. Nunez took part in the ALDS, but he was replaced by reliever Cody Eppley prior to Saturday’s game, as the Yankees opted to go with 12 pitchers against the Tigers. Nunez will share time with Jayson Nix at shortstop the rest of the way.
Jeter was 1-for-5 with a walk and two strikeouts before departing tonight. Including the series against the Orioles, he was 9-for-24 (.375) with two RBI and three runs scored in October.
Jeter is the all-time postseason leader with 158 games played, 200 hits, 32 doubles and 111 runs scored.
See also: It’s just not the postseason without Derek Jeter.