Their first home series sweep and victory couldn’t have come a better or sweeter time for the New York Yankees. Taking the two-game tilt, the Bronx Bombers easily dispatched the Boston Red Sox and brought back positive vibes to Yankee Stadium. The starting pitching stepped up, bullpen shored up and even a compromised lineup was more than up to the task in the first leg of the rivalry in 2019.
In their first game against the Sawx since Game 4 of the 2018 ALDS, the Yanks played their most complete game of 2019 thus far and it was sweet! The Bronx Bombers played a fundamentally sound game and busted Boston for an 8-0 victory.
SETTING LE TABLE
Chris Sale didn’t shred his jersey but the pinstripes lineup ripped him apart. Batting in the seven hole, Brett Gardner led off the third inning with a double to right. Gardner would advance to third on a flyout to center by Austin Romine. Then with two down, there would be no runner stranded in scoring position because DJ LeMahieu plated Gardner with a single to right for a 1-0 New York lead.
In addition to Gardner, another lefty bat touched up Sale and the Bosox good. Following a two-out single to center by Romine in the fourth, Mike Tauchman ripped an RBI-double to right, advancing to third on the throw.
Moving to the sixth inning and facing Erasmo Ramirez, Gio Urshela set the table with a rope double to left. After Gardner coaxed a free pass, a Romine sacrifice bunt advanced both runners into scoring position. What followed was a “Mike drop,” as Tauchman tattooed a bomb to the second deck in right for his first career MLB home run.
Before I start in on this, shoutout to Carlos Beltran for diagnosing and fixing Paxton’s pitch tipping. Paxton was game and displayed laser-like focus on the evening. We’re talking 97-98 mph darts on the black. Nasty stuff. The fireballing southpaw sizzled with 12 K’s in eight scoreless innings, yielding two hits and one walk.
Paxton had his four-seamer and cutter working, fanning the side in the second and seventh. As mentioned above, the Big Maple was able to bear down against the heart of the Boston order in the fourth to work out of a jam unscathed. He even recorded a couple of K’s via a knuckle curve ala 2001 Mike Mussina, a pitch which was flat out filthy feeding off those heaters.
In addition to his offensive exploits, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Urshela’s defensive play at the hot corner in the sixth. Essentially falling down into foul territory, Urshela was able to throw out the speedy Betts at first base with room to spare. Impressive.
Coming into the season many prognosticators said the difference maker separating the Yankees from the Red Sox this season would be the bullpen. Wednesday evening’s contest saw that notion come to fruition as the Bronx Bombers battled back and sealed off a 5-3 victory.
HAPP CLAPS BACK
At first glance, it appeared as if J.A. Happ was never going to hit his spots. A home run to J.D. Martinez in the first frame to Monument Park and a two-run home run to right by light-hitting catcher Christian Vazquez in the second stanza made it 3-0 Boston.
Yet, Happ would regain his composure and pitch to the scoreboard and allow the lineup to stay within striking distance.
The crafty lefty gave the pinstripes distance, going 6.1 frames, fanning four, allowing six hits, three runs, and one walk.
Frazier continued his hot hitting with RISP against Nathan Eovaldi in the fourth frame. After Voit, who reached base safely for his 28th consecutive contest, walked and advanced to second on an Eduardo Nunez error as Torres reached safely on a fielder’s choice, Frazier smoked an RBI-double to left to get the Yankees on the board.
Frazier is an incredible 6-for-13 with one home run and eight RBI with RISP on the early season.
It was all part of a 3-for-4 evening for Frazier.
100 GRAND GARDY PARTY
Working Eovaldi out of the game in the seventh and facing Brandon Workman, the Bronx Bombers went off. Frazier set the table with a single to left. Tauchman and Romine reached on walks around an Urshela strikeout.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora called on “closer” Ryan Braiser to face Gardner but it was Gardner who’d blow the lid off this case. The veteran center fielder smacked an 0-2 fastball into the rightfield stands and it was bedlam in the Bronx and a 5-3 Yankees lead.
The grand slam marked home run No. 100 on his Yankees career. Gardner joined Derek Jeter as the only two players in franchise history with at least 100 home runs and 250 stolen bases. Gardner also joined Eric Soderholm, Matt Nokes, and Jacoby Ellsbury as Yankee players to reach the milestone with a grand slam. Pretty cool stuff.