It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.
No, we’re not talking about Revolutionary Paris, but rather Boston on a Sunday night, where the Yankees staked themselves to a 6-2 lead only to see the Red Sox score nine unanswered runs to win the finale of their four-game set, 11-6.
We started the game just the way I like:
I think we get a little too used to how much of an outlier Giancarlo Stanton is. This ball had a 16-degree launch angle. Since the beginning of the Statcast era, he has 10 home runs at that angle, and no other player has more than five. Line drives like that are singles — maybe doubles if they split the outfielders just right. With Stanton, nearly unique to any player ever, they have a habit of turning into home runs.
The long ball put the Yankees up 2-0 before Jameson Taillon even threw a pitch, and New York added two more runs in the second. Despite giving him the lead and building on it, he just couldn’t do anything with it. Franchy Cordero took him deep in the second, Christian Vázquez did the same in the third, and J.D. Martinez added a dagger in the fifth:
Taillon threw his four-seam 56 percent of the time tonight, up from 43 percent on the season. He got a whiff on a third of his four-seamers, managing his location well. All of the damage — three home runs and an RBI double — came on his secondary stuff.
I don’t know if this is a path forward for Taillon. He’s been lost since the start of June, with an ERA north of six that has tanked any All-Star consideration that might have once existed after an excellent start to the season. That trend only got worse tonight, but the four-seam did show some promising results. Taillon left four pitches out over the plate, and they were hammered, and that’s really bad, but he’s got to find a way out of this funk one way or the other, and relying on his four-seam might be the way.
Matt Carpenter continued his excellent season:
Make it 10 dingers in 76 plate appearances for Carpenter. What a run.
With the score 6-6 in the 6th inning — yes, that’s a symbolic combination — Taillon was out of the game, and in came Aroldis Chapman, the earliest he’d appeared in a game since 2017. He engineered a weak popup on the first batter he faced that DJ LeMahieu inexplicably let drop out of his glove after ranging back on it.
The next two men walked, and then a second popup came DJ’s way:
DJ LeMahieu drops a fly ball in shallow right field, allowing Boston to score a run and take the lead! What is it with Fenway Park and all of these dropped balls?? #RepBX #DirtyWater #Yankees #RedSox #MLB pic.twitter.com/z57poKUNYB— Baseball Today (@dailymlbtweets) July 11, 2022
Boston never really looked back from Martinez’s game-tying home run, but after that dropped ball, they really just put their foot on the Yankees’ throat. They added four more in the seventh inning, three on a bases-loaded double from Trevor Story off Miguel Castro, but the above bloop from Jeter Downs was the one that really made me feel like the Yankees were out of it.
As Dickens once remarked, it’s possible to hold two thoughts in our head at once. This series sucked, especially the last two nights. Tonight, the Yankees did everything right at the outset — jumping all over the starter, putting up crooked numbers in multiple early innings. It’s more than fair to be concerned about the regression in the pitching that we’ve seen, and it came back to bite them in the series finale.
At the same time, the club is 14 games up in the division, with a well-deserved off day tomorrow and just six games to go to the All Star break. Tonight sucked, but this is still the best team in baseball. They’ll be back at it on Tuesday against the Cincinnati Reds, when Gerrit Cole will face Graham Ashcraft with first pitch at 7:05pm ET.