How about this win? The Yankees continued their impression of the living undead for seven innings before snapping the Red Sox’ eight-game winning streak. A sleepy game, almost certainly doomed to a loss, resulted in an explosive comeback victory (and near vomit-inducing save situation). It may not be the best win of the year, but it certainly will loom large. With the division race in the balance, the Yankees took game one from Boston by the score of 5 - 4.
Things got off to an inauspicious start for the Yankees as Jaime Garcia got burned in the first inning. Hanley Ramirez, who outright torments the Bombers, struck again. With two outs and one runner on, Garcia left a four-seam fastball over the inside of the plate and belt-high.
Ramirez turned on it for a two-run shot. The gave the Red Sox a quick 2 - 0 lead. It also served as Ramirez’s 11th home run against the Yankees. Somehow it feels like it’s been more than that.
Garcia found himself in more trouble during the third inning. After quickly retiring Eduardo Nunez, the veteran southpaw loaded the bases on a pair of singles and an intentional walk. For a moment it appeared like the Yankees were heading towards a disaster, but give Garcia credit. He escaped the jam courtesy of a Chris Young strikeout and a Xander Bogaerts groundball. That inning aged us all by at least five years.
The tightrope act didn’t last long, though. After working three scoreless frames, Garcia allowed a solo home run to Andrew Benintendi in the fifth inning. That made it 3 - 0, Boston. Given the Yankees’ lack of offense, the game felt out of reach.
All together, Garcia pitched a solid game. He allowed three runs over 5.2 innings of work. He also registered six strikeouts. That’s what you want to see from a team’s fifth starter. He kept the Yankees in the game, and that proved pivotal for the comeback. To get there though, we have to examine how bad the offense looked for most of the game.
Eduardo Rodriguez isn’t exactly a great pitcher. He owned a career 4.21 ERA over 310.1 innings. He’s been a serviceable arm, but nothing extraordinary. Despite that, he seems to always find a way to shut down the Yankees.
Lowest ERA vs. Yankees since 2015 (30+ IP)— James Smyth (@JamesSmyth621) August 11, 2017
Dallas Keuchel 0.98
Chris Sale 1.71
J.A. Happ 1.99
* Eduardo Rodriguez 2.66
Rick Porcello 2.84
Friday night proved no different as he held the Yankees scoreless for six innings. At several different points it looked like the Bombers had Rodriguez on the ropes. In the first inning, the young left-hander issued back-to-back walks to Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. With just one out and a rapidly climbing pitch count, the Yankees appeared poised to strike. Unfortunately they couldn’t capitalize, as a pair of lineouts off the bats of Didi Gregorius and Todd Frazier ended the inning.
The Yankees had other chances, too. Aaron Hicks and Ronald Torreyes launched one-out doubles in the third and fifth innings, respectively. The rest of the lineup unfortunately couldn’t bring them home. The team-wide struggles with runners in scoring position continued. Even the well hit balls resulted in outs. Jacoby Ellsbury crushed one in the second that had a chance to go out, but was caught on the right field warning track.
Thankfully the Bombers had better luck against the Red Sox bullpen. Addison Reed came on in the eighth inning and he became the antidote to the Yankees’ hitting woes. After hitting Brett Gardner with a pitch, he served up a hanging slider to Hicks. A-A-Ron turned on it, pulling it over the short porch for a two-run home run. That shot brought the Yankees to within one.
Reed then allowed two more basesrunners on a Sanchez single and Judge walk. Manager John Farrell saw enough and decided to go to Joe Kelly to face Gregorius with two on and nobody out. The Yankees shortstop flicked a two-seamer into center field to plate Sanchez. The Yankees came all the way back to tie the game, and they weren’t done yet. Frazier followed with a RBI single of his own to give the Bombers a 4 - 3 lead.
Kelly managed to retire Chase Headley for the first out, but he worked into further trouble. After allowing a single to Ellsbury to load the bases, Kelly served up a sacrifice fly off the bat of Torreyes. The Yankees scored five times in the bottom of the eighth to steal the victory. The sleepwalking offense came to life and the whole dynamic of the series changed.
Because nothing could be easy with this team, Aroldis Chapman came on in the ninth and immediately walked the bases loaded. He didn’t record a single out. Chapman had no feel for the strike zone whatsoever. With Dellin Betances ready to go, Joe Girardi made no indication he was going to lift Chapman. Frustrating doesn’t begin to properly convey the emotions here.
Luckily Chapman forced Benintendi to fly out to right field. Jackie Bradley Jr. scored on the play, but not before Nunez got thrown out at third base. Hicks fired a missile to Frazier who applied the tag. A Mitch Moreland fly ball to center field thankfully ended the game. The Yankees won, but they did so despite Chapman. A win is a win though, and this is just what the Bombers needed.
These two teams meet again tomorrow at 4:05 PM. It will be Luis Severino against Drew Pomeranz.