The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry didn’t live up to the hype for Kerry Wood.
“You know, I think it was a little bit subdued this weekend,” the Yankee reliever said of the atmosphere at Yankee Stadium for the four-game series against the Red Sox. “…. I think it was a little bit low-key.”
Wood said the Yanks and Red Sox were “pretty much all business” during the series. After hearing so much about the “intense” atmosphere of The Rivalry, Wood was a little underwhelmed by what he saw first-hand.
“As far as the players and stuff going on in the stands fights and things like that it was tame,” said Wood, who pitched a scoreless seventh inning in relief of Phil Hughes.
UNFUL-PHIL-LED: Phil Hughes faced 12 hitters and threw 58 pitches in the first two innings of his Monday afternoon start against the Red Sox. It was 92 degrees when Hughes threw his first pitch and he said he “didn’t have much left in the tank” after the first two frames, in which he allowed two runs on five hits.
So Hughes simplified things in the third. He found his curveball and started to find the strike zone in that inning and went on to retire 14 of his final 15 hitters before being pulled for Wood in the seventh.
“I knew I had to change something; make an adjustment and get us some length. I was able to get on a pretty good run,” Hughes said. “Jon (Lester) was good today, so it wasn’t enough.”
Hughes (13-5, 3.92 ERA) lost for the fourth time in his last eight starts.
Hughes is also at 128.2 innings pitched on the season. The Yankees have Hughes on an innings limit for the year, believed to be around 175. If Hughes continues to throw every five days and pitches six innings per start, he will reach the 175-inning plateau on Sept. 18 at Baltimore.
So the Yankees will either have to skip Hughes periodically before the end of the year or put him in the bullpen in mid-September to keep him under 175 innings.
Hughes is 1-2 with an 8.04 ERA when pitching on six or more days rest this season.
He’s 8-3 with a 3.60 ERA when pitching on the standard four days rest.
If were up to Hughes, he would pitch every fifth day.
“That’s what I’m used to,” he said. “Just going out and getting the ball and doing my normal schedule.
“But if they feel like something needs to be adjusted in that way then that’s up to them.”
Hughes didn’t know if or when he’d be skipped in the future. He believes his struggles in starts following more than six days off are just coincidental.
“My first couple starts after that weren’t great, but I don’t think it was anything physical,” he said.
MISSED OPPORTUNITIES: The Yankees went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position on Monday and finished just 2-for-17 with runners on base.
Lester struck out Curtis Granderson with no out and the bases loaded in the seventh and Boston reliever Daniel Bard relieved Lester and struck out Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher to end the inning.
“The last pitch he threw me (was) 99 mph. It’s not supposed to move like that,” Swisher said.
The Yanks also left a runner at second in the eighth and ninth.
“We missed a lot opportunities in the last three innings,” Joe Girardi said. “Obviously they have a good back end of the bullpen but (we had) a shot.”
HOME GROAN:The Yanks finished 3-4 on their seven-game, eight-day homestand against the Blue Jays and Red Sox. They head to Texas for two games in a possible playoff preview and then travel to Kansas City for a four-game series before returning to the Bronx for a six-game homestand.
“It was a tough homestand. We got off to a bad start,” Girardi said. “It’s not exactly what we wanted but we move on.”
TEX IMPRESSED: The bruised and battered Red Sox left quite an impression on Mark Teixeira.
“They’re starting (pitchers are ) as good as anyone’s in baseball and they have arguably the best eighth and ninth inning guys in baseball as well,” said Teixeira, who hit a long home run to the second deck in right off of Bard in the eighth. “…. You put that together with a lineup where a guy like Mike Lowell can hit seventh. That’s a good team. I don’t care how many injuries they’ve had or have right now.”
The Red Sox split the four-game series with the Yanks and remain six games behind the Bombers in the division race.