Tagged: Red Sox

Holding the Door to Victory…

Credit:  HBO

Yankees 6, Red Sox 2…

There was too much drama in the 9th inning but the Yankees persevered to defeat the Boston Red Sox in the opener of a four-game series in the Bronx.

CC Sabathia, reinforcing his reputation this year as the Yankees’ stopper, got the win in a strong performance.  The first inning started a little rocky, but Sabathia made his pitches and avoided putting the Yankees in the early hole like they had with the Cleveland Indians the last couple of games.  After easily retiring lead-off hitter Rajai Davis, Eduardo Nunez, in a move that would draw CC’s ire, bunted toward the pitcher.  Sabathia retrieved the ball but his throw to first base pulled Greg Bird off the bag.  Two subsequent walks and the bases were loaded.  Sabathia struck out the next two batters to avoid what could have been a very big inning for the Red Sox.  

Credit:  Craig Ruttle-Associated Press

There were a few challenges in the game.  The first one occurred in the top of the 2nd.  Rajai Davis was at the plate with a runner on first and two outs.  He was awarded base on a hit by pitch, but replay showed that the ball hit the end of the bat and not the player.  So, Davis, who had taken first with his acting performance, had to return to the plate.  He proceeded to strike out to end the inning.

Top of the 3rd and more challenges.  Eduardo Nunez led off the inning for the Red Sox with a single up the middle.  Next up was Andrew Benintendi who hit a liner to left field.  Nunez went around to third, and Benintendi slid into second at the same time as the throw.  The call on the field was safe but the Yankees challenged it and Benintendi was ruled out upon review (in a very close call).

Credit:  Rich Schultz-Getty Images

Mookie Betts walked to put runners at the corners.  Xander Bogaerts hit a grounder to short that appeared to be turned for a double play, but it was Boston’s turn to challenge.  Betts, sliding into second, was ruled safe ahead of the throw from Didi Gregorius to Starlin Castro, so Bogaerts was the only out and Nunez scored on the play.  1-0, Red Sox.  Betts subsequently stole third and the Sox had runners at the corners when Rafael Devers walked, but Sabathia, continuing his bend but not break outing, induced Hanley Ramirez to hit into an inning-ending ground out.

The Yankees finally got on the board in the bottom of the 3rd to tie the game.  Brett Gardner led off with a single to left, but he was erased when Aaron Hicks hit into a double play.  So, the bases were empty when Gary Sanchez came to the plate.  El Gary hit a high fly off Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez that carried into the right field stands. It was Gary’s 28th home run of the season and his 12th in August.

Credit:  Craig Ruttle-Associated Press

Sanchez always takes heat for the passed balls and wild pitches that get past him, but his arm is a thing of beauty.  In the top of the 5th, with Andrew Benintendi on first and Mookie Betts at the plate, Benintendi broke for second on a called third strike on Betts and El Gary’s throw to Starlin Castro was easily in time to nail the sliding runner for the strike-em out, throw-em out double play.

In the bottom of the 5th, the Yankees took the lead.  With one out, singles by Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks put runners at the corners.  Gary Sanchez hit a high fly to shallow right that looked like it would be the second out but Eduardo Nunez went too far and couldn’t reach back to make the catch over his shoulder so the ball fell in.  Sanchez was awarded a single in what appeared to be an error.  No matter, Gardy scored on the play and it was 2-1 Yankees.  The Yankees subsequently loaded the bases for Aaron Judge with two outs but he weakly popped out for a missed opportunity.

While Sabathia was holding the Red Sox in check, the Yankees broke through with more runs in the bottom of the 6th.  Chase Headley started the inning with a double off the center field wall.  Greg Bird, who can be a huge asset down the stretch, ripped a Rodriguez pitch deep into the right-center field stands for a two-run home run.  After Todd Frazier singled to left, the Sox pulled Eduardo Rodriguez and replaced him with Fernando Abad.  Abad struck out Brett Gardner, but Aaron Hicks reached first with an infield hit.  Gary Sanchez lined out for the second out, however, Didi Gregorius singled up the middle to center field to score Headley.  The Yankees had taken a 5-1 lead.  The Sox replaced Abad with Heath Hembree who got the final out when Starlin Castro hit a grounder to short, forcing Didi out at second.

David Robertson took the mound to start the 7th inning so it closed the book on CC Sabathia.  It was a very gutty performance by Sabathia.  He could have easily broken and allowed the Red Sox to take advantage of their scoring opportunities but he held the door.  DRob easily set down the Red Sox for three quick outs to send the game to the bottom of the 7th.  The Yankees had an opportunity for a big inning but they were only able to score a single run.  Aaron Judge started things by working a walk on four pitches.  Chase Headley singled to center, a fly that dropped in, with Judge moving to third.  Greg Bird singled to left on a grounder through second and short to score Judge.  The Yankees were up 6-1.  Todd Frazier subsequently walked to load the bases with no outs.  The Sox went to the pen and brought in Robby Scott.  Sadly, Brett Gardner hit a liner at Eduardo Nunez and his throw to Xander Bogaerts beat Bird sliding back into second for the double play.  The Yankees challenged the play (replay did appear to show Bird’s hand reaching second base just ahead of Bogaerts’ foot) but the umps felt otherwise and stood by the call on the field.  Aaron Hicks followed by striking out for a huge missed opportunity.  I know that I didn’t feel comfortable with a five-run lead at that point against the dangerous Red Sox lineup.

Robertson evaded trouble in the top of the 8th when the first two batters reached base, the second on his own fielding error.  Fortunately, he retired the next three batters to end the inning unscathed.  Moments like that make me appreciate that Big Papi retired last year.

Red Sox reliever Blaine Boyer easily set down the Yankees in the bottom of the 8th to send the game into the 9th inning.  Dellin Betances replaced DRob and then proceeded to scare the h**l out of me.  After Chris Young walked, Betances hit the next two batters (Christian Vazquez and Brock Holt) to load the bases with no outs.  He finally got the first out when Eduardo Nunez struck out swinging.  But a walk to Andrew Benintendi scored Young.  The Red Sox had two chances with the potential tying run at the plate and two hitters very capable of hitting the long ball.  Mookie Betts was first and he popped up for the second out.  Mitch Moreland, pinch-hitting for Xander Bogaerts, was next.  Moreland has done some damage against the Yankees this year, but Betances got him to fly out to left for the final out.  Whew, game over!  Yankees win!

Credit:  Paul J Bereswill-NY Post

The Yankees (71-62) moved to within 4 1/2 games of the Red Sox with the victory.  They maintained a one-game lead in the Wild Card standings over the red-hot Minnesota Twins.  The Baltimore Orioles finally lost, 11-8 to the Toronto Blue Jays, so they fell 3 1/2 games behind the Yankees.

