The Best Yankee Loss of the Season

The Rays and Red Sox are now tied for the Wild Card

By Josh Alper
|  Friday, Sep 30, 2011  |  Updated 5:20 PM EDT
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It is very strange to watch a Yankees game and now that you really couldn't care less if they won.

You probably weren't rooting for them to lose, exactly, on Monday night, but you weren't exactly itching to hear John Sterling's routine after the final out of the ninth inning, either.

Once the scores started coming in from Baltimore and it was clear that the Red Sox were going to do nothing to stop their beautiful wreck of a September, there wasn't a thing to do but smile as James Shields mowed down the Yankees.

The 5-2 loss will look the same as all the others on Joe Girardi's register, but it should probably come with an asterisk.

These final three regular season games are about making sure everyone is healthy and ready to go on Friday night for the ALDS opener, which is why Hector Noesi got the start and why you didn't see any top relief pitchers follow him into the game unless you want to count Phil Hughes. 

You shouldn't. Hughes looked pretty much the same as he did when he was starting, so it seems unlikely that we're about to see a replay of 2009 when he became an October stalwart in the late innings.

The Red Sox can't take issue with the lineup or pitching choices made by Girardi, though. They got dealt the same hand this weekend, right down to Scott Proctor pitching in extra innings, and they couldn't win more than one game.

If Boston wants to file any kind of a protest, it should be with Major League Baseball about the umpiring down in Tampa last night. Russell Martin got kicked out of the game for what was either one of the meeker attempts at arguing with an ump or a really poorly timed joke.

"I asked if he had stretched before the game; then I asked him again," Martin said. "He looked at me kind of funny and I said, 'I feel like you're kind of tight right now.' He tossed me. He just threw me out of the game. I was like, what happened? I thought this was fun. I thought this was a game, you know?"

It really isn't Boston's year if they are going to kick out starters for things like that. No word on if Girardi is going to arm each of his players with a knock-knock joke to use as a virtual cyanide pill should the game start to turn the Yankees' way on the next two nights.

We kid, because Girardi isn't doing a single thing to make you think he doesn't want to win these games. Sure, there are regulars resting, but just two of them last night and starting CC Sabathia simply isn't going to happen with the playoffs starting on Friday.

He's trying to win, he's just not desperate to do so and that's the right you earn by wrapping up the division ahead of the end of the season. He shouldn't run out an entire team of scrubs, but the only people who would argue that he owes something to the larger game of baseball ahead of his team is a Red Sox fan desperate for someone to throw a life preserver that stops the laughing at his team.

Girardi did what was right for his team and that's all anyone can ask of him. The only manager a Red Sox fan can take issue with is Terry Francona.

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