The New York Yankees are the last team to be shut out this season. No Yankees team has gone a full season without a shutout since the 1932 squad. I know this because I had compiled a sheaf of research on teams and shutout streaks for a post in September, closer to the end of the season, that now will never be realized. So that’s my personal rant for today.
These two teams have played 43 innings in three days. With all that, it’s not surprising both games today were pretty quiet offensively, as rested starting pitchers will almost always have an advantage over tired batters.
David Price pitched as well as I’ve seen all year, with his longest start of the season at eight innings. His velocity was up early, and he pounded the inside part of the plate well enough that most of the Yankees hitters backed off. He did wear down a little bit towards the end, giving up some loud contact and one should-have-been-a-home-run off Aaron Judge, but was bailed out by a spectacular catch from Jackie Bradley Jr.
Seriously. Aaron Judge hit a baseball more than 420 feet, and instead of it landing several rows deep, a centerfielder was able to catch it. Fenway Park is terrible.
Masahiro Tanaka was no slouch on the mound either. He made one mistake in the third to Mookie Betts, but 7.2 innings with nine strikeouts will play any day for me. The 10 ground-ball outs as well make tonight’s start a solid addition to the “positive” column for Tanaka’s season, a column that has looked rather skimpy at times in 2017.
After allowing the third run in the sixth on a pretty bad defensive play by Ronald Torreyes, Tanaka was faced with two men on and one out, but managed to settle down. He struck out both Hanley Ramirez and Bradley Jr. to work out of trouble. There have been a number of starts where we would all collectively be panicking about Tanaka being in that situation, and tonight never really felt all that out of hand.
I think we all kind of forgot, after seeing Craig Kimbrel blow a save yesterday, that he really is very, very good. We need to be reminded of that because Kimbrel was pretty shaky in the ninth again tonight, giving up a double to Didi Gregorius then walking Brett Gardner. A final strikeout got him out of trouble, but a vulnerable Kimbrel is going to spell trouble for the Sox going forward.
Splitting a four game set on the road is never a bad thing, and both games today saw excellent performances from the Yankees starters, giving the bullpen the rest they desperately needed. The team heads to Minnesota tonight for a series against the Twins. Expect to see Judge sit one of the first two games out, and possibly DH another. The man hasn’t left his feet for weeks it seems.
Catch first pitch tomorrow at 8:05 pm EDT, and see if you can spot our own Greg Kirkland in the stands at Target Field.