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Yankees 1, Red Sox 5: Sluggish offense, sluggish pitching, series lost

That was not a fun game.

MLB: New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox
This part of the game was cool
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

I said in the game thread that the Yankees had played the Red Sox tough all season, and even after today the Bronx Bombers have a winning record against Boston in 2017. It was hard to tell that today, though, as the Yankees dropped a long, slow affair 5-1.

What a strange start for Sonny Gray. The right-hander worked slowly and deliberately, walking two (one intentionally) and scattering seven hits over five innings. Most bizarrely in a record-setting year of strikeouts, Gray couldn’t sit down a single batter. Gray didn’t pitch particularly well, but aside from a Jackie Bradley Jr. triple in the second, he was able to avoid damage. The triple into Fenway’s center field triangle plated two, which in hindsight was all the Red Sox needed.

Gray was helped out by a number of sparkling defensive plays, including two from center fielder Aaron Hicks. A diving catch to save a single and a leap to rob Hanley Ramirez of an RBI double kept the Red Sox at bay, and a perfect snap-throw from Gary Sanchez caught Rafael Devers leaning off first for another sparkling out.

Adam Warren was the first up to soak up some innings after Gray’s early departure, and couldn’t quite get the job done, recording two outs while surrendering two hits and a run to push the lead to 3-1. With Brock Holt due up, Joe Girardi brought in ex-closer Aroldis Chapman for a lefty-on-lefty matchup. He struck out Holt on three pitches. After that, Chapman wasn’t very good. Mookie Betts walked to start the seventh, and while the next three outs were recorded without giving up a run, Chapman threw 20 pitches to retire three batters. Chapman’s appearance was shoddy and did little to inspire confidence that he’s “back” as a trusted reliever.

You’ll notice I haven’t talked about the Yankee offense yet, and that’s mostly because there wasn’t really much of an offensive effort. Brett Gardner had a solo home run in the fifth, but other than that neither Rick Porcello nor Brandon Workman had anything strenuous to work through for seven innings. The best chance the Yankees had, aside from the home run, was in the fourth following back to back walks. With one out, Todd Frazier popped into an infield fly, and yesterday’s hero Tyler Austin struck out, ending the threat.

The poor relief pitching continued in the eighth, as Tommy Kahnle put two men on before Sandy Leon drove them both in with a double to make it 5-1. Surprisingly, John Farrell brought Craig Kimbrel in in a non-save situation, and he was his normal impeccable self, retiring the Yankees in order to finish the game.

The last two weekends have been frustrating for the team and fans, and this game in particular might have been the worst loss of the season for me, but the Yankees have won five of their last seven games. They’ll take a much-needed off day Monday before Masahiro Tanaka comes off the DL to take on the Tigers Tuesday night in Detroit.