The Yankees lost their eighth-straight game today, a streak they haven’t seen since 1995. They were swept at home by the Red Sox. I really, really do not think they will be a playoff team, but there were some positives to come out of this loss. Let’s get through the recap and we can talk a bit about them.
I thought Clarke Schmidt looked pretty dynamite today. The Yankees starter’s knuckle-curve was on point all game, as he struck out leadoff hitter Alex Verdugo with it to open the day. Of Schmidt’s eight total strikeouts, six came on the breaking pitch, and overall the only guy who gave him any trouble was third baseman Rafael Devers.
Devers hammered the one bad curveball Schmidt threw in the first inning to put the Sox up 1-0, and tagged the 27-year-old right-hander for two more hits on the day. Devers scored the second Boston run in the sixth, after doubling to open the frame. Justin Turner walked, and while Schmidt did get a groundball off the bat of Masataka Yoshida, Gleyber Torres had a poor feed and Anthony Volpe absolutely airmailed the throw to first, allowing Devers to come around and put the Sox up on the error, 2-1.
Finally, Devers was a factor in what appeared to be the big blow of the ballgame. With a runner on second and two outs, manager Aaron Boone elected to walk the third baseman and face Turner instead, who promptly made the Yankees pay for that choice:
At the time, this looked like the backbreaker. These Yankees having to make up five runs?
For today at least, these Yankees were (semi-)comeback kids. Kyle Higashioka and Gleyber Torres had solo shots to knot the game at 1-1 and 2-2, respectively:
The teams traded clubbing blows all day, with the Yankees somehow managing to find a response every time the Sox went up. After Turner’s huge home run, you might have thought the Yankees would roll over, but Volpe had different ideas:
It seems all but assured Volpe will finish his rookie campaign as a 20-20 guy. It’s not been the season we would have wanted for the Yankee shortstop, but there’s nothing to be ashamed of in reaching that mark in your first MLB campaign.
Volpe continued to be a story, with a big single in the bottom of the eighth that initially appeared to bring in Isiah Kiner-Falefa for the lead. A close play at the plate combined with the dust from IKF’s slide led to a lengthy review, although the end result was an overturned call and the game was still tied. That call would loom large just an inning later, where once again Turner drove in the go-ahead run, on a loud line drive to right field.
That would prove to be one lead too many — Greg Allen would slap a ball off the top of the right-field wall and DJ LeMahieu would be hit by a pitch, setting up a great chance for the Yankees to come back one more time. Unfortunately, Aaron Judge and Torres struck out. Ben Rortvedt had come into the game in a flurry of pinch-hit and pinch-run moves, leaving the .098 hitting catcher in the cleanup spot. Kenley Jansen got a lazy fly ball to end the game.
So, those positives. All week we’ve been hearing about how, when the Yankees fall behind, the hitters kind of lose their focus. They drift from the gameplan, try to do too much, and dig themselves into a deeper and deeper hole. That didn’t really happen today. Whatever the score was, the boys seemed to have a plan and approach while at the plate.
Yes, it’s faint praise indeed, and trying hard doesn’t get you into the playoffs. But we’ve seen so many games this year where the Yankees just roll over and die; this is the kind of game that if they were a second- or third-place team, we would all say “Oh man, it stings they lost but this team has fight.” We’ve been waiting for some fight, real fight, for weeks now, so hopefully the club can keep it up.
Coming off their worst losing streak in 28 years, the Yankees will take the offday tomorrow before a three-game set at home against the Washington Nationals in a battle of last-place teams. Carlos Rodón is expected to come off the IL for the night game, which will start at 7:05pm ET.