Last night the Yankees took the rubber match of the three-game set as Curtis Granderson made a name for himself in Yankee land with his excellent play during the opening series of the season.
The game was slow at first with neither team really getting to the starters. Andy Pettitte did give up a run on a David Ortiz RBI-single (I wonder if that will get the media off his back) in the third, but aside from that he was solid and so far he has had the best performance of the top three. His six innings didn't come easy. Still he made pitches when he needed to and got the ball to the bullpen.
As it turns out, the Yankee bullpen last night consisted entirely of Chan Ho Park. Two days ago that would have seemed to be a nightmare in the making, but Park delivered with authority. He pitched three dominant innings until Granderson finally broke the deadlock against Jonathan Papelbon. It turns out that Park was under the weather with the flu for the first two days of the season and that probably effected his play on Sunday night. His three innings last night most likely assuaged a lot of fears in Yankeeland after his blow up in game one.
Lackey was solid for the Red Sox and would have gotten the win if not for poor pitch selection by Daniel Bard and Victor Martinez. Sports Illustrated had an interesting fact in it's preview issue regarding Martinez and his handling of the staff compared to backup Jason Varitek.
Last season the Sox staff had an ERA of 5.22 when Martinez caught them and 3.87 when Varitek did. Now I don't think it is possible for the Sox to have ERA over five for an entire season, but I also think it a bit odd that Theo Epstein would make such an effort to improve the Red Sox defense at third, short and center but then ignore the hole behind the plate.
The bullpens were the difference in the series. While the Sox only gave up two more runs than the Yankee relievers, but they also walked eight compared to only two for New York.
If I were to have one problem with the way the Yankees attacked this series, it would have to be Girardi's managing of the running game. Perhaps he didn't want to push the legs of his team this early in the season, but Martinez couldn't throw out my grandmother. The Boston catcher threw out just 14 percent of base runners last year. Perhaps when the teams meet in May the Yankees will exploit that weakness a little more.