So as things go the Yankees ripped on the Sox on Friday and then the Sox got their revenge on Saturday. Sunday was set up to be the rubber match on the series with both teams sending their aces to the mound. Everyone was expecting to see a scoreless duel between the major league leaders in wins, so of course it was another sloppy slugfest.
Well to be fair Sabathia was pretty much on point except for that rough little second inning he had, but really those were the only two runs he should have given up if the Yankees defense had simply remembered how to catch a pop up.
Either way, Sabathia out pitched Josh Beckett by a mile. Beckett was tagged for a career high in home runs, five, as the Yankees attacked him early in the count to avoid seeing any of his nasty breaking pitches. Not much else you can really say about it except that Beckett didn't adjust to the Yanks new strategy, although I'm sure he will have a completely new attack plan by the next time the Yanks see him.
The other star of the game and perhaps of the series (excluding Saturday's performance) was Hideki Matsui. Matsui had his knees drained in Seattle last weekend and every since he has been back to his mid-season form. He slammed four homers this series and has quietly been a big force in the middle of the Yankee lineup.
Obviously Matsui is near the end, but right now he is a big part of the Yankee lineup and he can still make pitchers pay for mistakes. Keeping him healthy for the playoffs will be a priority for Girardi down the stretch.
This win was big for the Yankees. Sure they would have still been safe with a 5.5 game lead, but taking two of three really buts another dagger in the division race and prevents the Sox from gaining any downward momentum towards the Yankees. It also keeps them looking over their shoulder at both the Rays and The even closer Rangers. It will be an interesting final month for the Sox to say the least.