August 11, 2017

G115: Yankees 5, Red Sox 4

Red Sox - 200 010 001 - 4  8  0
Yankees - 000 000 05x - 5  7  0
The Red Sox have been tagged out on the bases 64 times* this year - not including five pickoffs or 23 caught stealings  - and the most idiotic one of them all, the most mind-numbingly stupid, and probably the most harmful - has to be Eduardo Nunez trying to advance from second to third on a fly ball to left field in the top of the ninth inning. Nunez became the second out of a double play that (after the call was upheld following the Red Sox's challenge) put the final nail in a possible comeback against an extremely shaky Aroldis Chapman. It was also Boston's 16th out at third base, the most of any team in the majors.

[*: 15 more times than any other AL team.]

The reason the Red Sox found themselves praying for a repeat of July 14 was because Addison Reed and Joe Kelly flushed the game away in the bottom of the eighth. And John Farrell did not help any by leaving his two best relievers sitting on their asses in the bullpen while New York sent 11 men to the plate. That seemingly endless inning ruined what was shaping up as a convincing victory, anchored by a superb outing for Eduardo Rodriguez (6-2-0-2-7, 107). The Yankees are now 7-3 against Boston this season - and they moved to within 3.5 games of first place.

Reed took the mound in the eighth, with Boston six outs away from a 3-0 win. He hit pinch-hitter Brett Gardner in the right foot and then Aaron Hicks lifted a two-run homer down the right field line. The Red Sox still led 3-2, but then Reed allowed a single to Gary Sanchez on an 0-2 pitch and wild-pitched him to second before walking Aaron Judge.

Farrell called on Kelly, for only his second appearance since coming off the disabled list. (Brandon "1.77 ERA/1.033 WHIP" Workman was nowhere to be seen.) Kelly worked as slow as usual, which made his time on the hill seem like it lasted about a week. Didi Gregorius sliced a single into shallow left-center, and the Yankees had tied the game. Then Todd Frazier singled in the go-ahead run. Kelly struck out Chase Headley (the seventh batter of the inning) for the first out. Jacoby Ellsbury singled to short right and the bases were loaded again. Roland Torreyes lined out to left and Gregorius scored without a play. Kelly walked Gardner, reloading the bases. And now that the game had been completely flushed down the shitter, Farrell brought in Fernando Abad! Hicks popped to second, ending the torment.

On July 14, the Red Sox scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth off Chapman and beat New York 5-4. They did not hit a ball out of the infield during that amazing rally. Tonight, Chapman seemed more than willing to recreate that scenario. His first nine pitches to Jackie Bradley and Nunez: ball, ball, ball, ball, ball, called strike, ball, ball, ball. After a visit from his pitching coach, Chapman walked Mookie Betts (on a full count). Bases loaded, no outs.

Andrew Benintendi fell behind 0-2 and hit the Red Sox's first fair ball of the inning (Chapman's 18th pitch), a fly ball to the edge of the warning track in left. Hicks made the catch and threw to third, as Bradley crossed the plate. Frazier backhanded the ball and swung his glove at Nunez, who slid in face-first. He was called out - and that call was upheld after a review. Betts had also tagged and was now at second, the potential tying run. Mitch Moreland, who had come in to spell Ramirez at first base in the seventh, took a strike and lofted a routine fly to center for the game's final out.

I do believe there's a means to an end with this. And while the outs are going to be glaring, I still feel like when we can put pressure on the defense, we're going to look to set that tone.
If it happened tomorrow, I would take the chance tomorrow again. That's how we play the game. That's why we're in first place. We run aggressively.
The early innings of the game had a much different tone. In the top of the first, Betts walked and Hanley Ramirez (with two outs) crushed an inside fastball to deep left for his 18th home run of the season. The Red Sox had the bases loaded against Jamie Garcia (5.2-7-3-3-6, 103) in the third, but Garcia struck out Chris Young and got Xander Bogaerts on a grounder to the mound. In the fifth, Benintendi hit a solo shot into the second deck in right with two outs. Ramirez followed with a double to deep center and Young walked. But Bogaerts stranded both runners (5 LOB in 2 AB) with a fly to right.

Rodriguez walked two Yankees in the bottom of the first, but pitched out of trouble. The third out came on a pop to short center by Frazier. Seeing that no infielder was going to get to it, Bradley suddenly sprinted in and made a sliding basket catch. After those two walks, Rodriguez retired 12 of the next 13 batters. Torreyes doubled with one out in the fifth and went to third on a fly to center, but Rodriguez struck out Hicks looking. In the seventh, Matt Barnes walked the leadoff man, but got the next three.

