Yankees rally from behind against Twins, lose 4-2 anyway

What a garbage game. Many losses are just losses. They happen. That one felt like a game the Yankees gave away. Gave away with mistakes and gave away with poor decisions. The final score was 4-2 Twins. The Yankees are 9-21 in their last 30 games and their lead for the second wildcard spot is a half-game.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Mitchell Gets Through Five
All things considered, not a bad spot start for Bryan Mitchell. He got through five innings and allowed only two runs (one earned) on six hits and two walks. The first run gave the Twins a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Mitchell walked Kennys Vargas and Eddie Rosario split the gap with a double. It’s a big outfield at Target Field and everyone can run on Jacoby Ellsbury‘s arm, so Vargas was able to chug all the way around to score from first.

The second run scored on Mitchell’s own error in the third inning. The Twins loaded the bases with no outs on two singles (Brian Dozier and Zack Granite) and a walk (Joe Mauer), which brought Miguel Sano to the plate. Not ideal. Sano hit a line drive at Aaron Judge, the guy who beat him in the Home Run Derby, and Judge threw Dozier out at the plate for the double play. Here’s the video:

Statcast measured that throw at 97.7 mph and there’s no way Judge put all he had into it. That throw was at what, maybe 60% effort? It almost looked like Judge was surprised Dozier decided to go home, so he reacted and flipped it in. Flipped it in at 97.7 mph. Judge is in his first extended slump of the season but he’s still doing some mighty fine things in the field. The big man is still doing what he can to help win games.

Anyway, the double play gave Mitchell a chance to escape that bases loaded, no outs jam unscathed, and he got the ground ball from Max Kepler. First baseman Garrett Cooper flipped it to Mitchell at first base with plenty of time to spare and … Mitchell dropped it. He just dropped it. Clanked right off his glove. That would have been the final out. Instead, a run scored. Sigh. The Yankees have been making too many careless mistakes like that lately. Mitchell was fine otherwise.

Coop There It Is
So Cooper seems to be finding his way at the big league level. The new first baseman went 3-for-4 with two doubles Monday night. The first double came with two outs in the fifth inning and Austin Romine followed it up with a double of his own, getting the Yankees on the board and cutting the deficit to 2-1. The second double came in the seventh inning. Chase Headley doubled as the previous batter, so he crossed the plate to tie the game 2-2.

Nice game by Cooper. Not by the rest of the offense. The game was lost when the Yankees wasted leadoff hustle doubles from Clint Frazier in the sixth and eighth innings. Those were two prime run scoring opportunities and the Yankees could not capitalize. Frazier doubled to start the sixth, got to third with one out on Judge’s long fly ball, then was stranded there when Matt Holliday hit a grounder at shortstop Ehire Adrianza and Starlin Castro struck out. Adrianza made a great play on Holliday’s hard-hit grounder.

The eighth inning was as annoying as it gets. Frazier really hustled that single into a double — that kid plays the game with the dial turned to eleven at all times, how can you not love it? — and the Twins intentionally walked Judge to set up the double play, which Holliday provided. In a 3-1 count no less. He got the 3-1 fastball from lefty Taylor Rogers and hit it right to the shortstop. An intentional walk to Castro followed, then Didi Gregorius ended the inning by bunting the ball here …

didi-gregorius-bunt

… and getting thrown out at first. I don’t know what to say. Gregorius said he tried to bunt for a hit because he noticed Sano was back at third. Good idea if it works. It didn’t come close to working. Can the Yankees just swing the bat please? Whenever a team struggles they start trying weird crap like bunts and squeeze plays and all that, and it only exacerbates the problem. They’re not bunting their way out of this month-long slump. Swing the bat. That was New York’s last chance to get on the board.

Hunt Out To Dry
Welcome to the big leagues Caleb Smith. He retired the first six batters he faced, three with strikeouts and three with ground balls. His fastball averaged 93.7 mph and topped out at 97.1 mph. Pretty nice velocity from the left side, though I’m sure there was some adrenaline behind those heaters. Smith has been mostly 92-95 mph down in Triple-A this year, not touching 97 mph.

