Yankees elimination is one to relish

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Yankees elimination is one to relish

People will tell you they are a classy organization. Media talking heads will say that all they do is win. Their fans will tell you that youre just jealous of all the championships. All those things may in fact be true, but watching the Yankees crash and burn in spectacular fashion is still oh so glorious.

Last nights season ending pinstripe defeat was sweeter than most. After they were granted a rainy stay of execution, the 2012 version of the Evil Empire was swiftly and emphatically swept from the playoffs by a surging Detroit Tigers team. After dealing the Bombers an 8-1 drubbing in the clinching game, the Tigers were showered with champagne and the Detroit ground crew kept the tarp ready in case of any Waldman related precipitation.

Ok before I go any further, lets get the obvious out of the way. Yes, the Red Sox season ended sometime right after the press conference that named Bobby Valentine as manager. Yes, the 2012 Red Sox were the baseball equivalent of that 50 foot dead whale floating around Boston Harbor. Long dead and bloated, they floated aimlessly though the season slowly decomposing. Yes, next year will probably end up being the bridge year that fans didnt want to stomach in 2010. And yes, as Comcast SportsNet's Mike Giardis report from an anonymous Red Sox illustrates, even after the in season removal of a quarter billion of bad attitudes, there is still some clubhouse cleaning that needs to be done. To put it simply, the 2012 Red Sox were historically bad.

This years Yankees, on the other hand, soldiered though a successful if unspectacular run to the American League East title while surviving a late season push by the resurgent Orioles as well as numerous injuries, not the least of which was a season-ender to all-time great closer Mariano Rivera.

Unfortunately for the Yankees and their fans, thats pretty much where the highlights end. Yes the Yankees did win a thrilling five game divisional series with Baltimore, but if the Os had someone to close games other than Byung-Hyun Johnson, New York would have been done in 4 games and the plans for Raul Ibanez to be canonized as the patron saint of pinch hitting would never have made it to the Vatican.

The Pope wont have to worry about commissioning any stain glass windows commemorating the Yankees performance in the ALCS. Last rights are now overdue as the Detroit Tigers demolished a Yankee team in offensive shambles. Batting ineptitude that harkened back to the late 80s versions of the Bombers was the story of this series, which suited Curtis Granderson fine as hes been perfecting his Steve Balboni impression all season. Even the Williamsport-like confines of New Yankee Stadium proved insufficient to artificially animate this slumping Yankee lineup. But they did prove intimate enough to allow Alex Rodrigez to grab some digits as he alternated between riding pine and lowering the Yankees carbon footprint as a right-handed wind farm.

It got even worse for the pinstripes as the almost immortal Yankee captain, Derek Jeter, was felled by a freak ankle fracture. Till this point in his career Jeter has been the baseball version of Dorian Grey, seemingly ageless. But a routine grounder combined with an already weakened ankle, and Jeter having less range than Michael Cera painted the portrait of the Captain's mortality. (And before I get added to Dan Shaughnessys anonymous axis of internet evil, like Rivera, I hope Jeter recovers fully and returns. I have nothing but respect for both players and hope they end their careers on their own terms, which will include a standing ovation in their last appearance at Fenway.)

Its only fitting that after the heart and soul of the Yankees was carried off the field that the rest of the team collapsed like a house of cards, but not before adding delicious insult to unfortunate injury.

As a result of trailing a series three games to none, the Yankees and their fans were forced, once again, to revisit the darkest moment in franchise history. Every time a team trails a seven game series three games to none, in any sport, the footage of the 2004 Red Sox come from behind series victory gets rolled out. Its the gift that keeps on giving for Sox fans. Now Yankee fans were not only subjected to reliving the worst choke in sports history, but forced to read from Yankees scribe Jeff Bradley of the New Jersy Star-Ledger about how the Yankees themselves should watch Four Days in October and embrace the mantra of Kevin Millar Dont Let us win tonight.

The Yankees must have just fast forwarded to the end of that documentary because their game four performance was a carbon copy of game seven of the 2004 ALCS. The ace Hessian of the Yankees staff falters under pressure and the Bombers are ushered out of the post season in blowout fueled by a barrage of home runs.

This is truly a Yankee defeat to relish, not only for its magnitude, but because the outlook for New York next season is uncharacteristically grim. CSNNEs Sean McAdams Yankee post mortem might as well have been written on the walls of a Mayan temple. If half of the quatrains in McAdam's piece hold true, the Yankees wont have to worry about embarrassing playoff attendance for some time.

Personally, the thought of not being able to witness the Yankees squander hundreds of millions of dollars in cataclysmic post season fashion, is a bit depressing, but as we know, all good things must come to an end. Right Suzyn?

Red Sox injury updates: Holt, Rodriguez returns still uncertain

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Red Sox injury updates: Holt, Rodriguez returns still uncertain

BOSTON -- The return dates for both Eduardo Rodriguez and Brock Holt remain uncertain.

Holt visited with concussion specialist Micky Collins in Pittsburgh the last two days and is returning to Boston Tuesday night.

The Red Sox placed him on the seven-day DL last week when he began experiencing symptoms associated with a mild concussion, following an incident on the last homestand when he went to dive for a ball at second and felt some whiplash in the neck.

"He went through a battery of tests in Pittsburgh,'' said John Farrell. "After a full workup with Micky there, we feel like there's a very detailed plan in place. He'll begin some general conditioning when he gets back. He's still dealing with some symptoms, minor as they might be, and in the coming days, baseball activity will start. [But] we're going to miss him for a little bit.''

