With tonight’s loss to the Boston Red Sox, the Yankees have lost three consecutive games, and the gap between the two teams has shrunk to 8.5 games. The Yankees will have to salvage the Sunday night finale tomorrow to avoid a sweep, with Domingo German on the mound looking to stop the agony against Chris Sale.
Never in recent memory have we witnessed such a bludgeoning by the Red Sox offense. The consistent punishment that the Red Sox have levied on the Yanekes could ultimately be a gift and a curse. The Yankees’ pitching has been demolished this week, but perhaps things will work out better for it, if this streak spurs Brian Cashman and the front office to augment what looks like a glaring weakness ahead of next Wednesday’s trade deadline.
Boston has worn out New York’s pitching staff during this series. CC Sabathia went 4.1 innings, which was the longest outing by a starter since Masahiro Tanaka went six innings on July 20th against the Rockies. Sabathia allowed five runs and nine hits, including two home runs, one a cheap shot around Pesky’s Pole by Andrew Benintendi, and another by J.D. Martinez, who is riding a tremendous hot streak and has homered on back-to-back nights.
Sabathia eventually departed the game in the fifth inning with the Yankees trailing 5-3. With yet another short start in the books, the bullpen was asked to cover a lot of ground, and at this point, the wear and tear is showing. Even a bullpen as deep as the Yankees’ can be exposed when overworked, and with starters failing to make it out of the fifth on the regular, they certainly look taxed.
Chad Green had been masterful since May 27th, garnering a 0.67 ERA, but that immediately changed after allowing four runs off five hits in 2.1 innings in relief of Sabathia, letting the Red Sox to blow the game open. Gio Urshela provided most of the damage for Yankees on offense, collecting four hits with two RBI, including a solo homer in the second inning. Edwin Encarnacion added RBI double off the green monster that gave the Yankees an early 2-1 lead, before Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts helped Boston retake the lead for good.
In the eighth inning with the game seemingly safely in the bag for Boston, Kyle Higashioka added a two-out two-run single to make it 9-5. The Yankees couldn’t finish the rally from there, going down one-two-three in the ninth against Brandon Workman
The Red Sox have scored at least eight runs against the Yankees six straight times, the first time that has ever happened between the two historic rivals. Coming into this series, New York had a chance to make a statement and they’ve failed, drastically. Boston has won fix of their last six games during a huge two-week stretch that has the two teams seeing each other again for another four games next weekend.
Boston have shown us that they're not going to just accept their early-season struggles and go away. There are 58 games remaining in the season and an 8.5-game lead isn’t insurmountable. The damage that’s been inflicted on the Yankees’ staff this week is the same damage that their lineup should be imposing on opposing hurlers. Let’s hope they start turning the tables soon and keep the Red Sox from growing any closer in the AL East.