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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Don't Look Now But The Red Sox Are The Best Team in MLB

On paper, one of the only things the Red Sox seem to lack this season is a true ace. Don't tell that to Jon Lester (14-9) though who has been pitching like one for the his last eight starts: he's held opponents to three earned runs or less in each successive outing. This afternoon, he did the impossible-keeping a Red Sox-Yankees game well under three hours (2:43) as Boston (91-59 overall, 49-25 home) beat New York (79-70 overall, 35-39 away) 5-1 at Fenway Park.

Truth be told, this wasn't exactly a vintage Yankee lineup as Alfonso Soriano was a late scratch with a thumb injury, Mark Reynolds batted second and the steroid riddled corpse of A-Rod batted cleanup. Regardless, Lester was brilliant: he went eight innings and allowed one earned run on three hits with five strikeouts and two walks.

CC Sabathia (13-13) has morphed into just another guy which is shocking when you consider the absurd amount of innings he used to throw every season and his ahem less than stellar conditioning. In six innings, the Red Sox touched him up for six earned runs on nine hits with five strikeouts and four walks. New York certainly won't regret the bloated contract they gave him.

Boston got to work early as they scored all five of their runs by the fifth inning. Will Middlebrooks drove in Mike Napoli (2 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks) in the second for the first Red Sox run and a 1-0 advantage. David Ortiz knocked in Dustin Pedroia with an RBI double in the third and Jonny Gomes (double, 2 walks) singled in Ortiz.

Robinson Cano provided the only Yankee run with a ground out in the fourth but New York was held to just three hits and two walks. Curtis Granderson doubled, tripled and scored the run. Shane Victorino (2 for 3, double, stolen base) made it 4-1 with an RBI single in the home half of the fourth then Daniel Nava wrapped it up with a sacrifice fly in the fifth.

You knew it was Boston's day when Franklin Morales had a 1-2-3 9th inning on 12 pitches. The Yankees must have planned late lunches on Newbury Street or something with the lack of fight that they exhibited in such a must-win for them.

The Red Sox already clinched another series victory but they can sweep the Yankees tomorrow night (8:05, ESPN) as unbeaten Clay Buchholz (10-0) takes on Ivan Nova (8-4). Who am I kidding, we'll all be watching 49ers-Seahawks on Sunday Night Football. Boston has planned a pregame ceremony for Yankees closer Mariano Rivera but what better way to send him into retirement than stomping on their ill-fated postseason dreams? PS I bet you hadn't heard that he was retiring.

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