CC Sabathia (11-5) got the much-deserved win.  He walked too many (five) but he held the Sox to four hits and one run despite what seemed like multiple run-scoring opportunities.  He struck out six.  I was so fearful that Dellin Betances was going to blow the big lead in the top of the 9th but credit to him for his recovery to get the outs when he needed them.  My preference, not shared by Joe Girardi, is to keep Betances in a setup role and use David Robertson as the closer until Aroldis Chapman can right the ship.  

I like what I am seeing out of Greg Bird.  He is clearly showing signs of being the tremendous hitter he exhibited in spring training before injuring his foot.  He was 2-for-4 with 3 RBI’s.  Gary Sanchez was great with his home run and 2 RBI’s but it’s a little bittersweet given the impending suspension. 

The Judge’s Chambers featured a true Judge with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in attendance.

Credit:  Craig Ruttle-Associated Press

Hopefully the Yankees can continue their success against the Red Sox tonight when Sonny Gray takes the hill in perhaps his most significant Yankees start yet.  He’ll be opposed by journeyman Doug Fister.   

Odds & Ends…

While we continue to await word on the suspension appeals for Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine (it is my understanding that Gary’s appeal will be heard today), it sounds as though the Yankees will be able to stagger the suspensions so that the team is not without at least one member of its top catching tandem.  It’s disappointing that Kyle Higashioka remains on the DL since it will most likely result in the loss of a 40-man roster spot for another player in order to create room for a back-up catcher.  It was looking like career minor leaguer Eddy Rodriguez might get the call, but the Yankees acquired veteran catcher Erik Kratz yesterday from the Cleveland Indians for cash considerations. The Yankees will soon make a roster move to add Kratz.  Kratz is 37 and has logged 225 MLB games since 2010 for various teams.  By comparison, the 31-year-old Rodriguez has only played 2 MLB games (for San Diego in 2012).  Any way you look at it, there’s going to be a noticeable drop-off from the team of Sanchez and Romine to whomever fills the interim backup role.  


Prior to last night’s game, the Yankees recalled RHP Giovanny Gallegos.  He takes the roster spot vacated when LHP Caleb Smith was optioned to Triple A after Wednesday’s double-header loss to the Cleveland Indians.  DH Matt Holliday is expected to be activated soon.


Former Yankees Assistant GM and now Angels GM Billy Eppler is getting aggressive in helping his team track down the Yankees and the Twins in the Wild Card chase.  Eppler made a bold move yesterday to acquire OF Justin Upton from the Detroit Tigers.  Upton is batting .279 with 28 HRs and 94 RBIs. Solid move for the Halos.  They gave up young pitching prospect RHP Grayson Long.  To make room for Upton, the Angels placed much-traveled Cameron Maybin on waivers.  He was subsequently acquired by the Houston Astros.  Later in the day, the Angels acquired 2B Brandon Phillips from the Atlanta Braves and the Astros, in a move that could solidify their chances for the World Series, picked up pitcher Justin Verlander from the Detroit Tigers.

There has been much talk about Shohei Otani this week with GM Brian Cashman’s trip to Japan, but it is too premature for me to read anything into it. The Yankees do not have an advantage over other clubs should Otani decide to come to the United States other than they’d have more dollars to spend on some future contract that would have absolutely no bearing on the dollars that will be present for Otani’s first contract.  It’s a level playing field for the most part in terms of the international bonus pool money, with the slight increases for those teams like the Yankees that have added money through trades.  Still, the cap on those dollars can be reached by any number of teams.  I’ll get excited if there are signs that Otani is actually considering the Yankees, but until then, it’s a pipe dream.

Have a great Friday!  Hopefully the Yankees won’t have to “labor” too hard for victories this weekend!  Go Yankees!

Advertisements

Missing the Pitches…

Credit:  Corey Sipkin-NY Post

Red Sox 5, Yankees 1…


Sunday’s loss was a microcosm of the season.  In the end, it was about missing the pitches as the Yankees dropped the finale and the series with the Boston Red Sox.


It’s been a difficult season for last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner, Rick Porcello, but on Sunday, he gave a glimpse why he won the award last year.  He held the Yankees to three hits over six innings, and three Red Sox relievers including closer Craig Kimbrel no-hit them the rest of the way.  

Credit:  Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Boston scored first with two runs in the bottom of the 2nd.  Inevitably, it would be the only runs they would need.  Jackie Bradley, Jr’s two-out triple to the center field wall off Yankees starter Sonny Gray scored Xander Bogaerts and Sandy Leon.  The Red Sox had taken a 2-0 lead.


Meanwhile, the Yankees had runners in scoring position from the second through fourth innings but could not capitalize.  Finally, in the top of the 5th inning, Brett Gardner lined a shot just inside of the Pesky Pole in right to pull the Yankees within one run, 2-1.  But it was the last hit the Yankees would get off Porcello and the Red Sox bullpen.  

Credit:  Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

In the bottom of the 6th, the Red Sox added a run against Yankees reliever Adam Warren. Mitch Moreland reached on a single to left, and moved to second on a wild pitch by Warren that went through Gary Sanchez’s legs.  A ground out by Sandy Leon moved Moreland to third.  Jackie Bradley, Jr didn’t waste the opportunity like so many Yankee hitters had done.  His single to right that dropped in front of Aaron Judge scored Moreland and Boston increased their lead to 3-1. Aroldis Chapman was brought in to replace Warren (the earliest he has appeared in a game as Yankee) and he struck out Brock Holt to end the inning.

Credit:  Adam Glanzman-Getty Images

The Red Sox added two more runs in the bottom of the 8th.  Tommy Kahnle started the inning in relief of Chapman.  He couldn’t find the strike zone at all with the first batter, Xander Bogaerts, issuing a free pass on four pitches.  Mitch Moreland doubled to left off the Green Monster and the Sox had runners at second and third.  Sandy Leon lined a double to the right field corner, both Bogaerts and Moreland scored.  5-1, Red Sox.  Kahnle was pulled and replaced by Caleb Smith.  A walk and a single loaded the bases with no outs, but Smith was able to retire the next three Red Sox batters to leave the runners stranded.


It didn’t really matter.  The Yankees weren’t going to win this game.  Craig Kimbrel came on in the 9th and set the Yankees down in order, the last two by strikeouts.  