Anyway, with the score tied 2-2, Joe Girardi sent Smith back out for the eighth inning, and he just left him out there. Mauer and Sano singled to start the frame, and after Smith fanned Kepler, pinch-hitter Eduardo Escobar came through with a go-ahead single to right. I can kinda sorta understand leaving the left-handed Smith in to face the left-handed Kepler, but after that? Eh.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Smith remained in the game and allowed a double Rosario to plate an insurance run, giving the Twins a 4-2. And Smith continued to stay in the game. Girardi left him in to finish the inning. No one warmed at all. Girardi said afterward he was planning to bring in Adam Warren had the Yankees taken the lead following Frazier’s leadoff double in the eighth, so it’s not like no one else was available.

I’m not the only who realizes that, in the late innings, a tie game is more a dire situation than having the lead, right? Please tell me I’m not alone. You have a cushion with a lead. There’s no such cushion in a tie game. You’d think you’d want to use your best relievers with the score tied, but no, they were being saved for a lead. I can’t. I can’t anymore. This very much felt like a “lose the battle, win the war” game, which would be fine if the Yankees weren’t losing the war too. All those lost battles add up.

Leftovers
Two doubles for Frazier, two doubles and a single for Cooper, and three hits total for the rest of the Yankees. Holliday had a single and Headley and Romine had doubles. Six doubles and two runs is hard to do. In fact, I looked it up. First time all season a team had at least six doubles and scored no more than two runs in a nine-inning game. The last team to do it was the Royals in September 2014. True story. The Royals went to the World Series that year. Good sign?

And finally … I guess that’s it? Not much to add here. Clean it up, guys. Too many sloppy mistakes lately.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
ESPN has both the box score and updated standings, and MLB.com has the video highlights. We have a Bullpen Workload page. Here is the loss probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
This three-game series continues Tuesday night with the middle game. Luis Cessa and Bartolo Colon will be starting that one. Colon is making his first start with the Twins after being released by the Braves a few weeks back.

DotF: Rutherford’s hit streak ends as Charleston gets no-hit

A few links and notes to get us started:

  • C Kyle Higashioka (back) is not close to returning, Triple-A Scranton manager Al Pedrique told Conor Foley. That’s not great. Higashioka is the No. 3 catcher. I guess that means veteran C Eddy Rodriguez is the third option for the time being.
  • UTIL Billy Fleming and 1B Brandon Wagner were named the Offensive Players of the Week in the Double-A Eastern League and Low-A South Atlantic League. Fleming has four homers in his last five games and five homers in his last eight games. Who knew?
  • C Saul Torres made today’s Monday Morning Ten Pack at Baseball Prospectus. His blurb is above the paywall, so check that out. “He has an athletic comfort behind home plate, demonstrating soft hands and the ability to block breakers in the dirt, moving easily … He puts on a good BP with plus raw power … there is a lot to work with here,” said the write-up.

Triple-A Scranton was rained out. They’re going to play a doubleheader tomorrow.

Double-A Trenton (4-3 win over Portland)

  • SS Jorge Mateo: 1-5, 1 2B, 1 E (throwing)
  • CF Tito Polo: 0-4, 2 K
  • 2B Thairo Estrada: 2-5, 1 R, 1 K — this dude just doesn’t stop hitting
  • RF Rashad Crawford: 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
  • RHP Yefry Ramirez: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HB, 5/1 GB/FB — 62 of 97 pitches were strikes (64%) … been struggling the last few times out … he’s on the 40-man roster bubble and I wonder if he’ll make it through the season if the Yankees need more space
  • RHP Branden Pinder: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, 1/0 GB/FB — only 16 of 35 pitches were strikes (46%) … hopefully this is just a blip, but whenever a dude comes back from Tommy John surgery and struggles to throw strikes, you always worry a bit

[Read more…]

Game 91: Spot Starter

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Tonight is day four of an eleven games in ten days road trip through three different time zones. Not the most fun way to begin the second half, huh? The Yankees managed to split four games with the Red Sox over the weekend, which is fine but also kinda disappointing because they blew a ninth inning lead in the first game. Tonight they open a three-game set with the Twins, one of the teams chasing them for a wildcard spot.

