After a rough series in Boston last weekend, the Yankees returned the favor by taking the first three games of this week’s series.
Saturday night’s bullpen game started with Chad Green, who continued to bring positive results. The rest of the game played right into one of the team’s biggest strengths, as Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle, Zack Britton, and Aroldis Chapman combined for four scoreless innings.
Green opened things up as usual, striking out both Mookie Betts and Rafael Devers, finishing with a 1-2-3 inning. Green did take the mound for the second, but after a walk to J.D. Martinez , the first batter of the inning, his appearance was quickly over.
Nestor Cortes Jr. came in after Green once again, finding a way to strand two runners ending the second. Unfortunately for Cortes Jr., the third inning would be his last. According to Statcast, all five balls put into play against him in the third had a exit velocity over 90 miles per hour. The hardest hit ball came off Rafael Devers’ bat at 103.9 miles per hour for a two-run homer.
Like Friday, Gleyber Torres got the Yankees on the board in the following half, hitting a solo home run to make it 2-1. The hits kept coming against Brian Johnson as Aaron Hicks and Gio Urshela both singled. Cameron Maybin, who looked completely fooled facing Johnson during his first at-bat, adjusted in his second trip to the plate and hit a full-count curve ball down the third base line for a two-run double to give the Yankees the lead.
Chance Adams entered as the third pitcher for the Yankees and things got interesting quickly. Following a walk to Sam Travis, Christian Vazquez doubled to put two runners in scoring position for the Red Sox. A weak fly ball and a strikeout later, Adams had Betts at the plate with two outs. The reigning AL MVP flipped a first-pitch curveball low and away to single in both runners retaking the lead for Boston at 4-3.
Torres continued his hot streak by homering off Josh Taylor to tie the game at four apiece. Taylor would figure it out allowing just the one run for a total of 1.2 innings as Matt Barnes finished the sixth inning. Combined with Adam Ottavino and Tommy Kahnle putting up zeros, the scoring was put on ice until Torres would once again rev it up for the Yankees.
Barnes returned for the bottom of the seventh, almost allowing the third home run to Torres, instead he missed going over the right field wall by a couple of feet settling for a lead-off double. Barnes wasn’t able to put away hitters with two strikes tonight as both Hicks and Urshela put together great at-bats, creating two consecutive walks. With the bases loaded Maybin struck out swinging on a curveball, but Tauchman was ready for the hook in the following at-bat, hitting a single to the left side good for two runs batted in. A groundout by Valera and fly ball by LeMahieu, however, would end the threat.
Much like the Yankees in the bottom of the seventh, the Red Sox would load the bases with Zack Britton on the mound in the top of the eighth. Rafael Devers came to the plate and saw just the second and third slider thrown by Britton for the night, who threw a total of 27 pitches, the rest being sinkers of course. Devers took his second strike looking on a slider, and for his third strike, he attempted to make contact. Britton, however, buried the pitch and the inning as well.
Chapman made things a bit interesting after a walk to Martinez who had a perfect game, reaching base on four walks and a single in his five plate appearances. But Chapman would end the threat there. A 100.8 mph fourseam fastball struck out Andrew Benintend, and a 102.1 mph heater got Sam Travis to end the game.
The Yankees look to sweep the four-game series with J.A. Happ on the mound as he returns from paternity leave. Happ was the lone pitcher who wasn’t able to face the Red Sox last weekend, but he looks to build on a quality start against the Arizona Diamondbacks in his last outing. With a win tomorrow the Yankees would place Boston 14.5 games back from first place, essentially leaving them to only think about the Tampa Bay Rays.