If the Yankees were looking to make a statement in this series, they failed to do it.  Boston exhibited superior bullpen strength and their hitters, excluding Saturday, didn’t miss their pitches.  The Yankees (66-57) slipped back to five games behind the Red Sox with the loss.  The Tampa Bay Rays’ 3-0 win, coupled with a loss by the Baltimore Orioles, moved them back into third place in the AL East.  They are 6 1/2 games behind the Yankees.  The O’s lost, 5-4, to the Los Angeles Angels.  The Angels picked up a game on the Yankees in the Wild Card standings and trail the Yanks by 2 1/2 games for the top position.  The Minnesota Twins, who pummeled the Arizona Diamondbacks 12-5, are also just 2 1/2 games behind.


Sonny Gray (7-8) took the loss.  He pitched five innings on a high pitch count (106), allowing seven hits and two runs.  He walked two and did not strike anybody out.  Run support has not been his friend with the Yankees.  

Credit:  Steven Senne-Associated Press

If Aroldis Chapman can piece together more outings like his, his name might be back in play for the closer’s role.  Adam Warren and Tommy Kahnle have some things to work on.  


Brett Gardner, with two hits (a single and a homer), and Chase Headley, with one (a double), were the only Yankees with a hit.  Everyone else took an 0-fer.  


A win today would have been huge.  But it was not to be.  The Yankees need to re-group during today’s off-day and come out ready to play on Tuesday.  There will be one more shot at the Red Sox.  They’ll come to the Bronx for four games over Labor Day Weekend.  The AL East is not dead…just wounded.  There’s time to heal and show the Red Sox that the Pinstripes are back.  

Next Up:  The Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park, Detroit, MI…

The Yankees get a much-needed day off today, hanging around the Motor City, before starting a three-game series with the Tigers on Tuesday.

TUESDAY

Yankees:  Masahiro Tanaka (8-10, 4.92 ERA)

Tigers:  Matthew Boyd (5-6, 5.70 ERA)

WEDNESDAY

Yankees:  Jaime Garcia (1-1, 5.64 ERA)

Tigers:  Buck Farmer (2-1, 6.62 ERA)

THURSDAY

Yankees:  Luis Severino (10-5, 3.18 ERA)

Tigers:  Jordan Zimmermann (7-10, 5.87 ERA)

The Yankees need to win these games.  Anything less than two out of three will be a major disappointment.  The Tigers stopped a six-game winning streak by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday with a convincing 6-1 victory behind Justin Verlander (making perhaps his final start in a Tigers uniform although I think he stays). A team with nothing to play for has nothing to lose.  The Yankees had better be prepared. After the series, the Yankees return home for Player’s Weekend to take on the Wild Card contending Seattle Mariners and the player named “Don’t You Know”.  

Odds & Ends…

Greg Bird had the day off on Sunday for his rehab assignment with Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but Jake Cave and Miguel Andujar did not as they powered the RailRiders to a 3-0 win over the Durham Bulls.  Cave was 2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored, while Andujar was 3-for-4, with a double and a home run, for 2 RBI’s.  I am looking forward to seeing these guys in a few weeks when MLB rosters expand.  It was a nice pitching performance by Domingo German (5-2), who shut out the Bulls for seven innings on four hits.  He walked two and struck out nine.  Giovanny Gallegos, with two innings of scoreless relief, got the save.

In anticipation of Masahiro Tanaka’s impending activation from the DL, the Yankees have optioned RHP Bryan Mitchell to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Have a great Monday!  A day off…a day closer to the return of good health for Starlin Castro, Greg Bird and others.  Go Yankees!

Austin Decides to Buy on Sale…

Credit:  Getty Images

Yankees 4, Red Sox 3…

Tyler Austin apparently did not get the memo that the Yankees are not supposed to score multiple runs off Boston ace Chris Sale.  His three-run dinger gave the Yankees a lead they would not relinquish.  CC Sabathia, fresh off the DL, pitched like an ace and the bullpen duo of David Robertson and Dellin Betances came through in the clutch to help the Yankees hold off the Red Sox for the much-needed win.

Credit:  Adam Glanzman-Getty Images

There’s no disputing Chris Sale is a great pitcher.  But for whatever reason, the Yankees have fared well against him this season.  In 4 starts, including Saturday, Sale is 0-2.  He has only lost a total of five games this season.  But in the three preceding games against the Yankees, he had only given up only one homer and three earned runs.  With one swing, Tyler Austin matched that production.

Didi Gregorius got on base first in the top of the 2nd inning with a one-out ground rule double that bounced into the right field stands.  It probably would have been a homer at Yankee Stadium with its short right field porch.  Todd Frazier reached first base when he was hit in the left shin with a 82 mph slider by Sale (Ouch!).  Joe Girardi and Trainer Steve Donohue walked with Frazier down the first base line, but he stayed in the game.  Tyler Austin was the beneficiary of a mistake fastball by Sale and he crushed it out of Fenway Park in left.  The Yankees led, 3-0.

Credit:  Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox finally got to Yankees starter CC Sabathia in the 5th inning.  With one out, Xander Bogaerts worked a walk on six pitches.  Rafael Devers, rapidly becoming a Yankee killer at only 20 years of age, rapped a single to right.  Bogaerts raced around to third, sliding in ahead of Aaron Judge’s strong throw.  Sandy Leon grounded out to Ronald Torreyes at second, but Bogaerts scored on the play.  Devers moved to second.  Jackie Bradley, Jr singled to left which brought Devers home ahead of the slightly high and away throw, and it was a one-run game, 3-2.  Sabathia held it there as he was able to get Eduardo Nunez to hit into an inning-ending ground out.

Todd Frazier provided what would prove to be the game-winning run when he blasted a solo shot to left center, just over the Green Monster, in the 6th with two outs and down to two strikes.  It was Frazier’s 21st home run of the season.  He showed no ill effects of the earlier ball to the shin but you have to believe that he’ll be feeling it today.  

Sabathia allowed a lead off double to deep center by Mookie Betts in the bottom of the 6th, but he retired the next three Red Sox hitters to leave Betts stranded at second.  That would be all for Sabathia who finished six innings strong, holding the Sox to four hits and two runs.  He walked a batter and punched out four.  I was expecting the worst from Sabathia and his balky knee but he proved me wrong.  I am glad he did.

Adam Warren was brought into the game in the bottom of the 7th inning.  After Xander Bogaerts struck out, Rafael Devers took Warren deep to center for a home run. The ball hit the left side of the yellow line but caromed into the triangle.  The Yankees challenged the play but it was upheld.  It was a one-run game again, 4-3 Yankees.    Warren struck out Sandy Leon.  The ball got away from Gary Sanchez but he easily threw Leon out at first to complete the strikeout.  The Yankees then made a pitching change. David Robertson came in and got Jackie Bradley, Jr to ground out on one pitch.  Man, every friggin’ day I am grateful for D-Rob.

