In another bizarre contest with at least a handful of stops and starts, the Yankees steamrolled the Red Sox, 9-1, for a series win in their first after the break. A day after rain and fan-on-player violence halted last night’s contest, today’s disruptions included a fan’s phone flashlight distracting the Red Sox catcher, another Yankees injury, an unrelated collision in right field, and an umpire soldiering on through back spasms.
After a scoreless inning and a half, Gleyber Torres got the Yankees into the hit and run columns with a single swing on the first pitch he saw, drilling his second solo homer in as many at-bats, dating back to the previous evening. It marked his first stretch of games with back-to-back homers since the 2019 postseason.
Oh Gleyby you, you got what I need. pic.twitter.com/ozR0C0K3gW— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 18, 2021
On both occasions, Gleyber was able to get his barrel to a four-seamer, something he’s done sparsely this season. Before today’s game, Torres had recorded -11 runs against four-seam fastballs, the worst total run value against any pitch in any season of his career. If the Yankees’ biggest defensive disappointment can recapture some of the magic displayed in the 2018 and ‘19 seasons, the whole offense will be in much better shape in the second half.
In the bottom of the third, Greg Allen sparked a rally with a single to left, turning over the order to DJ LeMahieu. On a 3-2 count, expecting a fastball in the zone or a walk, Allen took off for second, forcing Kiké Hernandez to vacate his position and cover the keystone, expanding the 3.5-hole all the way to second base. DJ drilled the ensuing pitch on the ground right through the gaping hole, netting a single for himself — extending his on-base streak to 30 straight games — and moving Allen over to third on what would have been a double-play ball had Allen stayed put.
With a shockingly pure execution of some small ball by the Yankees, they found themselves with a runner in scoring position and less than two outs. Again, almost undone by the double play, Giancarlo Stanton chopped a ball to Xander Bogaerts at short but was able to beat Kiké’s throw to first to score Allen on the fielder’s choice, stretching the score to two-nil.
In just the third at-bat of his big league career, Trey Amburgey lunged into first to beat out a grounder, coming up with a lame leg, becoming what feels like the hundredth injured Yankee this season. Hopefully for the Yankees, Amburgey’s discomfort is less than that of a strain and he won’t need to join the half dozen of his teammates on the IL. For now, at least, the team is calling it a “right hamstring cramp.”
In an apparent attempt to ape the actions of the Yankees’ best players, Ryan LaMarre replaced Amburgey in right field, immediately crashing into the wall on the first ball hit towards him. The Christian Vázquez liner eluded LaMarre’s grasp, caroming off the wall for a double as LaMarre doubled over in pain. After body-slamming into the wall, he slumped into an awkward, un-gymnastic splits. While he appeared to have torn some significant ligament in a lower extremity, LaMarre remained in the game after a brief conference with his trainer, his manager, and an umpire.
An inning later, a perfectly-placed push bunt earned Rougned Odor a single before LaMarre got his chance at redemption for his ugly outfielding.
Cueing a fastball off the end of his bat and into right, LaMarre mimicked the aforementioned play of LeMahieu, sending Odor scurrying to third with a single for himself. This time, however, Hunter Renfroe hosed a ball by the third baseman in an attempt to nab Odor, allowing LaMarre to scurry on to second. With a sac fly to right, Allen plated Odor, extending the Yankees’ lead to three — where it would stay for at least the inning.
All the while, Jameson Taillon continued to plow his way through the Red Sox batting order, pitching five scoreless innings. In the top of the sixth, he got his first taste of trouble. A Xander Bogaerts double was preceded by a J.D. Martinez single, leaving runners on second and third with just one out. Pulling the plug on Jamo’s outing, Aaron Boone turned to his local fireman, Chad Green.
Digging deep in his first outing since the nightmare in Houston, Green was able to sit down Rafael Devers on a check swing before getting Renfroe to ground out to Chris Gittens at first. Green pitched another clean inning in the seventh before the wheels came off the wagon for the Red Sox, watching the fourth-place Yankees blow the game wide open.
Trailing by just three runs, Darwinzon Hernandez came to the mound to keep the game close. However, he did not. Following a slap single from Brett Gardner, Odor blasted a bomb to right, giving the Yankees a five-run lead:
Following the homer, Hernandez surrendered a pair of walks, leading to Alex Cora’s hook without having retired a batter. Replacing him came Brandon Workman, who, unfortunately for him, had a horribly rough day at work, man. He induced fly outs from the first two batters he faced and then walked the next one, and the next one, and then the next one, before finally getting Gardner — the guy who opened up the inning with a single — to ground out to first on a 3-1 fastball. Even worse for Hernandez was the fact that all four runs in the inning came due on his tab, since he walked the first pair, and not Workman.
Ahead 7-0, Boone turned to Zack Britton in an attempt to ease him back into live-game action in his first appearance off the IL. Even though his stuff looked as good as ever, he struggled to command the zone, fanning a pair, and walking two on 26 pitches before Lucas Luetge took over. Like Workman did to Hernandez, Luetge surrendered a single, plating Britton’s first runner on a bad throw from LaMarre, and then worked out of the inning.
In the eighth, the party continued as Odor worked a leadoff walk before LaMarre slapped a pull-side Yankee Stadium homer that wouldn’t have cleared another major league fence. A bomb was the only logical conclusion to LaMarre’s weird assortment of stats in his first MLB appearance since mid-May, including a stolen base, a throwing error, and his first RBI of the season.
LaMarre's 1st Homer in Pinstripes pic.twitter.com/EXG6D9YMNw— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 19, 2021
As he did with Britton, Boone gave Chapman a chance to work out of his rut at the back end of a blowout. After misfiring a couple of fastballs off the backstop in his bullpen warmups, Chapman threw his first pitch about 10 feet over Gary Sánchez’s head. Then, he fell behind 2-1 on three 96=mph fastballs. Grooving another down the middle, Vázquez’s replacement, Kevin Plawecki, hit Chapman’s next 96 mph offering — literally — 411 feet at 102.9 mph towards the Yankees’ 412-foot centerfield fence. Thankfully, Gardner made a sweet grab to save extra bases, at least, earning the first out of the inning.
As if suddenly awakened by his impotence and deciding to try, Chapman threw his next four fastballs between 99.7 and 101 mph, striking out Bobby Dalbec on an absolutely vile splitter and jamming up Kiké to ground into the game’s final out. Although he opened up with more of the same ineptitude we saw before the break, Chapman’s final two outs showed signs of a return to form in his first clean inning in what seems like forever. It might not be enough to merit a full return to the closer’s role, but it’s a baby step in the right direction.
The Yankees have won a series against the Red Sox for the first time since Boston was a last-place club without purpose late in 2020. Boone’s club will have an off-day tomorrow before reconvening against the Phillies on Tuesday night in the Bronx. First pitch is at 7:05pm as Domingo Germán faces Aaron Nola.