Tagged: Bob Costas

Ellsbury Returns To Fenway As Yanks Pester Lester

“The bad boy’s back
The bad boy’s back in town, oh yeah
The bad boy’s back
Don’t you shoot him down”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          – Asia

GAME 20

YANKEES 9, RED SOX 3

To Red Sox Nation, leaving the fold to play for the Yankees is tantamount to Benedict Arnold’s treachery during the Revolutionary War. They let Jacoby Ellsbury know it as he stepped into the batter’s box for his first at-bat. But Ellsbury quickly showed the Fenway Park faithful what they are missing in the leadoff spot and in centerfield.

Ellsbury was 2-for-5 with a double and a triple, scored two runs, drove in two runs and made a sensational sliding catch in center while Masahiro Tanaka pitched into the eighth inning as New York bedeviled Boston in front of a crowd of 37,041 and national television audience.

The Yankees frustrated and unnerved Jon Lester (2-3) for 4 2/3 innings, scoring eight runs (three earned) on 11 hits and four walks while Lester struck out seven.

Tanaka (3-0), in contrast, was cool, calm and in command as he held the Red Sox to two runs  –  on a pair of back-to-back homers by David Ortiz and Mike Napoli with one out in the fourth  –  on seven hits, no walks and he fanned seven to remain undefeated after posting a 24-0 record in his final season in Japan.

The Yankees rattled Lester from the beginning when Ellsbury ignored the boos  –  and a few cheers  –  to lace a ball to the wall in deep center that a fan reached into the field play to deflect and the umpires awarded Ellsbury a triple. Derek Jeter followed with an RBI single and the undoing of Lester began.

A combination of an A.J. Pierzynski passed ball and a Pierzynski throwing error allowed Jeter to advance to third. Jeter then scored on an RBI single by Carlos Beltran.

The Yankees added a pair of runs in the third when Alfonso Soriano slapped a double off the Green Monster and Mark Teixeira followed with a bloop single to right that scored Soriano. Brian McCann then scored Teixeira with a RBI double off the Monster that made it 4-0.

After Ortiz and Napoli homered to fool the fans into thinking they were actually back in the game, the Yankees chased Lester in the fifth with four unearned runs.

With Teixeira on second after he was walked and McCann on first with a single, Lester struck out Yangervis Solarte and Ichiro Suzuki. However, Napoli was unable to hold Brian Roberts’ lined drive in his glove at first base for the third out and Teixeira scored when the ball rolled into rightfield.

The Red Sox had an opportunity to end the inning if Grady Sizemore had thrown the ball to second base because McCann did not see Napoli lose the ball and he was walking off the field. But Sizemore threw home to try to get Teixeira as McCann scrambled back to second.

It was that kind of night for Lester and the Red Sox. Leave it to Ellsbury to make the his old team pay for the mistake.

He followed with a two-run double on Lester’s 118th and final pitch of the evening.

Jeter then greeted left-hander Chris Capuano with an RBI single into center and Ellsbury crossed the plate to make a 8-2 laugher.

Beltran capped the scoring in the eighth by blasting his fifth home run of the season with one out in the eight inning off right-hander Edward Mujica.

The Red Sox scored an “oh-by-the way” run in the ninth off Dellin Betances on a one-out double by Jonny Gomes and and two-out double off the bat of Xander Bogaerts that scored Gomes.

The 11 hits the Yankees nicked Lester with were the most hits he has given up to them in his career. Every Yankee starter with the exception of Solarte had at least one hit in the game.

The Yankees have won four of the first five meetings against the Red Sox this season.

With the victory the Yankees improved their record to 12-8 and the lead the American League East by one game over the Toronto Blue Jays. The Red Sox are 9-12 and in last place in the division.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Ellsbury, 30, proved to his former team he was worth the seven-year, $153-million contract he received from the Yankees. His hitting (.342), speed (leads American League with eight steals) and Gold-Glove defense in center are worth rewarding. The Red Sox two biggest weaknesses are their leadoff spot and the fact that centerfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is hitting .228. The fans can boo him all they want but as Bob Costas said on his call of the game for the MLB Network, “They are booing the laundry and not the player.”
  • Tanaka was a great contrast to his mound opponent Lester. While Lester fumed about hits that dropped in, hard-hit balls off the Monster and the strike zone of home-plate umpire Quinn Wolcott, Tanaka did not show any emotion at all and looked to be in command at all times. For all his hype, Lester’s career ERA is 3.73 and his WHIP is a staggeringly high 1.30. He also showed the Yankees you can rattle him. Tanaka proved pretty much the opposite.
  • Want to hear a stunning stat about Jeter? In the past 11 games that he has played he has at least one hit in all of them. In fact, he has only failed to get a hit in two of the 14 games in which played this season. His 2-for-4 night raised his season average to .298. Anybody really think he is washed up at age 39?

NAGGING NEGATIVES

On a night where the Red Sox had their ace pounded for 11 hits, the Yankees’ imported free agent from Japan made them look silly on his split-finger fastball and Ellsbury laid it on his former club there is nothing that I can say that would be close to being negative. The world is just a better place when the Yankees put the Red Sox in their place  –  last.

