Red Sox vs. Yankees - another barn-burner
Since May 18, 2003, a span of less than 2 calendar years, the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees have played 58 times. They've played 44 regular season games with the Red Sox leading 23-21. They've split 14 post-season games, with the Yankees winning a 7-game ALCS in 2003 and the Red Sox winning a 7-game ALCS in 2004.
There's a certain drama inherent in Yankee/Red Sox match-ups. But these two teams always seem to raise it a couple of notches. No lead is ever safe. And it's never easy. In the play-offs 2 years ago, we had the Pedro Martinez/Don Zimmer altercation and the brawl in the bullpens in Fenway. Last July, we had Jason Varitek and Alex Rodriguez instigating a benches-clearing brawl, in a game that the Red Sox eventually won on a walk-off home run against Mariano Rivera. In the play-offs last year, we had the riot squads on the field in New York. And tonight, we had Red Sox hitting coach Ron Jackson and Manager Terry Francona ejected by home plate umpire Greg Gibson (who had an awful night), and Gary Sheffield tangling with a fan in the right field stands. And when the dust had all cleared, the Yankees had taken 2 of 3 in New York, and the Red Sox had taken 2 of 3 in Boston.
Sheffield was fielding Jason Varitek's two-run triple along the right-field fence in the eighth inning of Boston's 8-5 victory Thursday night when a fan swung a short uppercut in his direction, appearing to graze the side of the slugger's face with his right arm.
I'm sorry - I don't see it. I've watched the replays several times, and I don't think that there's anything that looks remotely like an intentional swing at Sheffield. It may have been, but it sure doesn't look like it. It looks like he was leaning over to watch the play and lost his balance. Sheffield came very close to costing himself some games, but he stopped in time, and I don't think a suspension is warranted.
And now the teams are done with each other until May 27. They're tied at 4-5 each, 3 games behind the hot-starting Toronto Blue Jays. I would bet that they'll be first and second in the AL East when they meet again in May...