Every time the Red Sox and Yankees play, it seems like there’s some new twist to add to the storied rivalry.
We’ve known for a long time that catchers had trouble with Tim Wakefield, our veteran knucklballer. Even All-Star Jason Varitek had 3 passed balls in one playoff inning the year before last. So when the Sox traded the one guy who’s been able to catch him consistently, Doug Maribelli, was traded to San Diego, everyone expected the worst. <
And, as you might expect, we got it. Despite being a proven catcher, Josh Bard just couldn’t handle Wake in the first 4 starts (league-leading 10 passed balls). And going into today’s first-game-of-the-year against the Pinstripes, we all expected that number to go up.
That was until this morning, when we learned that Doug was coming back. And to top it off, ESPN reported that the Yankees had tried to get him as well, solely for the purpose of keeping him from catching for Wakefield.
Doug’s flight landed at Logan at 6:48pm, and he walked onto the field at 7:11pm in time to take the warm-up pitches for the first inning. That’s right - he didn’t even get to catch warm-ups before starting the game. Imagine going to bed in San Diego as a Padre, and being woken up in the night and told to get to Boston because you’re the starting catcher against the Yanks.
And of course it worked. Mirabelli caught a solid game and the Sox won 7-3, culminated by a HR by big Papi into dead center with a 20 MPH headwind trying to keep the ball in play.