The Yankees stumbled home beaten and battered from a nine-game road trip that saw them lose seven of those nine games. They were not getting any offensive production, average starting pitching, so-so defense, and now injuries were starting to mount as well. The Red Sox would come to town looking to continue the misery after sweeping the Bombers in a weekend set at Fenway seven days before.
Let’s have a little fun
Michael Pineda would draw the Friday night assignment against the reinvigorated Rick Porcello. Porcello would enter the contest standing at 5-0 with an ERA of 2.76. Pineda was winless in his previous four starts, including one against the Red Sox last weekend.
In a disturbing trend for Pineda, he would get the first two outs in the first inning before things fell apart. Xander Bogaerts would double before David Ortiz would send a blast to deep right field for a two-run home run. Two more singles in the inning would have the Red Sox threatening for more before Pineda got a strikeout of Brock Holt to stop the bleeding. For the season, opponents are batting a ridiculous .475/.516/.949 against Pineda with two outs and his strikeout to walk ratio drops from 14.0 to 1.75. He has also coughed up 6 home runs in 59 at bats with two outs.
The Yankees would get a run back immediately in the bottom of the first as Brian McCann‘s double would bring home Jacoby Ellsbury. The run would come at a price as Ellsbury would leave the game with a hip issue. Pineda would settle down after the rocky first to give the team a quality start, going six innings allowing the two early runs on eight hits with four strikeouts. He would exit the game with score tied at 2.
On the first pitch of the seventh inning, Aaron Hicks would touch up Porcello for a solo home run to right field. His first home run as a Yankee gave them the lead at 3-2. That’s when things would get interesting and turn the contest in something worthy of being part of the Yankees-Red Sox long time rivalry.
The Yankee bullpen would get the job done and send the game to the ninth with a 3-2 lead. Andrew Miller would come on to face the heart of the Red Sox lineup. The Sox managed to load the bases on a walk and two singles sandwiching a strikeout. That would bring David Ortiz to the plate licking his chops. Ortiz would work the count to his favor at 3-1, but would take two consecutive called strikes that would result in his ejection from the game as well as manager John Farrell. Hanley Ramirez would strikeout to end the game with the Yankees prevailing 3-2.
Winning a close game is always a great feeling. Doing it against the rival Red Sox is even better, no matter either teams record or where they sit in the standings. The fireworks at the end only added to a big win on Friday night.
A million bucks doesn’t get you what it used to
A rematch of the Sunday night game would pit David Price against Nathan Eovaldi. Neither starter was effective last weekend as both would be tagged for six runs. Price would hang on long enough to get the win in that contest as the Red Sox would finish off the sweep by winning 8-7.
The Yankees would have no trouble coming up with the big hit on Saturday afternoon as five of the eight runs they would score would come on two-out doubles. Didi Gregorius’ double down the right field line in the fourth inning would clear the bases and drive in three runs. Carlos Beltran would send a double down the left field line an inning later that would plate two. Gotta love doubles, especially ones with runners in scoring position, and especially with two outs. It was a doubles day as Austin Romine would join the party with a pair of his own that would drive in two runs.
The pitching matchup would be entirely one-sided on this day. Eovaldi would dominate the whole way, going eight innings allowing two runs on six hits, striking out six. He, of course, would give up the token home run, a solo shot by Jackie Bradley, Jr. in the fifth. But if you are going to give up a home run or two, make ’em solo ones. The effort was certainly needed on this day with a taxed bullpen. This would make five quality starts in a row for the Yankees and the offense is starting to pitch in as well, scoring at least seven runs in three of the last six games.
Price would struggle with the Yankees once again, going 4.2 innings and giving up six runs on seven hits while walking three. His season ERA now sits at 6.75, which goes to show some high profile signings don’t pay immediate dividends. The Yankees have now won three out of their last four games and will hope that Luis Severino can continue the trend of quality starts on Sunday.
Knucklers and dingers
The Yankees went into Sunday night’s ballgame with visions of getting out the brooms and sweeping the Red Sox out of New York. Steven Wright had other ideas on this night, however. Up until Brett Gardner‘s ninth inning home run, Wright had faced one batter over the minimum. Wright would finish the night with a three-hit, complete game. He was in total control from the outset with his knuckleball dancing all around home plate.
Luis Severino would get the start for the Yankees and at times would show shades of his promise, but at times showed why he has struggled so much this season. All of the Red Sox scoring on the night would come via the home run with three coming off of Severino, including two massive blows from Ortiz. Severino would give up four runs on five hits in 6.2 innings of work, however, he did strike out nine. But, he was no match for Wright.
The Yankees had another opportunity at scoring in the seventh inning when Castro led off with a double. He would advance to third on a fly out, but would once again be caught straying too far off the base and be picked off. All was not lost as the Bombers took two out of three from Boston. Series wins are what will lift this team out of the cellar. Because series wins mean good, consistent play. If will take time, but this team has the ability to make this climb, but it will take more performances like Friday and Saturday to get it done.
The Yankees welcome Kansas City to town for a four game set and the bullpen will get a boost with the return of Aroldis Chapman from suspension.