Tonight was a goat rodeo. The game was delayed an hour before first pitch even though it wasn’t raining in the Bronx at the time. Then once it DID start raining, the game kept going, and going, and going, before finally entering a delay. At the end of the day, Gary Sánchez and Gleyber Torres kind of, sort of hit walk off home runs? They went back to back in a soaking wet sixth inning, and the game ended after six full, Yankees topping the Red Sox 3-1.
The game started ominously enough, with Kiké Hernández doubling off Cole on the first pitch he threw. Tim Locastro then tweaked his knee making a catch at the wall in left field, and was subbed out for between innings. Fortunately, Cole got back into Ace Mode, striking out JD Martinez with three straight sliders before setting down Rafael Devers as well.
Nathan Eovaldi no hit the Yankees through the first four, in that strange combination of good stuff, combined with bad at-bats by the Yankees, that we’ve seen all too often this season. It was anyone’s guess when, or if, the Yankees would actually mount some kind of offensive push, and it came in the fifth inning with two out.
Greg Allen hit a double into the right-center gap, his second hit in as many days with the big league club. DJ LeMahieu then followed it up with a big RBI single to tie the game at one. And then, well ... Giancarlo Stanton had the kind of AB that really defines this season’s Yankee offense.
He goes up 3-0, doesn’t expand the zone, doesn’t chase, real good discipline in a big spot. Takes a borderline pitch for a strike, takes a second, albeit better, strike, and then fouls off a pitch that isn’t in a terrible location, but probably can’t really drive.
Then he gets a fastball up, and he’s under it, and it’s an easy flyout. Good discipline, good battle at the plate, just doesn’t drive the best pitch he sees with any authority. That’s overwhelmingly the problem with this team, not too many strikeouts, not too much chasing outside the zone, too many balls in play without any mustard on them.
Then we had a weird old sixth inning, as the skies really opened up. Gerrit Cole opened the frame with two strikeouts, before allowing a walk, infield hit, and walk. It looked like Cole’s great night was going to end ugly, just a base hit away from putting his club down a couple. Instead, Cole engineered a check swing third strike from Christian Vasquez, a checked swing that gave the Red Sox bench a coronary, and tightroped out of it.
In between innings, an idiot threw what looked like a baseball at Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo, who turned and expressed his extreme disappointment with said idiot. Alex Cora pulled his team off the field while officials ejected the left field idiot and hopefully banned him from the stadium. Don’t throw things on the field, people. It’s dangerous, it makes fans look bad, and it unnecessarily delayed a game that was already a slog.
The funk of Giancarlo Stanton’s AB still hung in the air in the bottom of the sixth, when two players that absolutely need to step up while the team weathers a COVID storm did just that, hitting back to back home runs to put the club up two:
Gary & Gleyby bring the thunder. pic.twitter.com/R8kOKcRbz9— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 18, 2021
Four batters and a pitching change later, the inning was over and the game mercifully went into a rain delay, and was called about an hour after that. The Yankees finally got a win against the division leading Red Sox.
Cole was terrific, not quite the showstopper he was against Houston last week, but 11 strikeouts against two walks will suit me just fine. He’s restored a lot of confidence that he can still be great under the foreign substance crackdown, pitching 15 innings of shutout baseball against two of the best lineups in baseball in two straight starts. Of note tonight is he was throwing to Gary Sánchez, which should indicate that he can work with the Yankees’ starting catcher when necessary. As the club looks to climb out of a deep hole in the AL East, it might be necessary.
The Yankees can actually win this series with a victory on Sunday Night Baseball tomorrow night, with first pitch at 7:10pm on ESPN.