WHAT IT MEANS: It is on. The Rivalry has some juice. Thank you, Francisco Cervelli, you home-run-hitting hot dog, and John Lackey, who seems to have more anger than outs. Their little tangle Tuesday night after Cervelli's fifth-inning, one-clap bomb has added some life to a series that is basically about playoff seeding.
Lackey, apparently unhappy with Frankie's act, hit Cervelli in the back in the seventh. The benches slowly cleared. No punches were thrown, but pitching Larry Rothschild was tossed.
One of the players most mad was none other than CC Sabathia.
Sabathia was out of the game and didn't get a chance to retaliate, but he finally got a win against Boston. He needed a lot of pitches to get it done and, ultimately, that could mean more than anything that happened Tuesday. That is largely for another day.
WHAT'S GOOD: After going winless in his first four Red Sox starts with a 7.20 ERA, Sabathia survived six innings. He threw an incredible 128 pitches. Yankees manager Joe Girardi treated this game as much as a must-win as he one can in late August. When you look at the rest of the pitching matchups for this series (see below), you may understand the manager's thinking better. Sabathia gave up two runs on 10 hits, while striking out 10 and walking two.
What else? Boone (No Chance) Logan struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Darnell McDonald to end the seventh with the bases loaded. No Chance Logan has really turned his season around.
(We don't have those cool footnotes that Grantland.com has, so the reference is to Logan saying last time here that MVP candidate Adrian Gonzalez had "no chance" when they faced each other. Logan also struck out A-Gon. The statement was ridiculous by Logan, but is getting less so every time he comes to the Fenway mound, it seems.)
Eric Chavez, filling in for Alex Rodriguez, picked up two early RBI singles.
WHAT'S BAD: Sabathia's pitch count is something to watch. In his career, he has thrown 130 pitches before, but those were in complete games. Girardi loves babying his pitchers, but on Tuesday night he definitely didn't.
WHAT'S INTERESTING: Girardi got ejected in the ninth.
COMING ATTRACTIONS: Ian O'Connor on Sabathia. Wallace Matthews on the Rivalry. I'll be doing some video work with Gordon Edes from ESPNBoston.com. Plus, we have Bombers Beat coming Wednesday morning. "SportsCenter" and the rest of the networks might mention the near fight, I'm guessing.
WHAT IS NEXT: Phil Hughes tries out to remain in the rotation. At this point, it is hard to believe it won't be A.J. Burnett who gets the hook. However, if Hughes were to pitch poorly and Burnett well over the next two days, who knows? Hughes (4-4, 6.46 ERA) faces Josh Beckett (11-5, 2.43 ERA). Thursday, it is Burnett (9-11, 5.31) vs. Jon Lester (14-6, 3.09 ERA).
QUESTION OF THE NIGHT: Should the Yankees retaliate?
BONUS QUESTION OF THE NIGHT: Who was at fault? Cervelli or Lackey?