The Red Sox had runners in scoring position in the 8th inning against D-Rob.  Andrew Benintendi struck out swinging but made it to first base on a wild pitch when Gary Sanchez was unable to stop the ball.  It took a wicked bounce so I couldn’t really fault Sanchez on the play.  Hanley Ramirez lined a double to  deep left, but Benintendi, the potential game-tying run, pulled up at third.  D-Rob intentionally walked Mitch Moreland, loading the bases, to pitch to Xander Bogaerts.  Bogaerts went down swinging on three pitches and the inning was over.  Thanks, D-Rob.

Credit:  Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees had a chance to add to their lead in the top of the 9th.  Tyler Austin doubled  between the gap to the center field wall off Red Sox reliever Heath Hembree.  He was replaced by the $153 million pinch-runner Jacoby Ellsbury.   After a pickoff attempt nearly got Ellsbury, a sacrifice bunt by Ronald Torreyes moved Ells to third.  Brett Gardner hit a fielder’s choice to third with Ellsbury breaking for home.  Third baseman Rafael Devers’ throw to catcher Sandy Leon easily nailed Ellsbury short of home plate. The Yankees had runners at first and second, following a wild pitch and subsequent walk of Aaron Hicks, for Aaron Judge but he struck out on a foul tip to the mitt to end the threat.

With Aroldis Chapman temporarily removed from the closer’s role by Manager Joe Girardi, Dellin Betances came on in the bottom of the 9th.  Betances struck out the first batter, Rafael Devers, but Sandy Leon reached base on a swinging strikeout when the third strike got away from Gary Sanchez.  Betances was charged with the wild pitch.  But in baseball, there is always a chance for atonement.  Brock Holt, who had entered the game as a pinch-runner for Leon, made a break for second with Jackie Bradley, Jr. at bat. The throw by Gary Sanchez to Didi Gregorius was perfect to nail the sliding Holt for the second out.  JBJ  flied out to left and it was game over.  The Yankees win!

Credit:  Adam Glanzman-Getty Images

The Yankees (66-56) regained the game on the Red Sox they had lost on Friday night, and trail the Sox by four games in the AL East Standings again.  The Los Angeles Angels beat the Baltimore Orioles, 5-1, so the Angels remain 3 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the Wild Card standings (the Angels and Minnesota Twins are tied for the second WC spot).  The O’s, the third place team in the AL East, slid 6 1/2 games behind the Yankees.  Both the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays lost on Saturday.

It was a great game by CC Sabathia (10-5).  The Yankees had their chances to put more runs on the board (leaving a total of eight men on base) but the bullpen held to give Sabathia the win over Chris Sale.  I am really glad that we didn’t see Aroldis Chapman.  While my preference is Betances then Robertson, the reversed order worked and Betances had his 9th save.

Credit:  Corey Sipkin-NY Post

Girardi continues to bat Aaron Judge third in the lineup, but at this point, Judge seems to be living off his first half reputation.  The Yankees would probably be better served moving Didi Gregorius up to third and dropping Judge down in the order.  Judge was hitless in four at-bats, and struck out 3 times to extend his MLB record with strikeouts to 3 consecutive games.  Judge had been tied with Montreal Expos pitcher Bill Stoneman who struck out in 35 consecutive games in 1971.  At 36 games regardless of season, Judge has tied the MLB record so if he strikes out again today, he’ll be the all-time consecutive game strikeout leader.  I know, Judge could care less about the strike outs as long as he gets his hits and walks, but I personally would like to see the end of the streak and maybe a clutch hit or two with men in scoring position.

Credit:  Adam Glanzman-Getty Images

Odds & Ends…

Perhaps Tyler Austin heard footsteps.  On Friday night, first baseman Greg Bird homered twice in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s 10-6 loss to the Durham Bulls.  Yesterday, Bird was 2-for-4, with double and a run scored, in the RailRiders’ 8-4 loss to the Bulls.  I really hope that Bird continues hitting when he returns to the Yankees.  This would be a great boost for the team as they attempt to stave off Wild Card challengers while holding aspirations for the division crown.  

Credit:  Fred Adams-For Times Leader

Prior to yesterday’s game, LHP Jordan Montgomery was optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make room for CC Sabathia.  With Masahiro Tanaka scheduled to return this week in the Detroit Tigers series, Monty returns to Triple A for “softer” innings while the Yankees monitor his pitch count.

MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand is reporting that Yankees VP of Player Development Gary Denbo is a strong early candidate to become GM for the Miami Marlins once Derek Jeter takes control of the team’s operations.  I am hopeful the Marlins retain manager Don Mattingly, one of my favorite managers.  Well, unless the Yankees decide to part ways with Joe Girardi…

Have a great Sunday!  The Yankees, with ‘OMG, it’s Sonny Gray!’, can take the series today with a win.  Let’s Go Yankees!

Were We Supposed To Hold That Lead?…

Credit:  Corey Sipkin-NY Post

Red Sox 9, Yankees 6…

I am sick of games with lost opportunities.  When the Yankees scored 4 runs in the top of the 7th but subsequently had the bases loaded with only one out, I had such a sickening feeling when both Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez failed to bring home any more runs.  Unfortunately, that feeling was correct as the Red Sox raged back against the Yankees bullpen to take the win.

That’s right, Joe Girardi, Aroldis Chapman is your closer.  Keep rolling him out there and watch your playoff aspirations fade.  Maybe something is not wrong physically with Chapman but there’s something wrong between the ears.  I know that he didn’t give up the lead, Tommy Kahnle did, but the runs the Red Sox scored off him put the dagger in the heart. I personally think Chapman needs time away to get himself right.  The team is better off with David Robertson and Dellin Betances closing out games.

What makes this loss worse is today’s game features probable Cy Young winner Chris Sale. It doesn’t get any easier, especially with CC Sabathia and his balky knee on the mound.  The Yankees are facing a series loss and falling 6 games behind Boston unless they can somehow find a way to pull out a win today. 

While the Yankees seemed to be leaving runners stranded every inning (total of 14 men left on base), the Red Sox scored first in the second inning in the rain off starter Jordan Montgomery.  Xander Bogaerts hit a two-out double to left and Rafael Devers homered to opposite field, over the Green Monster, to give the Sox the early 2-0 lead.

Christian Vazquez led off the bottom of the 5th with a solo shot, a high fly out of the park in left.

