The night began like it ended–in a mess. By the time the game started we were in the middle of a downpour that was scheduled to last for several hours. It made sense to delay the game, but ESPN wanted their precious Sunday Night Baseball broadcast to start on time, so both teams trudged through the slush. While it's hard to know exactly how they were affected by the rain, it looked like a circus out there early on.
Of course after so many games of offensive ineptitude, it would be the pitching that doomed the Yankees in this one. Whether it's because of the rain or not, Nathan Eovaldi just did not have the same stuff as he did last time out, and it might be time to get a little worried about Dellin Betances.
Things were frustrating from the beginning as Jacoby Ellsbury doubled down the left field line. Brett Gardner bunted him over to third, and Alex Rodriguez hit a chopper to third base, but it almost seemed like Ellsbury waited for Travis Shaw to catch the ball before he ran home, only to be easily gunned out at the plate. It was a really good opportunity for a struggling team and they almost immediately ruined their chances.
From there a back-and-forth between offenses got underway as the Red Sox struck first in the bottom of the first. After two quick hits from Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts hit into a force out to score the first run of the ballgame. The Yankees managed to answer in a big way during the third inning when Ronald Torreyes singled to get things started. Austin Romine bunted him over, and Ellsbury hit another double down the right field line to score a run. A-Rod came up and launched a mammoth two-run home run off David Price into the Green Monster seats to put the Yankees on top 3–1.
It was only minutes later that Nathan Eovaldi gave the lead back in the bottom of the inning after he walked David Ortiz to load the bases. Hanley Ramirez singled up the middle to score two, and Travis Holt singled to bring in another run. The Yankees challenged the call, claiming that Hanley was tagged out at third base before Ortiz crossed the plate, but the run stood and they were now behind by a run.
The Yankees took back the lead in the fifth when Ellsbury took a pitch to the ribs and Gardner walked on four pitches. A-Rod sent one back almost to the exact same spot as his home run, doubling off the wall to score two. Mark Teixeira singled to bring in another run and they were winning 6–4. Too bad Eovaldi couldn't hold it for a second time, allowing a hit to Ortiz, and setting up Travis Shaw to tie the game with a line drive home run that wrapped around Pesky's Pole in right.
By the sixth inning, Eovaldi had allowed six runs on 10 hits and three walks in five innings pitched. There seemed to be some evidence that the rain messed with his control, judging by his trouble going to the outer edges of the zone without losing complete control of the ball. At one point it even seemed like he lost his grip on a pitch mid-throw, but it's really hard to make excuses because the guy who nearly no-hit the Rangers never showed up tonight.
Ivan Nova pitched 1.2 innings, allowing a hit to Shaw before being lifted for Dellin Betances. Amazingly, on the first pitch, he allowed an absolute BOMB to left field off the bat of Christian Vazquez, and it may have actually left the stadium. This is the third home run Dellin has allowed in three consecutive appearances this week, so that's going to be something to watch. The Red Sox had an 8–6 lead, and they would remain on top the rest of the way. The Yankees managed to score another run in the eighth after Starlin Castro hit a hustle double, moved to third on a ground ball, and scored on a wild pitch, but the offense couldn't manage anything against Craig Kimbrel in the ninth.
The lineup found a way to score seven runs on nine hits (even Chase Headley had a hit!), but this time it was the pitching that couldn't hold up. How ironic. After getting swept by the Red Sox this weekend, they have now lost five in a row, and still only have eight wins on the year–that's single digits! As the broadcast mentioned, this is the worst start to a season for the franchise since 1991. That is bad. Thankfully, for the players, and for us, they have the day off tomorrow.