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Yankees 3, Red Sox 4: New York can’t cash in winnable game

Too many blown chances leave the Yankees sweepless.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees were never really going to go 162-0. Although tonight’s game began the same way the previous two victories did, with the Red Sox scoring in the first inning, the Yankees were unable to complete the comeback on Sunday night, losing 4-3 in the Bronx.

The game got off to a scary start in the first inning, when Jordan Montgomery was hit by a 102.8-mph comebacker on the back of the knee. The lefty went down hard, and after being examined by the Yankee staff, stayed in the game. One can wonder if that was the right idea, as J.D. Martinez drilled a two-run double off him and he hit a batter before getting out of the inning.

Monty pitched well in the second and third, still nibbling as he often does and not quite sitting 95 the way he was in the first. We knew coming in that he was likely capped around 60-70 pitches, and I wonder how much the pain of the comebacker led to him being taken out at 58 offerings. Sitting in a cold dugout can aggravate those kind of bruises, even if there’s nothing seriously wrong.

In fairness to Aaron Boone, Gumby did struggle in the fourth inning, though he was hurt by his batterymate, as Jose Trevino couldn’t corral a third-strike curveball and Christian Vázquez reached first. Alex Verdugo followed up with a single, and a batter later, Monty’s day was done.

Clarke Schmidt did come in and allow a sac fly before getting out of the inning. He worked well in the next two innings, holding the Red Sox down while Anthony Rizzo tied the game with a two-run single, and later as the Yankees threatened with two men in scoring position and just one out. Unfortunately, neither Aaron Hicks nor Isiah Kiner-Falefa could convert their opportunities with runners in scoring position, and Schmidt was left holding the bag as Bobby Dalbec hit a solo shot to give the Red Sox the lead for good.

I don’t have a lot to say about Lucas Luetge’s relief performance other than that it was plainly disgusting. Numerous other folks have written about his whirly slider, but seeing it is different than reading about it:

Offensively, this was really the series of Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton. The two sluggers went deep in both Friday and Saturday’s game, and kept it rolling today, albeit keeping the ball in the yard:

The 3-4 holes in the lineup combined to reach base six times and drove in all three runs, and while the Yankees didn’t really have an issue reaching base — with 11 hits and 4 walks — there was a certain miasma of 2021 over the entire night, as they just couldn’t convert men on, especially leadoff men on, into more than the three runs they recorded. We saw two of our old friends, the double play, also erase major scoring chances, especially the bases-loaded twin killing that Aaron Hicks bounced into in the third inning.

Hicks especially had a rough night, as while he did record a single, he came up short in a couple big spots when bringing in just a single run would have had a major impact on the one-run ballgame. Losing is almost never one guy’s fault alone — Josh Donaldson was tormented at the top of the lineup by Tanner Houck, for instance — but Hicks really struggled in clutch spots on Sunday.

Still, despite all that, the Yankees were able to take care of business in the opening series of the season. By winning two out of three from Boston, they’ve gotten out to a more promising start than last season, and can keep up the early momentum starting tomorrow, when the Blue Jays roll into town for a four-game set. First pitch for game one comes at 7:05pm ET with Jameson Taillon facing Alek Manoah.

Box Score