Working against the Red Sox bullpen, the Yankees finally broke the ice in the 6th.  Chase Headley lined a one-out single to right.  Todd Frazier hit his 20th home run of the year, a shot to left center and it was a one-run game.  The Yankees subsequently proceeded to load the bases with two outs, but Aaron Judge grounded out to snuff a potentially huge inning.  

Credit:  Adam Glanzman-Getty Images

Gary Sanchez led off the next inning with his 23rd homer, a fly to left center near the light tower and the game was tied.  The Yankees proceeded to load the bases on two walks and a single (not in that order) to load the bases for Ronald Torreyes.  Torreyes, unlike Judge, didn’t fail.  He hit a line-drive single to left off the scoreboard to score both Didi Gregorius and Chase Headley.  The Yankees had taken the lead, 5-3.  After Austin Romine struck out, Brett Gardner walked to load the bases.  Red Sox reliever Robby Scott then hit Aaron Hicks with a pitch to bring Todd Frazier home from third.  6-3 Yankees and the bases were still juiced.  Aaron Judge had the first crack, but he went down swinging.  Last chance fell to Gary Sanchez who had led off the inning with a homer, but this time he lined out to first.  The Yankees had the lead but I didn’t feel good.  I felt the score should have been 8 or 9 to 3 at that point.  

Credit:  Adam Glanzman-Getty Images

The Red Sox rallied against the Yankees bullpen.  Chad Green had pitched an effective 6th inning after relieving Jordan Montgomery, but the bottom of the 7th didn’t go so well.  Green got the first batter, Rafael Devers, to pop out to Didi Gregorius.  Christian Vazquez then hit a line drive to left that Gregorius just missed.  Jackie Bradley Jr was up next, but Green couldn’t throw strikes and the Sox had runners at first and second.  Exit Green, enter Tommy Kahnle.  Exit lead.  Eduardo Nunez reached base on an infield hit to load the bases.  A sacrifice fly to center by Mookie Betts scored Vazquez.  Andrew Benintendi singled to right, scoring JBJ.  Hanley Ramirez walked to re-load the bases.  Mitch Moreland singled to score two more runs and the Red Sox had a lead they would not relinquish, 7-6.

Credit:  Michael Dwyer-Associated Press

After the Yankees were unable to do anything offensively in the top of the 8th, Girardi brought Aroldis Chapman in to pitch the bottom of the inning.  Sorry Chapman, you suck.  20 year-old Rafael Devers, finding his new bitch in Chapman, singled to right.  Christian Vazquez was up next and he reached base when Chapman couldn’t find the strike zone.  With JBJ at the plate, the Sox executed a double-steal with Devers and Vazquez taking third and second, respectively.  JBJ hit a single up the middle and the Sox had two more runs on the board.  9-6, Sox.  A throwing error by Hicks on the single allowed JBJ to reach second, but Chapman finally settled down and retired the next 3 batters.  Too little, too late.  

Credit:  New York Daily News (back page)

Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the 9th to give the Sox the agonizing win.  This was a very disappointing loss (as if you couldn’t tell from the tone of my words).  

The Yankees (65-56) fell five games behind the Red Sox with the loss.  The Yankees retained the lead in the Wild Card Standings, 3 1/2 games up, but the second place team, the Los Angeles Angels were caught by the Minnesota Twins for a tie with the second WC spot.  The Angels suffered a devastating loss when Manny Machado hit a walk-off grand slam to give the Baltimore Orioles a 9-7 win over the Angels.  The O’s have sole possession of third place in the AL East, 5 1/2 games behind the Yankees, thanks to losses by both the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays.  The O’s are just 2 games out of the 2nd WC. The Twins, probably wishing they had kept Jaime Garcia, beat the Arizona D-Backs, 10-3.  

Odds & Ends…

Congratulations to Derek Jeter and his wife Hannah on the birth of their daughter, Bella Raine Jeter.  Little BRJ was born on Thursday and she anxiously awaits her father’s takeover of the Miami Marlins.  I am sure that she’s already looking forward to life on South Beach.

The Boston Red Sox have opted to pitch Rick Porcello on Sunday against the Yankees’ Sonny Gray.  Porcello, last year’s AL Cy Young Winner, is 7-14 with 4.59 ERA.  Porcello is 0-3 against the Yankees this year in 19 innings with 3.79 ERA.  

Mets OF Curtis Granderson, fresh off his grand slam against the Yankees in the final game of this week’s Subway Series, has found himself on MLB’s best team.  From the outhouse to the penthouse.  The Grandy Man was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for the familiar player to be named later or cash considerations.  Interestingly enough, the Dodgers are currently in the city where Grandy got his start as they are playing a weekend series in Detroit.  Credit the Dodgers for continuing to find ways to improve the team despite 86 wins on August 19th.

Credit:  Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Have a great Saturday!  Seems like a good day to beat the Red Sox!  Let’s Go Yankees!

The Mitchell Report: An A+ for Dellin!…

Credit:  Rich Schultz-Associated Press

Yankees 7, Mets 5…

Bryan Mitchell tried to give the game away, loading the bases with no outs in the bottom of the 9th and then allowing a grand salami by former Yank Curtis Granderson, but Dellin Betances came in (“it’s not really what you want to do” –Joe Girardi) to restore order and give the Yankees the series sweep over the New York Mets.

This should have been an easy win with the dominance of Luis Severino and the power of Gary Sanchez but it was a nail-bitter at the end.  If the Mets had gotten a runner on base against Betances, they would have brought the potential game-tying run to the plate.  But Dellin is no Aroldis Chapman (of late) and he shut the door. 

This game should have been all about the Kraken.  Gary Sanchez is rapidly becoming Mr August although I’d be okay with Mr August through October.  He owned August last year and he owns it again this season.  Brett Gardner led off with a bouncer back to Mets pitcher Steven Matz and reached second when Matz’s throw sailed over first baseman Dominic Smith’s head.  Aaron Hicks walked.  After Aaron Judge struck out (record extended), El Gary came to the plate and sent a Matz pitch into the left center stands as a souvenir.  The Yankees led 3-0 to give Luis Severino some backing before he had even thrown a pitch.

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-Associated Press

The Yankees got to Matz again in the fourth inning.  Tyler Austin singled to right, his second hit of the game.  Ronald Torreyes followed with a single to left, a roller through the hole at short.  The best hit of the night, sorry Gary, came when Luis Severino popped a bunt that fell in for a single to load the bases.  The Yankees bench went nuts over Sevy’s first Major League hit.  Brett Gardner, showing the professional hitter that he is, lined a double into the left field corner.  Both Austin and Torreyes scored.  Sevy stopped at third, huffing and puffing (not seriously).  After Aaron Hicks grounded out, Aaron Judge was hit by a pitch and the bases were loaded again.  The Mets pulled Steven Matz and replaced him with reliever Chasen Bradford.  Gary Sanchez greeted Bradford with a single to left (through the hole between third and short), which scored Severino and Gardner.  Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud was unable to hold Yoenis Cespedes’ throw, otherwise, he might have had a play on Gardner at the plate.  The Yankees had scored 4 runs and now led 7-0.  

