After a three-game sweep of the Indians at the stadium the Yankees were confident heading into their weekend series with the arch rival Red Sox'. Optimism would quickly transform into a state of panic as New York was outplayed brutally by Boston and was unable to salvage one victory in the series.
Many people can use the excuse that the Sox had their three best pitchers [Schilling, Beckett and Matsuzaka] lined up against Pettitte, Karstens and Wright, but despite who the Yankees throw out there they are expected to be victorious. The starting rotation was not aided by a poor performance by Mariano Rivera and the rest of the bullpen.
Rivera imploded in the bottom of the eighth Friday night as he surrendered two runs and three hits in two-thirds of an inning. His ERA now stands at an inflated 8.44 and his record is 1-2 after his second blown save of the season. If Mo continues to struggle the Bronx Bombers have no chance of overtaking the Red Sox and winning the division. With the abundance of talent in the AL New York might possibly be on the outside looking in come playoff time. I still expect Rivera to rebound and for the Yankees to reach the playoffs and possibly return to the World Series.
Saturday afternoon Jeff Karstens made his season debut for the Yanks and allowed seven runs over 4.1 innings. David Ortiz lit up Karstens for a 2-run double and a 2-run home run. Surprisingly, the Yankees bullpen kept Boston's sluggers at bay for the rest of the evening as they pitched 3.2 innings of shut out baseball. In the end, the Yankees fell to Boston for the second straight game by the score of 7-5.
In an attempt to salvage the third game of the series the Yankees preserved their mark in the record books. Unfortunately, this is a record that Joe Torre and his players are not proud of. In his second career major league start, Chase Wright surrendered four consecutive home runs to the Red Sox' hitters. Manny Ramirez started the hit parade with a blast to left field and he was followed by J.D. Drew, Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek. In a span of 10 pitches Wright's pitching career was changed forever.
Entering Monday, the Yankees stand four games out of first place. New York has 147 games remaining on the schedule and while fans will begin to worry about their early season lack of success, I don't begin to get concerned until August when the games start to carry some merit.