CC Sabathia is no longer the pitcher at the top of the Yankees’ rotation. He is not generally the guy the team depends on to play the stopper in 2017. However, that is exactly the role he played Wednesday night against Boston in a dominating performance.
The big left-hander was absolutely brilliant in eight shutout innings against the Red Sox. He allowed just five scattered hits, no walks, and struck out five batters. At one point Sabathia’s knee brace had to be removed mid-inning, which felt a bit concerning. The knee brace has seemed very important to Sabathia’s success over the last two seasons. He kept right on trucking without it, though.
Sabathia retired the last 12 batters he faced before giving way to Jonathan Holder for the final three outs. Holder was able to keep the Red Sox off the board with an uneventful inning to preserve the shutout.
Offensively, Chris Carter was the star of the show. He drove in four runs from the nine spot in the order, including a long three-run home run. He very nearly had himself another home run that was saved by a leaping catch on the part of Mookie Betts. Carter singled right up against the wall in the eighth to drive home another run.
A fan in right field very obviously reached over the wall into the field of play as Betts secured the catch. Joe Girardi asked for a review that never came, but it seemed unlikely to go his way either way. It wasn’t over the wall when the fan touched it, and Betts caught the ball anyway.
Most of the damage the Yankees inflicted on the Red Sox came from the bottom of their lineup. Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius had two hits each, including a solo shot by Gregorius to open the scoring in the third inning. Starlin Castro also had two hits to mitigate the recent slide he’s been on.
One Yankee that the Red Sox were able to contain quite well was Aaron Judge. The Yankees’ MVP candidate was 0-4 with two strikeouts in the game. Aaron Hicks also went hitless despite his season-long tear. The Yankees didn’t need production from either one of them this time around, as the bottom of the order provided more than enough run support.
New York will send Michael Pineda to the mound tomorrow to try and secure a series victory against David Price. With the win, the Yankees move back to two games up in the AL East to ensure that they will come away from the series with a guaranteed lead over the Red Sox and Orioles for the division.