Credit:  Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Luis Severino was dominant after his collapse against Boston last weekend.  He pitched into the seventh inning.  He got the first out…a ground out by Amed Rosario, but from there, the inning deteriorated.  A fly ball to right by Travis d’Arnaud was dropped by Aaron Judge and d’Arnaud was able to reach second on the two-base error.  With Matt Reynolds batting, a wild pitch by Severino allowed d’Arnaud to move to third. It was another case where Gary Sanchez didn’t have his glove low enough to stop the pitch. Matt Reynolds looped a single to center to score d’Arnaud and the Mets had their first run of the game.  Brandon Nimmo also singled to center, and Sevy’s day was done. He could only watch from the dugout as both runners were his responsibility.  The Yankees brought in lefty Chasen Shreve, causing Tweeter to blow up with the “Chasen History” references due to the appearance of two Chasens (Shreve and the Mets’ Bradford) in the game.  Shreve struck out Curtis Granderson for the second out, but walked Asdrubal Cabrera to load the bases.  In perhaps what would prove to be one of the game’s biggest moments, Shreve struck out Michael Conforto to end the threat.

Shreve easily set down the Mets in the 8th, but Bryan Mitchell was brought in for the 9th to close it out.  Sadly, he was ill equipped for the job on this night.  Travis d’Arnaud led off with a double to the wall in left.  Matt Reynolds singled to right while d’Arnaud was held at third. Following a coaching visit by pitching coach Larry Rothschild (it didn’t work), Mitchell walked Brandon Nimmo to load the bases with no outs.  Curtis Granderson came up and jumped all over the first pitch from Mitchell for a grand slam to right.  Manager Joe Girardi was visibly unhappy (along with Yankees fans), and finally pulled Mitchell.  Enter Dellin Betances.  1-2-3, game over.  Yankees win!

The Boston Red Sox had the day off so the Yankees (65-55) picked up a 1/2 game and now trail the Sox by 4 games as they head to Boston for the weekend.  The Tampa Bay Rays continue to slide, falling to the Toronto Blue Jays, 5-3.  The loss, combined with the Blue Jays win, created a three-way tie for the AL East Cellar (the Baltimore Orioles were idle). All three teams trail the Yankees by 6 1/2 games.

Excellent pitching performance by Luis Severino (10-5).  After giving up 10 runs (8 earned) in his last start, Sevy bounced back to allow only four hits and one run (none earned) over 6 1/3 innings.  If not for Judge’s error, he probably could have gone deeper into the game.  He walked three batters, but struck out nine in lowering his season ERA to 3.18.  

Credit:  Mike Stobe-Getty Images

Also, you can’t say enough about the huge bullpen performances by Chasen Shreve and Dellin Betances, who picked up his eighth save.  Both pitchers had the outcome of the game in their hands and they triumphed.

As for Mitchell, I know that he is capable of providing long relief but I’d probably send him down to Triple A and recall hot reliever Ben Heller with Caleb Smith, also capable of going long, in the pen.   

Gary Sanchez…The Kraken…El Gary…The Sanchino.  Two hits, including the homer and five RBI’s.  Jump on his back and hold on…the man is on fire.  

Credit:  Mike Stobe-Getty Images

The streak continues.  Aaron Judge extended his own Major League record for strikeouts (by a non-pitcher) to 34 games.  I’d like to see a nice clean 4-for-4 day to put this one in the history books.  For this game, Judge went hitless in four at-bats and was punched out three times.  


The Yankees had a sense of humor with their Daenerys Targaryen (Game of Thrones) reference after the game:

We could probably use Dany’s dragons as the Yankees head north to Massachusetts.

game-thrones-loot-train-attack

Credit:  HBO

 

Next Up:  Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, Boston, MA…

The Red Sox come into the latest series well rested as they had the day off on Thursday following their walk-off win over the St Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night.  The Yankees meanwhile had to toil in Queens last night before hopping a plane for the short flight to Beantown.

Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups:

TODAY

Yankees: Jordan Montgomery (7-6, 3.94 ERA)

Red Sox:  Drew Pomeranz (12-4, 3.39 ERA)

SATURDAY

Yankees: CC Sabathia (9-5, 4.05 ERA)

Red Sox:  Chris Sale (14-4, 2.51 ERA)

SUNDAY

Yankees:  Sonny Gray (7-7, 3.37 ERA)

Red Sox:  Doug Fister (2-6, 5.56 ERA) / TBA

It’s unfortunate we won’t have Luis Severino for this series, but at least we have Sonny Gray.  Gray will be making his first start in the Yankees-Red Sox wars.  He’ll really find out that he no longer resides in Oakland (if watching last weekend’s series wasn’t enough).  I am not sure if Boston has fully decided its starter for Sunday.  Fister is a strong possibility but not a certainty.

 

Odds & Ends…

The Yankees have recalled 1B/OF Tyler Austin from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  He takes the place of 1B Garrett Cooper.  Cooper has been placed on the 10-day DL with left hamstring tendonitis.  

Greg Bird was in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lineup last night at DH.  He was 2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored in the RailRiders’ 5-4 win over the Gwinnett Braves (a team that will soon be called something like the Buttons or the Sweet Teas). 

Have a great Friday!  May the Baseball Gods favor the Yankees this weekend.  Go Yankees!

There Was Almost Life After Sale…

Credit:  Paul J Bereswill-NY Post

Red Sox 3, Yankees 2…

The Yankees had victory in their hands but Aroldis Chapman was unable to hold a one-run lead in the 9th and the Yankees fell to the Boston Red Sox in extra innings.  

This was one tough.  I felt very uneasy with Chapman taking the mound.  The Yankees really needed an insurance run in the 8th when Didi Gregorius struck out in the bottom of the 8th with runners at the corners and two outs.  I was concerned that Chapman would not be able to hold a one-run advantage.  Unfortunately, I was right.  Dellin Betances may have righted the ship but Chapman has not.  I don’t know if it’s the World Series “hangover” (too many pitches thrown in an extended season), but…right now…the Yankees have two better closers in Betances and David Robertson.  