BOMBER BANTER

The Yankees activated closer David Robertson from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday and outrighted left-hander Cesar Cabral to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make room on the roster. Robertson has been sidelined sidelined since April 6 with a strain in his left groin. With Robertson’s reinstatement, Shawn Kelley will move back into the eighth inning setup role after saving four games in four chances filling in as the closer.  . . .  An MRI on Tuesday indicated that right-hander Ivan Nova has a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and he likely will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. The recommendation for surgery came from Dr. Christopher Ahmad, the team’s physician. The recovery time for the surgery is 12 to 18 months.

ON DECK

The Yankees will continue their three-game road series with the Red Sox on Wednesday.

Right-hander Michael Pineda (2-1, 1.00 ERA) will start for the Yankees. Pineda is coming off six innings of shutout baseball to defeat the Chicago Cubs last Wednesday. He gave up four hits and one walk while he struck out three. Pineda also defeated the Red Sox on April 10, yielding just one run on six hits in six innings.

Pineda will be opposed by veteran right-hander John Lackey (2-2, 5.15 ERA). Lackey has been pounded for 12 runs on 20 hits and four walks in 11 innings in his past two starts against the Yankees (April 12) and the Baltimore Orioles on Friday. It is the first time in his career he has given up as many as 10 hits and six earned runs in two consecutive starts.

Game-time will be 7:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally by ESPN and locally by the YES Network.

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Caray’s Anti-Yankee Bias Ruins TBS Broadcasts

COMMENTARY


I was not going to write this. I figured the Yankees swept the Twins three straight and I should be happy about it and let bygones be bygones.
But there it was spinning around and my head and I just have to get this out. I am hoping that I can somehow get through to TBS once and for all.
First, let me state that I do not hate Chip Caray. From 1989 to 1998 he was the television play-by-play announcer for the Orlando Magic and I enjoyed his work on those basketball contests. He was obviously working from the Magic being the hometown team and colored his broadcast to favor the Magic in his telecasts.
His voice inflection would jump off the charts when the Magic did something good and it would trail lower when the other team did something good. It was natural because the telecasts were for local markets and the majority of people watching them were Magic fans.
I guess that is why I was attuned to this Caray “voice inflection” thing as the Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees squared off in the American League Division Series. So I was waiting to see how Caray would call these games with Ron Darling as his color analyst.
What I heard made me have to mute huge portions of the three games he called for the network. The reason was a very obvious “anti-Yankee bias” he had throughout the series. I know there are going to be people who say “Whoa, you Yankee fans are too sensitive. I did not notice any of that.”
But rather than try to argue whether there was or was not any bias, take this test that will prove my point. Go to MLB.com’s video highlights of Sunday’s game. Play any of the good Twins’ highlights like Joe Mauer’s RBI single or Nick Punto’s eighth inning double. Check out the excited tone in Caray’s voice.
Now play the RBI singles by the Yankees in the ninth inning by Jorge Posada and Robinson Cano. Notice how matter-of-fact and how droll Caray’s delivery is. 
I know that if you hooked this up to one of those expensive computer voice recorders you will see that Caray could not help being excited when the Twins did anything positive and how disappointed he seemed when the Yankees did something good.
Caray really showed himself on Sunday night after Carl Pavano left the game after giving up the two home runs that gave the Yankees the lead. 
He said “What a wonderful game Pavano pitched tonight.” True enough. I have no problem with that but he failed to mention that Pettitte had pitched better because he stood to be the winning pitcher.
Only when Darling piped up about Pettitte’s effort later did Caray acknowledge that Pettitte pitched well also. Later he said Pettitte was better. Well, Chip, which is it?
Did Pavano pitch better than Pettitte? Or were they equals? Or was Pettitte better?
Considering Pettitte won the game I am going with Pettitte and it only took Caray three on-air tries before he finally admitted the obvious.
Having heard Chip do basketball, I can see that is really his element. I assume because of his lineage as the grandson of Harry and the son of Skip, Chip is pretty much pigeon-holed as a baseball announcer now. 
That is a shame because he obviously does not do much homework on the players and teams in the playoffs. It also leads to some embarrassing mistakes during the broadcasts. He also does not spend much time talking to the players, coaches and managers because he offers no insight on them either.
But the most annoying aspect of Caray’s work is that bias.
Think about this. Who watches playoff baseball games? The fans of the two teams and hardcore baseball enthusiasts who may like other teams but love to watch these dramatic October contests.
So if you were a network baseball announcer would you blatantly root for a team like most all of the Fox broadcasters do for their local teams during the regular season? Of course not. Why alienate half your audience? 
Chip Caray could have started the broadcast by saying “Hello from Yankee Stadium and I am sure all of you are hoping that these Cinderella Twins can just find a way to beat the big-payroll bad guys from the Bronx.”
Of course, at least Chip would be honest with his true feelings. 
No, the announcers have to try to hide their bias because their audience is homogenized and the games have to be called down the middle like Vin Scully does with the Dodgers or Bob Costas did this season on MLB Network. 
But some announcers are better at hiding bias than others. All I am saying is Chip Caray was pretty horrible at hiding it and it forced me to mute the game because I could clearly see what was going on and I did not want to hear any shilling for the Twins.
TBS, I know you will never fire Chip because you feel you owe him so much after his dad and Ernie Johnson Sr. did the Braves so well for so many years. But all I am asking is that he work on calling games more down the middle in the future.
I think that would be a reasonable request.
“Oh my, what a sensational series those Yankees had against Minnesota. They thoroughly destroyed the Twins from a pitching, power and fundamentals standpoint. They really deserved to win this series from this sadly outgunned and sloppy Twins team.”
See, Chip, two can play this bias game.