A fast open in the first inning teased a good start to Yankees fans’ Father’s Days, however the bats disappeared against the Boston bullpen. Clarke Schmidt was sharp through four before coming undone in the fifth, and a rare meltdown by Michael King doomed the Yankees to a 6-2 loss in the first game of the doubleheader.
Facing opener Caleb Ort (technically making his first MLB start), the Yankees were aggressive from the first pitch hunting fastball and laying off the slider. Jake Bauers got things started with a ringing double down the right field line. After a Giancarlo Stanton strikeout, Gleyber Torres crushed an elevated 1-0 fastball to the deepest part of Fenway, landing a few rows back in the Green Monster seats to put the Yankees up, 2-0.
Schmidt was on pace for quite an efficient first, getting Alex Verdugo and Justin Turner on four pitches before jumping out 0-2 against Rafael Devers. However, he couldn’t finish off the AB, Devers eventually reaching on a single followed by an Adam Duvall bloop to put a pair on. Schmidt would strand the pair by getting Masataka Yoshida to line out, but the inning required many more pitches than it initially appeared it might. He was also aided by a sparkling diving play by Anthony Volpe on a sharp Christian Arroyo grounder in the second.
Ort steadied the ship after the Torres home run, requiring just 20 pitches to make it one out into the third, at which point Alex Cora replaced him with Chris Murphy, whom the Red Sox called up from Triple-A as the doubleheader’s 27th man. As has been the trend facing younger pitchers with little big league exposure, the Yankees struggled to pick up Murphy’s stuff, failing to record another baserunner until Bauers’ double to leadoff the sixth.
Schmidt’s two-strike chickens came home to roost in the fifth inning. A one-out walk of Verdugo and double by Turner put runners on second and third for Devers, who worked back from 0-2 to bounce a grounder that plated Verdugo for Boston’s first run. Schmidt once again jumped out 0-2 against Duvall, but grooved a hanging sweeper that Duvall singled off the wall to level the scores at two apiece.
While he’s certainly improved over his last five starts, this just continues some of the worrying trends that have plagued Schmidt in this extended stretch in the rotation. He has little difficulty getting ahead in counts but cannot put hitters away. This becomes even more magnified with runners on, and it only felt like a matter of time that the Red Sox would make Schmidt pay for extending innings by allowing runners to reach. His final line on the afternoon: 4.2 innings, five hits, two runs, three walks, and three strikeouts on 84 pitches.
It was a bit puzzling that Boone let Schmidt face the top of the order a third time with King warming during the fifth. However, the Yankees’ normally-dominant reliever was far from his sharpest. He retired the first two batters of the sixth without much trouble, but could not get over the two-out hump. A single by Kiké Hernández, doubles off the Monster by Connor Wong and Verdugo, and a Turner single pushed the score from 2-2 to 5-2 in the blink of an eye.
Nick Ramirez was handed the seventh and served up a leadoff triple to Yoshida before balking him home for Boston’s sixth run of the contest. With the Yankees managing only three baserunners after the first inning, it always felt unlikely that they could stage a comeback after their narrow lead evaporated.
The game hastened to a mercifully expeditious end, the Bombers going down in order in the seventh and eighth, only a two-out Anthony Rizzo single in the second interrupting the baserunner-less trend.
The Yankees will try to avoid the sweep, both in the doubleheader and the series, with Luis Severino taking on Brayan Bello tonight. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 pm ET so be sure to join us in the game thread.