Holt clearly won't be ready to return this week.

"He's going to need some time to get back to game speed for us,'' confirmed Farrell. "But we don't feel like this is a real long-term type of scenario.''

As for Rodriguez, the question of a return date to the major-league rotation remains something of an open question.

"He came out of last night's start in pretty good shape,'' reported Farrell of Rodriguez's seven-inning, one-run performance for Pawtucket on Tuesday. "He's set to throw his bullpen [Thursday] and right now tentatively set (to pitch) for Pawtucket on Sunday, but we obviously have the ability to adjust if needed or if we choose to do so.

"I don't know that we're there to say where it's definitively going to be next. Over the coming few days, we'll certainly map them out with Eduardo first and foremost. If it's (with the big-league club), it obviously won't be until early next week at the [earliest]. We're still working through some things on that.''

Wednesday's Red Sox-Rockies lineup: Ramirez back at first base

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Wednesday's Red Sox-Rockies lineup: Ramirez back at first base

BOSTON -- Hanley Ramirez had to come out of Tuesday night's game after getting hit in the foot with a pitch, but fears that he'd be sidelined for a while were unfounded.

Ramirez is back in the lineup tonight, at first base and batting fifth as always, as the Red Sox host the Rockies in the second game of a three-game series. In addition, Travis Shaw -- who was held out of Tuesday's starting lineup because of a minor hand injury but who came in as Ramirez's replacement after the HBP -- is back at third base, hitting seventh.

Jackie Bradley Jr. has been moved up to sixth as John Farrell continues to search for ways to make sure Bradley isn't pitched around. Bradley will be attempting to extend his hitting streak to 29 tonight.

The lineups:

ROCKIES:
Charlie Blackmon CF
DJ LeMahieu 2B
Nolan Arenado 3B
Carlos Gonzalez RF
Mark Reynolds 1B
Gerardo Parra LF
Ryan Raburn DH
Tony Wolters C
Cristhian Adames SS
---
Chat Bettis P

RED SOX:
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Travis Shaw 3B
Ryan Hanigan C
Blake Swihart LF
---
Steven Wright P

McAdam: Just like old times for Red Sox at Fenway

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McAdam: Just like old times for Red Sox at Fenway

BOSTON -- The last two seasons, tourists weren't the only ones eager to visit Fenway Park. Opponents, too, couldn't wait to get to the old ballpark.

In 2015, the Red Sox barely finished above .500 at home (43-38). In 2014, their performance at Fenway was truly troubling -- 34-47, worse than they were away from home.

The days of juggling rotations to avoid unfavorable matchups against the Red Sox in Boston were a distant memory. It didn't much matter who pitched at Fenway. The Red Sox weren't much to worry about.

That's not the case in 2016, however. Overall, the Sox are 17-9 at home this season. Since April 24, they're 12-2.

And they're not just winning at home; they're bludgeoning other clubs into submission. Since the start of the season, the Red Sox are averaging 6.73 runs per game at Fenway Park . . . and over the last 18 games, they've pumped that average up to exactly eight runs per outing.

In 11 of their last 13 home games, they've scored at least six runs and pounded out 11 or more hits.

So it was, again, Tuesday that the Red Sox kicked off a three-game set with the Colorado Rockies with another eight-run performance.

A decade after the PED era crested, the Red Sox are putting up late 1990s/early 2000s offensive numbers at home.

"Our roster, our personnel has changed,'' said John Farrell after the 8-3 win over the Rockies in explaining the surge in Fenway offense. "We've added young, energetic, athletic guys that are able to go first-to-third, which is key in this ballpark because a man at second base in not always a guaranteed run on a base hit, particularly to the left side of the field.

"It's an all-field approach. That's the other thing. This has historically been a great doubles ballpark. Our hitting approach plays to that. The combination of those two things is the reason why.''

Indeed, the numbers bear all of that out. When it comes to their numbers at home, the Red Sox lead the league in runs scored, doubles, hits, total bases, batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage and OPS.

They've scored 175 runs at home; that's 59 more than the next-best team (Texas) has scored in its home ballpark.

Why, the Red Sox even lead the league in home triples (seven), evidence of how much more athletic they've become.

Farrell's right to point out the improved athleticism. Once more on Tuesday night, Xander Bogaerts scored from first base on a double by David Ortiz, something Bogaerts has seemingly done several times a week at Fenway this season.

The ability to take an extra base or two extends big innings and puts further pressure on an opponent.

When slow-footed catcher Christian Vazquez is rifling a ball to the triangle and ending up on third with a triple -- as was the case Tuesday -- then you know that things have changed at Fenway.

Chili Davis, the Red Sox hitting instructor, has been preaching the importance of using the entire field, and hitters are listening. On Tuesday, Ortiz slapped a single through the shortstop hole against the shift in the first for a two-run single.

Then, two innings later, Ortiz pulled a ball into the right-field corner for two more runs.

It's like that night after night, game after game for the Red Sox. The hits and runs pile up, and the wins follow.

The Sox are advised to take full advantage now of a schedule that is decidedly home-friendly in the first half of the season. In August and September, they'll will play the vast majority of their games on the road.

For now, though, there are plenty of games lined up at Fenway . . . an opportunity to keep the offensive numbers surging and the opponents cowering.