When Tito made the move to bring in Justin Masterson with bases loaded in the seventh to face A-Rod, my hand automatically reached for the remote. Everybody Loves Raymond had to be on somewhere. I personally would have yanked MDC one batter earlier and brought in Oki to face Abreu. Don’t get me wrong, I think Masterson has been “the man” since moving to the pen, second only to Paps in reliability. But we’re talking about a bases loaded situation in Yankee frickin’ Stadium, with Alex Rodriguez at the plate, and despite my growing man-love for Justin, he’s just a kid. Then the camera zoomed in for a close-up as Masterson looked in for the sign, and I knew Tito made the right move. The look in Masterson’s eyes was…Papelbon-esque. He knew he was getting A-Rod out. At that moment, I knew he was getting A-Rod out. And I think A-Rod knew it too.

A-Rod spent the entire game adding to what I call his “automatic transmission” reputation – no clutch. His 0-for-5 effort included a strikeout to end the first, a double-play to end the third, a fly-out with two on in the fifth, the bases loaded double-play in the seventh, and another strikeout to end the game. Oh, and an error at third. The always supportive fans in the Bronx booed A-Rod with growing passion after each at-bat.

Tim Wakefield started things off, going five innings for the win on his first outing off the DL. He looked pretty good with the exception of Johnny Damon, who, after reading Hitting the Knuckleball for Dummies, smacked two solo shots off of Wake. Okay, someone actually read the book out loud to Johnny, but it looks like some of it sunk in. Other than that, Timmy looked like he might be ready for some October baseball.

A couple of relief pitcher observations:

  • When Okajima was pitched the eighth, it looked like he was trying to pass a kidney stone.
  • The Yankee media guide claims they promoted Chris Britton from Triple-A Scranton when in fact, they picked him up last weekend after he pitched a Sunday beer-league softball game representing the Queens County Deli and Pinkie Ring franchise.

The win was big for the Sox, as they gained a game on the Rays who fell to Doc Halladay and the Jays. The loss was bigger for the pinstripes who are now on life-support for even a wild card spot. This evening, a game that will be talked about as the final night game the Sox will play in Yankee Stadium!, features Byrd against Ponson. I like our chances.