Thanks to Saturday’s marathon game and Sunday’s doubleheader (and Michael Pineda‘s injury), the Yankees have to turn to spot starter Bryan Mitchell tonight. He was excellent in his last Triple-A start (7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K) plus he picked up a three-inning save in his last big league appearance, so maybe he’s figuring some things out. If not, well, the offense is going to have to pick him up. This is a pretty important series. It would be nice to start with a win. Here is the Twins’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Clint Frazier
  3. RF Aaron Judge
  4. DH Matt Holliday
  5. 2B Starlin Castro
  6. SS Didi Gregorius
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. 1B Garrett Cooper
  9. C Austin Romine
    RHP Bryan Mitchell

It is a lovely night for baseball in the Twin Cities. Clear skies with temperatures in the mid-80s. Tonight’s series opener will begin at 8:10pm ET and you’ll be able to watch on YES. Enjoy the game.

Injury Update: In case you missed it earlier, both Pineda and Greg Bird will have surgery tomorrow. Pineda is having Tommy Pineda surgery after getting a second opinion today, and Bird will have ankle surgery after seeing yet another specialist. Sucks. Bird could return in September.

Roster Move: The Yankees returned Domingo German to Triple-A Scranton following yesterday’s doubleheader, the team announced. Mitchell was technically the 26th man for the doubleheader, but he remains on the roster and German goes back down. Caleb Smith is still around as a long man.

Protest Update: Remember that weird play Saturday when Holliday slid back into first base on a potential 3-6-3 double play? Here’s the play if you don’t. The Red Sox protested the game over that play, and earlier today MLB announced the protest has been denied. No surprise there. The play had no impact on the final outcome of the game and the interference rule is too (intentionally) vague to say Holliday clearly broke the rule. Red Sox skipper John Farrell said he went forward with the protest because he doesn’t want the Yankees to try that again. Hah.

Update: Michael Pineda will have Tommy John surgery

(Brian Blanco/Getty)
(Brian Blanco/Getty)

Monday: Pineda will indeed have Tommy John surgery, the Yankees announced. He was examined today by Reds team doctor Dr. Timothy Kremchek, who agreed with the initial diagnosis and recommended surgery. Pineda will go under the knife tomorrow. Kremchek will perform the procedure in Cincinnati.

Friday: The rotation situation just got a little more dire. Brian Cashman announced this morning that Michael Pineda has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow and Tommy John surgery has been recommended. He is going for a second opinion, which every pitcher does in this situation. Either way, Pineda’s season figures to be over.

This is the second straight year the Yankees have lost a starting pitcher to a blown out elbow in the second half. Last year Nathan Eovaldi shredded his elbow in August and needed his second career Tommy John surgery. I suppose the silver lining here is the timing. The Yankees still have time to act before the trade deadline. They didn’t with Eovaldi.

Pineda, 28, started his Yankees career with a major injury (shoulder surgery) and seems likely to end it with another major injury (Tommy John surgery). He is due to become a free agent after the season and the timing of this injury is just terrible for him. It’s going to cost him millions. He’s looking at a short-term “rehab and prove yourself” deal now.

Since coming over from the Mariners, Pineda has thrown 509 innings with a 4.16 ERA (3.65 FIP) for the Yankees. That includes a 4.39 ERA (4.65 FIP) in 96.1 innings this season. The Yankees came out ahead in the trade because Jesus Montero was so awful for Seattle, though Pineda never did become the top of the rotation force they envisioned.