It was expected that Chris Sale would be tough and he was.  Entering the game, his season ERA was only 1.15 against the Yankees in two starts.  We could have used that 0.15 of a run.  After Boston had scored the game’s first run in the top of the 5th on a run-scoring single by Jackie Bradley, Jr, the Yankees struck back against Sale when they got their turn at bat.  Chase Headley lined a one-out single to center.  After Ronald Torreyes struck out, Austin Romine tripled to right to score Headley.  Mookie Betts was at the wall but couldn’t make the catch on Romine’s hit.  The game was tied at 1.  It would be the sole run the Yankees would score off Sale.  He went 7 strong innings and only allowed 4 hits and the single run, while walking 2 and striking out 12.  

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-The Associated Press

Still, the Yankees had a chance.  Jordan Montgomery, struck in the head by a line drive during batting practice on Saturday, was excellent.  He kept the Yankees in the game, holding the Red Sox at bay to match Sale’s dominance for 5 1/3 innings.  The Red Sox were able to get only two hits off Monty, and the run in the 5th.  Throwing 84 pitches, Monty did walk 3 batters but struck out 4.  

Credit:  Jason Scenes-EPA

With Sale out of the game, the Yankees finally broke through with a run in the 8th against Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes.  Aaron Hicks worked a one-out walk.  Aaron Judge singled to right, Hicks moved to second.  Another walk, this time to Gary Sanchez, loaded the bases.    Todd Frazier hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Hicks with the go-ahead run.  The Yankees led, 2-1.  The Red Sox pulled Barnes and replaced him with reliever Robby Scott to face Didi Gregorius.  A single by Didi in this spot would have been huge, but sadly Scott struck out Didi on three pitches.

Enter Aroldis Chapman, goodbye potential win.  With two strikes on Rafael Devers, Chapman unleashed a 103 mph fastball and Devers was ready for it.  Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks could only watch as the ball landed over the wall in left center.  The game was tied.

Credit:  Bill Kostroun

The Yankees could have won the game in the bottom of the 9th.  With Addison Reed pitching, Chase Headley led off with a walk.  Ronald Torreyes laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Headley to second.  Jacoby Ellsbury, pinch hitting for Austin Romine, grounded out to first, but Headley was able to advance to third.  The potential winning run just 90 feet away.  The Sox replaced Reed with closer Craig Kimbrel to face Brett Gardner.  It was a big opportunity for Gardy but but he struck out to end the inning.

Aroldis Chapman was still on the mound when the Yankees took the field in the 10th.  With one out, he hit Jackie Bradley, Jr with a pitch and walked Eduardo Nunez.  Manager Joe Girardi finally had the stones to remove Chapman and replaced him with Tommy Kahnle.  Kahnle walked the first batter he faced (Mookie Betts) to load the bases.  Andrew Benintendi’s single to right scored JBJ with the go-ahead run.  Kahnle was able to retire the next two batters but the damage had been done.  The Sox were up, 3-2.

Craig Kimbrel easily retired the Yankees in the bottom of the 10th, and the Red Sox walked off the field with the game and series win.

It won’t get any easier when the Yankees play in Boston next weekend.  The Red Sox do not fear Chapman, nor should they have any reason to.  “He’s my closer”, Joe Girardi said after the game.  Live by the sword, die by the sword.  

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-The Associated Press

The Yankees (61-55) fell a season high 5 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East.  They had a chance to make a statement and it didn’t happen.  The Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles were unable to make up any ground on the Yankees.  The Rays lost, 4-3, to the Cleveland Indians while the O’s were thumped, 9-3, by the Oakland A’s.  The A’s are 3 1/2 games behind the Yankees, while the O’s are trailing by four.  The Yankees hold the Wild Card advantage by 1 1/2 games over the Los Angeles Angels (where did they come from?…) and 2 games over Jaime Garcia’s former team (for 6 days), the Minnesota Twins.  

Aaron Hicks made a great diving catch in the first inning to rob Eduardo Nunez of an extra-base hit.  

Aaron Judge had three more strikeouts on Sunday to extend his consecutive game streak to 30.  He trails the record that Adam Dunn set, for non-pitchers, in 2012 with strikeouts in 32 consecutive games.  The Yankees really need Judge to make the necessary adjustments to get out of this funk if they are to have any October aspirations.

Credit:  Mike Stobe-Getty Images

Next Up:  New York Mets at Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY (2) and Citi Field, Flushing, NY (2)…

The Yankees play a quick two-game set at home against the Mets before the series resumes at Citi Field for two games beginning on Wednesday.  The series follows some recent bad blood between the two teams over contentious failed trade negotiations leading up to the trading deadline.

Here are the pitching match-ups:

TODAY

Mets:  Rafael Montero (1-8, 6.06 ERA)

Yankees:  Luis Cessa (0-3, 4.83 ERA)

TUESDAY

Mets:  Jacob DeGrom (13-5, 3.21 ERA)

Yankees:  Sonny Gray (6-7, 3.39 ERA)

WEDNESDAY

Yankees:  Jaime Garcia (1-1, 5.82 ERA)

Mets:  Seth Lugo (5-3, 4.85 ERA)

THURSDAY

Yankees:  Luis Severino (9-5, 3.32 ERA)

Mets:  Steven Matz (2-6, 5.54 ERA)

May Sonny Gray and Jaime Garcia finally got some runs to work with, and may Luis Severino pitch much, much better than he did last Saturday against the Red Sox.  As for Cessa today, at least he’s facing a pitcher with 8 losses and ERA above six.  

Odds & Ends…

Prior to Sunday’s game, the Yankees returned reliever Giovanny Gallegos to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and recalled LHP Caleb Smith (who had been scheduled to pitch for the RailRiders on Sunday but was scratched with the promotion).  LHP Nestor Cortes made the start for SWB in Smith’s place.  Cortes didn’t get the win but he held the Durham Bulls to one hit and one unearned run in 4 2/3 innings.  With no free passes, he struck out eight.  The RailRiders won the game on a two-run homer by Ji-Man Choi in the top of the 9th.

The Texas Rangers have released infielder Pete Kozma who was on the Yankees’ opening day roster as an injury replacement for Didi Gregorius.  The Rangers had previously sold reliever Ernesto Frieri, who was in spring training with the Yankees, to the Seattle Mariners for $1 earlier in the week.  

The Houston Astros have acquired reliever Tyler Clippard from the Chicago White Sox for a player to be named later or cash considerations.  Clippard rebuilt his stock after the trade   from the Yankees to the White Sox.  Although he lost his first appearance for the White Sox, he won his only other decision in 11 appearances and finished with a 1.80 ERA and two saves.  The Astros get a much better pitcher than the Yankees had earlier this year.

