Once upon a time, there were thoughts that this series at Yankee Stadium to kick off September between the Yankees and Red Sox could be a heated matchup to help decide the AL East title. Once it became clear that Boston was crashing straight through mediocrity to the putrid caverns of the division basement still haunted by Dewon Brazelton, it seemed like the Yankees should be able to take care of business against Boston.
We should know better than to put that much trust into the 2014 Yankees.
The tone for the game was set early on as it immediately became clear the rookie righty Shane Greene had nothing on the mound tonight. He entered tonight's action with 3.09 ERA and 3.54 FIP in 55 1/3 innings. The same guy left with a 3.88 ERA and 4.08 FIP. Yeah, it was that kind of night.
With one out in the first, Mookie Betts singled to left and Greene walked David Ortiz. Trade deadline acquisition Yoenis Cespedes was next up, and he laced a double to bring Betts home with the game's first run. Ortiz then scored as well when Mike Napoli lifted a sacrifice fly to center field. Greene then drilled Daniel Nava to load the bases, but he wiggled out of trouble by getting a called strike three on Will Middlebrooks. A rocky beginning to be sure, but ultimately a two-run deficit that could be overcome, especially after a quiet second inning.
Then, the third inning happened. Again, the rally started with one out and a single to left followed by a walk, this time by Cespedes and Napoli, respectively. This time, Nava got a pitch to hit, and he belted three-run homer over the wall in right field, giving Boston a commanding 5-0 lead. Greene was able to strike out Middlebrooks again, but Xander Bogaerts torched Greene again for a long solo homer of his own to right-center field. A walk to number nine hitter David Ross ended the awful night for Greene with his team trailing 6-0. He went 2 2/3 innings and gave up six hits, three walks, and six runs. A start like was going to come eventually for Greene; it's just unfortunate that it had to come now with the offense scuffling the way it has been.
The Yankees and Red Sox traded off runs over the next couple innings as Martin Prado and Betts both hit solo homers. Believe it or not, the Yanks actually had a chance to get back into the game in the fifth when Red Sox starter Joe Kelly began to really struggle. Carlos Beltran led off with a single to center and Brian McCann at last took advantage of the pull-focused defensive shift by dragging a bunt down the other way down the third base line for a hit. Prado followed with a high, arcing drive deep to left that hit off the left field wall, but Beltran misjudged it. He thought Cespedes might catch it, so he did not advance far off second, almost going back to tag just in case, then only advancing to third. Not paying any attention to Beltran, Prado never looked his way, and he got involved in a rundown between first and second trying to advance for a double that wasn't possible. Another day, another Yankees TOOTBLAN.
With some assistance from Kelly though, the Yankees still managed to score in the inning, as he issued back-to-back walks to Chase Headley and Francisco Cervelli to bring home a run. Jacoby Ellsbury lined out, but Derek Jeter beat out a slow roller to shortstop for a hit that scored the Yankees' third run (he was originally ruled out, but Girardi's replay challenge called him safe.) The bases were loaded with Brett Gardner coming to the plate as the tying run. With a hearty tip of the cap to home plate umpire Tim Timmons, Kelly got Gardner on a called strike three despite never actually throwing a single called strike in the at-bat! How neat!
Understandably, Gardner was peeved that Timmons utterly and completely blew the call, and while screaming at him, he threw his helmet down in frustration. That earned him an ejection, and with that went arguably the Yankees' best shot at threatening Boston's lead. Sigh.
The last four inning also happened, though nothing much of note occurred. The two teams traded garbage time runs, the Chaz Roe and Chris Young eras got off to unimpressive starts which won't featured on their respective Yankeeographies, and multiple bottles of beer mysteriously went missing from my fridge. Oh, and apparently the red-hot Prado got hurt because 2014 Yankees:
Prado felt something in his left hamstring. Will see doctor tonight.— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) September 3, 2014
Huh. Would you look at that--more bottles are now missing from my fridge! I will have to look into it by asking the spinning resident down the hall what this is about.
If the Yankees continue playing like this in September, expect many more of those bottles to disappear, not to mention their quickly fading playoff hopes as well.
Hiroki Kuroda will try to bring some sanity back to Yankee Stadium tomorrow night while Red Sox rookie Anthony Ranaudo will pitch for Boston. Maybe the offense will show up for Kuro-hahahaha.