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Russell Martin and David Robertson made history this past weekend at Fenway.Our weekly look at the ups, downs, and everything-in-between from the past week
The Red Sox and Yankees kicked off their rivalry last Friday with a three-game series in Boston. Although the Yankees arrived in Beantown to face a Red Sox team that had lost its first six games of the season, a win by the team from the Bronx was far from guaranteed.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this was the 28th time that the Red Sox had begun their home schedule with a game against the Yankees, and after Boston’s 9-6 win, the Red Sox have now won the last eight such games. The last time the Yankees enjoyed a win against the Red Sox in their Fenway opener was 1960.
The Yankees bounced back from that loss with a 9-4 win on Saturday thanks to a two-homer, four-RBI game from Russell Martin. Martin became the first Yankee in the Live Ball Era (since 1920) to hit at least two homers from the bottom spot in the order against the Red Sox. The last Yankee to do it in any game was Shelley Duncan in 2007 during a 21-4 rout of the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays.
David Robertson got the win on Saturday, throwing 1 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of Ivan Nova. Robertson, who celebrated his 26th birthday that day, also joined Martin in the record books. A quick search using Baseball-Reference.com’s Play Index tool, we learn that Robertson is the only Yankee in the last 90 seasons to earn a win against the Red Sox on his birthday.
The Yankees lost the rubber game of the series 4-0 on Sunday night, as Josh Beckett dialed back the clocks to 2003 with a dominating 10-strikeout, two-hit gem. Beckett nearly made history himself, joining Ray Culp in 1968 and Pedro Martinez in 1999 as the only Boston pitchers in the Live Ball Era to strike out at least 10 batters and allow two or fewer hits against the Yankees.
The team had just four baserunners in that game (two hits, a walk and a hit by pitch). It was only the third time in the last 30 seasons the Yankees failed to get more than four guys on base at Fenway Park. The previous two times came in back-to-back losses in June during the forgettable 95-loss 1990 season.
A.J. Burnett, Yankee Career
Following an off-day on Monday and a Tuesday rainout, the Yankees opened their series against the Fighting Showalters (a.k.a. the Baltimore Orioles) with a 7-4 win at the Stadium on Wednesday. A.J. Burnett once again lived up to his moniker of Mr. April as he improved to 8-0 in the month as a Yankee. The Elias Sports Bureau tells us that the only other Yankee starter to win his first eight April decisions with the team was Tommy John from 1979-81.
Both Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada homered in the series-opening win over the Orioles, the seventh time in the team’s first 10 games that the Yankees have gone deep twice in a game. The only other years that the Bombers have had seven multi-homer games within the first 10 games of the season was in 2003 and 1932.
As good as Burnett has been in April, Phil Hughes has been as bad. After giving up five runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Orioles on Thursday, Hughes actually lowered his ERA to 13.94. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that he now has three straight starts allowing at least five runs and pitching fewer than five innings in each start. Only two other Yankees over the last 90 seasons have started a season like that: Brian Boehringer in 1995 and Chien-Ming Wang in 2009.
Prior to Thursday’s walk-off win against the Orioles, the Yankees had played 10 games. Their 6-4 record in those first 10 games might not sound like a start that will lead them to their 28th World Series title, but consider this nugget: the last time the Yankees began a season with exactly six wins in their first 10 games was 1998 -- a year that saw the team set a franchise record with 114 wins and finish with a sweep of the Padres in the World Series.
Katie Sharp is a researcher with ESPN Stats & Information