More drama surrounding Youkilis, Joba
Sox first baseman not happy with Yanks righty's pitch up and in
BOSTON -- It was a subplot that could have faded quietly into the night, Joba Chamberlain's perplexing habit of throwing baseballs that land high and tight on Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis, or behind him.
But in the bottom of the seventh inning on Friday night at Fenway Park, another chapter unfolded. For the fourth time since last August, Chamberlain fired a pitch that could have done a lot of harm to Youkilis if it had hit him. Instead, the up-and-in offering was dodged by Youkilis, who went sprawling to the dirt.
"Nobody wants the ball right there," said Chamberlain. "Nobody wants the ball in at 90 [mph], whatever it was. But at the end of the day, it's 1-0, and I'm trying to get a win and it's what you have to do. It's a 2-0 count and the game's 1-0, you think I want to lose the lead and put the lead runner on with those guys behind him? No shot."
Chamberlain wound up striking out Youkilis. The Yankees hung on for the 1-0 win.
Accident or not, Youkilis was clearly angered by Chamberlain's latest misfire. He was restrained by home-plate umpire Marty Foster, and both sides received warnings.
"Inside? It was at his head," said Red Sox right-hander Josh Beckett. "Inside is the pitches I was throwing to Alex [Rodriguez]."
Those who wondered if Beckett might retaliate never got an answer, because the right-hander was removed before the top of the eighth.
"It worked out," said Beckett. "I had a lot of adrenaline going anyway. [Manager Terry Francona] had already pulled me from the game."
Youkilis did not speak to reporters after the game. Last August at Yankee Stadium, Chamberlain threw back-to-back pitches that went behind Youkilis. The hard-throwing righty was suspended for two games. Three weeks ago at Yankee Stadium, Chamberlain threw one up and in on Youkilis. All of those encounters brought heightened security to what occurred on Friday.
"It's unfortunate they gave a warning there for both sides," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "But I understand why they did it, and I understand why Youkilis is upset about it. But a 1-0 game, you are not going to hit the leadoff guy, that would just be crazy. But I understand why people get emotional."
Red Sox captain Jason Varitek was asked if it bothered the team that Chamberlain continues to throw those type of pitches at Youkilis.
"Of course it does, of course it does," said Varitek.
Sox third baseman Mike Lowell had the most rational view of all.
"I don't know how angry we are," Lowell said. "It could be a coincidence, because I really don't think 2-0 in that situation, up 1-0, you want to hit Youkilis. But it's actually four times. Back-to-back pitches in New York [last year] and another one [this year], and then this time. That guy throws hard. If anything, look at the replay, it's going right at his head. You're more concerned. One of them gets him in the head, it could be something very serious. I think that's more the concern than anger or the rivalry or anything like that."
Considering the type of command Chamberlain has, it is odd that all of his overly inside offerings against Boston seem to occur with Youkilis at the plate.
"He has great command until Youk gets in there," said Francona. "I don't know [if there was intent]. I would not have that that answer."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.