As for the rotation going forward, Cashman said Luis Cessa will make a start next week and Chance Adams is an option as well. I imagine pitching well in Sunday’s doubleheader would buy Bryan Mitchell another shot too. Pineda hasn’t been great, but losing pitching is never good. I feel terrible for the guy considering the timing too. We’ll always have those strike ’em outs, Big Mike.

Greg Bird will have surgery on troublesome right ankle

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Greg Bird will finally have his troublesome right ankle fixed. Joe Girardi said this afternoon Bird will have surgery tomorrow after seeing yet another specialist earlier today. The surgery comes with a six-week rehab timetable, and it’s possible he will return sometime in September.

Bird has been out since early May with soreness in the ankle stemming from a foul ball back in Spring Training. He’s received multiple cortisone shots and seen several specialists, and apparently the diagnosis is inflammation in his os trigonum, which is an extra bone in his ankle. The surgery will shave down (or remove) the bone.

Prior to the injury Bird hit .100/.250/.200 (29 wRC+) with one home run in 72 plate appearances. He didn’t look comfortable at the plate at all and his timing was way off. Bird hit the snot out of everything in Spring Training, then all of a sudden he looked lost. An ankle injury would explain it. You need a solid base underneath you to hit.

With Bird definitely sidelined for most of the second half, the Yankees could pursue one of the rental first base options on the trade market. Yonder Alonso, Todd Frazier, Lucas Duda … there are others out there too. They could also stick with the Ji-Man Choi/Garrett Cooper platoon. We’ll see.

Bird missed the entire 2016 season following shoulder surgery, so he’s going to miss close to two full seasons between the shoulder and ankle. That’s rough. He’s missing basically his entire age 23 and 24 seasons. That’s a lot of development time at a crucial age Bird won’t get back. Hopefully he comes back healthy and strong after surgery.

7/17 to 7/19 Series Preview: Minnesota Twins

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Even though we’re now in the second half, the Yankees have somehow only played ten of the other 14 American League teams so far this season. They’ll knock out two others on this road trip. They’ll start the week in Minnesota and end the week in Seattle. The Yankees and Twins are playing three games in Target Field, starting tonight.

What Have They Done Lately?

The Twins started their second half by losing two of the three to the Astros, who have outscored them 57-28 in six head-to-head meetings this season. A one-sided season series that has been. Overall, the Twins are 46-45 despite a -65 run differential. They’re the anti-Yankees. The Yankees are massively underperforming relatively to their run differential. The Twins are massively overperforming. Also, these two teams are separated by only 1.5 games in the wildcard race — two games in the loss column if you’re smart and keep track of such things — so this isn’t a nothing series.

Offense & Defense

The Twins have a roughly league average offense so far this season. They’re averaging 4.56 runs per game with a team 95 wRC+, so yeah, about average. Minnesota is without CF Byron Buxton (62 wRC+), who was recently placed on the disabled list with a groin injury. He won’t be back this series. Manager Paul Molitor does tend to shuffle things around, though this is generally his go-to lineup:

  1. 2B Brian Dozier (101 wRC+)
  2. CF Zack Granite (-10 wRC+ in 16 plate appearances)
  3. 1B Joe Mauer (104 wRC+)
  4. 3B Miguel Sano (133 wRC+)
  5. RF Max Kepler (105 wRC+)
  6. DH Robbie Grossman (113 wRC+)
  7. LF Eddie Rosario (105 wRC+)
  8. SS Jorge Polanco (53 wRC+)
  9. C Jason Castro (82 wRC+)

Remember when Dozier hit 42 home runs last season? That’s the most ever by an American League second baseman. Well this year he has 15 home runs. He’s have a good power year, though nothing like last year. I’m really surprised the Twins didn’t trade him this past offseason. Dozier’s stock was never going to be higher.