Have a great Monday!  A win today would be great!  Let’s Go Yankees!

Sevy & The Saturday Hangover…

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-The Associated Press

Red Sox 10, Yankees 5…

I have been guilty of using the word “ace” when it comes to Luis Severino but performances like Saturday when Sevy imploded against the Boston Red Sox serves as a reminder that he is not there yet.  After the brilliant come-from-behind win on Friday night, it was the Red Sox who caught and then battered the Yankees.

Boston rookie left-fielder Andrew Benintendi, 23, became the youngest Red Sox player to have 6 RBI’s against the Yankees since 1920.  He was just the second Red Sox hitter to belt two homers of three or more runs since legendary HOFer Jimmie Foxx did it twice during the 1938 season.

The game started beautifully.  Severino retired the first three Red Sox hitters on six pitches to start the game, and the Yankees jumped on Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz in the bottom of the first.  Brett Gardner led off with a single to left.  After Pomeranz struck out Aarons Hicks and Judge, Gary Sanchez took advantage of the right field porch to give the Yankees the early 2-0 lead.

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-The Associated Press

Severino was still dominant in the second inning.  He only needed 11 pitches to retire the four through six hitters of the Red Sox lineup, including a swinging strikeout of Hanley Ramirez to start the inning.

The game changed in the third inning.  With the Yankees still leading 2-0, Severino walked Christian Vazquez and Jackie Bradley, Jr with one out.  A fielding error by Todd Frazier  (dropped the ball on the transfer from his glove) allowed Eduardo Nunez to reach base and the bases were loaded.  Mookie Betts singled to left in the hole through short, scoring Vazquez and JBJ, and the game was tied.  Andrew Benintendi hit a sharp fly that hit the top of the center field wall and bounced over for a three run homer. The Red Sox had taken a 5-2 lead.  They got a couple more singles (by Hanley Ramirez and Mitch Moreland), but the Yankees were able to get out of the inning when Xander Bogaerts lined out to left and Brett Gardner’s throw to second doubled Ramirez off 2nd for the final out.

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-The Associated Press

The Yankees looked like they were going to make it a game again in the 4th inning.  Severino struck out the side to bring the Yankees to bat.  Didi Gregorius led off with a single to center.  Todd Frazier walked, and Chase Headley singled to center to load the bases.  Jacoby Ellsbury grounded out to first, but Gregorius came home to score and it was 5-3.  The Yankees were unable to push any more runs across when both Ronald Torreyes and Brett Gardner popped out against Pomeranz.  The missed opportunity hurt because the Red Sox would make the Yankees pay the next inning.

Eduardo Nunez led off the fifth with a single to left.  Mookie Betts doubled to left, with Nunez moving to third.  Andrew Benintendi came up again and belted his second home run of the game, and 16th of the year, to give the Red Sox an 8-3 advantage. I am sure the ‘no doubt about it’ blast to the right center field stands caused the bars in Boston to erupt. After Hanley Ramirez flied out, Mitch Moreland doubled to left.  Xander Bogaerts reached base on a throwing error by Didi Gregorius and Moreland moved to third.  Manager Joe Girardi ended Severino’s day and brought in Giovanny Gallegos.  Boston rookie third baseman Rafael Devers greeted Gallegos with a double to center, scoring both Moreland and Bogaerts.  Gallegos retired the next two batters but the Red Sox had scored 5 times to increase their lead to 10-3.

The Yankees added a couple of solo home runs in the bottom of the 9th when both Chase Headley and Jacoby Ellsbury went yard, but it was too little, too late.  Red Sox reliever Robby Scott settled down and retired the next three Yankees to end the game.

Credit:  Getty Images

The Yankees (61-54) fell back to 4 1/2 games behind the Red Sox with the loss.  It doesn’t bode well for Sunday with Chris Sale pitching for Boston.  Sale hasn’t beaten the Yankees this year, but he’ll bring a 1.15 ERA into the game based on two starts against the Bombers.  For a team struggling to score, Sale is not exactly a recipe for success.  The Tampa Bay Rays were unable to make up any ground on the Yankees and remain 3 1/2 games behind New York.  They were shut out by the Cleveland Indians, 3-0.  The Baltimore Orioles moved back to 4 games behind the Yankees with their 12-5 win over the Oakland A’s.

Aaron Judge was cold as ice.  He was 0-for-4, with two strikeouts.  He extended his own team record with his 29th consecutive game with a strikeout.  While Judge is still the favorite for AL Rookie of the Year, Benintendi is the one making noise in the Dog Days of Summer.  Later in the day, I turned on the TV to see Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger belt his 34th home of the season against the San Diego Padres.  The other top rookies have made the necessary adjustments.  Hopefully Judge can figure this out and follow suit.  He is capable of doing to Boston what Benintendi did to the Yankees.

Credit:  Robert Sabo

Luis Severino’s final line was very ugly.  4 1/3 innings, 8 hits, 10 runs (8 earned), 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts.  He gave up the two homers to Benintendi.  His season record dropped to 9-5 and his ERA was inflated to 3.32.  Nice job by Gallegos after he got past the two-run double by Devers.  He pitched 2 2/3 innings, allowing only the double, and struck out 4.  Bryan Mitchell pitched the final two innings, giving up three hits but no runs.

Credit:  Rich Schultz-Getty Images

Odds & Ends…

Saturday opened with news that Masahiro Tanaka had been placed on the 10-day DL with shoulder inflammation.  Tanaka will avoid pitching for 5 days but is expected to return when eligible.  To take his place, the Yankees recalled reliever Giovanny Gallegos (who relieved Luis Severino in Saturday’s game).  I had thought Bryan Mitchell would get the start on Monday in place of Tanaka, but his two innings of work probably means that Luis Cessa will be recalled to make the start against the New York Mets.  No announcement has been made regarding who will make the start.  Caleb Smith is scheduled to start for the RailRiders today so he’s probably not an option.  The long-anticipated MLB debut for Chance Adams will have to wait since Adams pitched Friday night and is not an option for Monday.

The Yankees almost lost another starter when Jordan Montgomery took a ball to the head during Red Sox batting practice.  Montgomery was signing autographs for fans down the right field line when he was struck by a line drive off the bat of Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon.  Talking to reporters later, Montgomery said that he’ll be fine and will make today’s start but you could clearly see a laceration on his ear from the seams on the baseball.  Very scary but hopefully he’ll have no lasting effects.

Credit:  Kathy Willens-The Associated Press

Have a great Sunday!  Here’s hoping the Yankees can defy the odds against Sale and took the series with a win.  Let’s Go Yankees!