It looked like the Red Sox were sitting pretty, but things took a turn for the worst in the eighth. Why Farrell ignored Workman is a mystery. Yesterday was an off-day, so he had to have been rested. In his last eight appearances, Workman had pitched nine scoreless innings, with no walks and nine strikeouts; five of the six hits he allowed were singles. ... Farrell asked Kimbrel to save a three-run lead twice in the recent White Sox series and to protect a two-run lead against Tampa Bay. A win tonight would have left the Yankees reeling, a season-high 5.5 GB. And as that chance slipped away, Farrell didn't even tell Kimbrel to take his jacket off.
Eduardo Rodriguez / Jamie Garcia
Nunez, 2B
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Ramirez, 1B
Young, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Devers, 3B
Vazquez, C
Bradley, CF
Steve Buckley, Herald:
Not to be nasty about this, but the Red Sox have it in their power the next couple of weeks to apply a spiked foot to the collective throats of the Yankees — all but eliminating their century-old rivals as contenders for AL East supremacy. ...

It's the perfect baseball storm for the Red Sox: They're hot, the Yankees are cool. ...

Maybe the Yankees keep pounding the Red Sox and reclaim first place. Maybe the Sox chloroform the Yankees and tighten their grip on first place. Or, heck, maybe the Sox and Yanks split these 10 games and nothing gets settled. ...

Maybe this is just the romantic in me, but I have a feeling it's about to get testy between the Sox and Yankees.
The Red Sox and Yankees will play six games against each other over the next 10 days, three in New York this weekend and three in Boston next weekend. Boston leads the AL East, with New York in second place, four games out. The Red Sox have won their last eight games, while the Yankees have lost five of their last seven.

Since the unprecedented craziness of the rivalry in 2003-2004, various sportswriters have told us that the rivalry between the Red Sox and Yankees is strong, it's sputtering, it's dead, it'll never return, it's coming back, it's different, etc. Now, apparently, it's strong again! (In fact, according to one of the sportswriters who has sounded the rivalry's death knell in the past, it's actually always been great!)

Mike Vaccaro, Post:
The Yankees and the Sox have chased each other all year, back and forth, one team getting hot while the other chills, then swapping places atop the standings. The Red Sox have been baseball's most precious soap opera much of the summer thanks to an opinionated broadcaster named Eck and a thin-skinned pitcher named David Price, but just when it seemed that drama might overwhelm them they bring an eight-game winning streak to Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees? They have their own concerns, a kid catcher who's lately been having trouble catching the ball and a kid slugger who's lately been having a hell of a time slugging the ball. But when they are right, they look as dangerous as anyone else in the A.L., and that's all inclusive. They have that lock-down bullpen. Saturday they'll throw Luis Severino, who is starting to summon visions of a young Doc Gooden every time he takes the mound.

And the Sox will have Chris Sale on Sunday, and all Sale has done is keep the Sox alive during their spasms of ineptitude and make them look like potential champions during their periods of prosperity. This is what Yankees-Sox has been about for close to a hundred years, and what it is supposed to be about at its very best.
George A. King III, Post:
It's the first time since Sept. 1, 2011, the blood rivals are playing each other this late in the season while holding the two top spots in the AL East.
Ken Davidoff, Post:
Which way are the Yankees running? ...

[T]heir 4½-game distance behind the Sawx marks their widest gap of the season when you factor in the loss column, which grew to four games Thursday. ...

Stopping this bleeding with a series victory, picking up a game in the standings, would help. Because right now, the Yankees are running a course that could lead them nowhere besides an October vacation.
Judge Watch: The Red Sox have shut down Aaron Judge better than any team in the league. He's hitting only .194 (7-for-36) against Boston with a .306 slugging percentage and two RBI in nine games. (Also: Judge has struck out in 27 consecutive games, batting only .181 during that time. Adam Dunn holds the MLB record at 32 games in a row.)


allan said...

Scott Lauber ESPN Staff Writer
Dustin Pedroia's knee has flared up again; return to disabled list not out of the question, according to manager John Farrell. Pedroia is still with the team, but likely to see knee specialist again in Boston. At this point, Red Sox still believe Pedroia can return this season.

allan said...

MFY pitchers have held the Red Sox to a .047 batting average with RATS in 10 games this season (3-for-64).