This was pool night, so I got to witness another typical Randy Johnson start from a great remove--about four tables over, and at an angle that made it hard to see the screen. The one thing I could sense was that both teams were scoring easily and often. The one time that I interrupted my match to check out the game, the score was 5-4, Red Sox, which means it must have been some time in the fourth inning.
What is it with Randy and surrendering five runs? It feels like that's all he does anymore (ed note: a quick check of Randy's starts on MLB.com shows he's only allowed 5 runs in a game twice this season). At least last year, when he was pitching badly, Johnson ate innings. These days, you get five or six innings out of him, and they're crappy innings to boot.
By the time I was done with my match, the Yanks were up, 8-6, and Kyle Farnsworth was on the mound, facing the bottom of the Red Sox lineup. Willie Mo Pena had reached on an error by Kelly Stinnett, and Alex Gonzalez singled on Farnsworth's slider. And I was beating my head on the poolhall bar because why on Earth would Farnsworth throw his slider at the #9 hitter?
Farnsworth must have heard my loudly-muttered curses, because the next batter, Kevin Youkilis, got nothing but heat, and went back to the dugout extra-crispy. But then, against #2 batter Mark Loretta, things went nuts again, as Farnsworth now lost control of the fastball. Full count walk, to bring Big Papi to the plate, bases loaded.
Nothing like that to give a Yankee fan a sense of his own mortality.
Ron Villone had been warming in the Yankee bullpen, in preparation for Ortiz coming to the plate. He was standing, ready to come into the game. But, incredibly, Joe Torre made no move to remove Farnsworth. The most fearsome lefty batter in the American League, and Torre was going to let blockhead Kyle face him.
Farnsworth's first pitch was a slider, which Ortiz took for a strike. After Farnsworth missed the strike zone trying to replicate that pitch, Ortiz waged a battle against Farnsworth's heater, fouling off pitch after pitch, until Farnsworth froze him again with the slider.
That was the game. La Chiquita, who waited with me through this sequence, smiled at the end and said, "Well, that was exciting!" She calls it exciting. I nearly needed a defibrilator. Mariano took the mound the following inning, with Ramirez leading off--and therefore unable to tie or win the game on his own. It turned out to be a 1-2-3 inning, the Yanks taking the rubber game of the series against the Sox. Thus, they earn their first off-day in 16 days, before returning to the Stadium to face the Royals.