Despite having momentum on their side for a critical playoff game, the New York Yankees absolutely laid an egg in Game Three of the ALDS, losing to the Boston Red Sox 16-1. Luis Severino was atrocious and the offense was nonexistent, leading to an absolute disaster at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are just one loss away from their season ending.
It was clear early on that Severino was not as sharp tonight as he was in the Wild Card Game. He gave up a lot of hard contact in the first inning, but fortunately escaped unscathed. There was a misty rain in the air at Yankee Stadium, which made it difficult for the outfielders to track the ball early. Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge, however, picked up their pitcher with some nice plays in the outfield.
Severino continued to struggle with his control in the second. He grooved a pitch to Rafael Devers that the third baseman ripped for a long single, and Devers promptly stole second. Devers later scored on an infield single from Christian Vazquez, making it 1-0 Red Sox. While Severino wasn’t getting destroyed, he was allowing a ton of balls to be put into play, and the Red Sox took advantage and snagged a quick lead on the road.
Meanwhile, Nathan Eovaldi set the Yankees down in order to start off the game. He entered the game on a 16-inning shutout streak against the Yankees, making him the right choice for Alex Cora in the big game. He would finish with seven innings of one-run ball, as he continued to puzzle the Bombers.
Severino ran into deeper trouble in the third inning, as Mookie Betts singled and Andrew Benintendi doubled to lead off the inning. J.D. Martinez drove Betts in with a sacrifice fly, and Xander Bogaerts followed with a single, putting runners on the corners with just one out. Then, Devers picked up an RBI groundout, making it 3-0 Boston. The Yankees were only down by three, but Severino was losing his composure and the team needed to show some signs of life with the game slipping away.
Gleyber Torres singled to lead off the bottom of the third, but the Yankees kept on making weak outs, turning in another scoreless frame. After that, the Red Sox went for the kill. Holt and Vazquez ripped two singles to lead off the fourth, and it looked like Severino was totally out of gas. Aaron Boone kept him in the game though, and Severino promptly walked the nine-hole hitter, Jackie Bradley Jr. to load the bases. Severino exited with a terrible line: three innings, seven hits, six runs, two walks, and two strikeouts. In the Yankees’ biggest game of the year, Severino choked.
Lance Lynn was no better. He forced in a run by walking Betts, making it 4-0. Benintendi followed up with a bases-clearing double, to make it an unlucky seven-run deficit for the Yankees. By the time the Yankees got the first out of the inning (to J.D. Martinez, of all people), 18 minutes had passed, four runs had scored, and it was 7-0 Red Sox. Chad Green added to the nightmare by surrendering a two-out, two-run triple to Brock Holt. When the inning was mercifully over, it was 10-0 Red Sox in just the fourth inning.
The key to Boston’s big inning was that Holt, Vazquez, and Bradley, the team’s 7-8-9 hitters, set up most of the damage. If Betts, Benintendi, and Martinez pummeled the Yankees’ pitching, that’s at least understandable. It’s embarrassing, however, to allow the bottom three hitters of Boston’s order to reach base nine out of 17 times, scoring six runs and driving in six more in the process.
The bullpen may have put the game out of reach, but Severino buried the team early. To add insult to injury, Severino reportedly showed up late for his pregame warm-up session, which may have contributed to his poor performance. Boone also deserves blame for ignoring the signs of fatigue and leaving Severino in too long. Everything about this game was a terrible look for the Yankees.
The Yankees did get a token run in the fourth inning after a couple of singles and a fielder’s choice, but the only positive after that was that the Red Sox didn’t score again until the seventh inning. While Eovaldi continued to hush the Yankees’ hitters all night, Jonathan Holder and Stephen Tarpley allowed four more runs. The ultimate humiliation came when Austin Romine toed the rubber in the ninth inning, and surrendered a home run to Holt, giving him the second cycle of his career and making it 16-1 Red Sox. Holt is the only batter to hit for the cycle in a postseason game. Again, I really wasn’t exaggerating when I said that everything about this game was a terrible look for the Yankees.
The Yankees missed a huge opportunity to assert themselves at home field and pin the Red Sox in a corner, and their next game will come with their season on the line. Noted staff stopper CC Sabathia will get the ball for the Yankees in Game 4 on Tuesday, while Rick Porcello will go for the Red Sox. The Yankees have had a fun season so far; here’s to hoping that it doesn’t end on Tuesday. They’ll need every fan’s support at Yankee Stadium for the pivotal Game Four.