Anyway, Sano is the big scary guy in that lineup. He’s a monster. Kepler, Dozier, and Mauer are no pushovers, however. Dozier’s not what he was last year and Mauer’s not what he was back in the day, though they can still beat you. One thing about the Twins: they draw a lot of walks. Their team walk rate is a healthy 9.6%. Only the Dodgers (10.8%), Yankees (10.1%), and Cubs (9.9%) draw more.

Sano. (Rob Carr/Getty)
Sano. (Rob Carr/Getty)

On the bench the Twins are carrying C Chris Gimenez (93 wRC+), 1B Kennys Vargas (89 wRC+), IF Eduardo Escobar (95 wRC+), and UTIL Ehire Adrianza (91 wRC+). Fun fact: Gimenez has already made six pitching appearances this year. Six! He’s allowed four runs in five innings. That’s already the most pitching appearances by a full-time position player in a single season since Hal Jeffcoat pitched in seven games in 1957. Hopefully the Yankees force Gimenez to get back on the mound this series.

As for defense, the Twins are one of the most improved teams in baseball in the field this season. Last year they ranked 29th among the 30 clubs with a .681 Defensive Efficiency, which means they turned 68.1% of batted balls into outs. This year they’re 14th with a .706 Defensive Efficiency. Going from 29th to 14th is a pretty big jump. Getting Sano out of right field helped there. That said, Buxton is unreal in center, and he’s currently on the disabled list.

Pitching Matchups

Monday (8:10pm ET): RHP Bryan Mitchell (vs. MIN) vs. LHP Adalberto Mejia (No vs. NYY)
In a very roundabout way, Mejia has some ties to the Yankees. He’s the guy the Twins got from the Giants in the Eduardo Nunez trade last year. Eh? No? Nevermind. The 24-year-old southpaw has a 4.43 ERA (5.30 FIP) in 13 starts and 65 innings this season, during which he’s struck out 18.8% of batters faced and walked 11.1%. That’s not too good. His ground ball rate (45.2%) is fine and his home run rate (1.52 HR/9) is high even considering the homer environment around the league. Mejia has a big reverse split this year — lefties have a .385 wOBA against him while righties have a .327 wOBA — though that’s a sample size issue. He’s only faced 50 lefties compared to 238 righties. Mejia works primarily with a low-90s sinker and backs it up with low-80s sliders and changeups, both of which he throws a ton.

Tuesday (8:10pm ET): RHP Luis Cessa (vs. MIN) vs. RHP Bartolo Colon (vs. NYY)
Bartolo! The Yankees helped resurrect Colon’s career back in the day — he was 38 when they signed him out of winter ball back in 2011 and he’s still pitching — and now they’ll be the first team he faces in his return to the AL. Colon was miserable for the Braves earlier this season (8.14 ERA and 5.08 FIP), so they released him, and he hooked on with Minnesota. His strikeout (14.1%) and homer (1.57 HR/9) rates with Atlanta were bad. His walk (6.7%) and grounder (45.6%) rates were fine. Both lefties (.371 wOBA) and righties (.423 wOBA) crushed him. Colon is still throwing about 85% fastballs these days, though his velocity is mostly upper-80s/low-90s now. Remember when he showed up to Spring Training chucking 95-97 mph with the Yankees? That was fun. When he doesn’t throw a fastball, Colon mixes in low-80s sliders and changeups.

Berrios. (Adam Glanzman/Getty)
Berrios. (Adam Glanzman/Getty)

Wednesday (1:10pm ET): LHP Jordan Montgomery (No vs. MIN) vs. RHP Jose Berrios (No vs. NYY)
Last year Berrios, 23, was one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. Then he got blasted in his MLB debut. He threw 58.1 innings with an 8.02 ERA (6.20 FIP) in 13 starts. Yikes. No other rookie starter in baseball history has posted an ERA that high in at least 50 innings. This season Berrios has gotten back on track, throwing 79 innings across 12 starts with a 3.70 ERA (4.02 FIP). Good strikeout rate (23.0%), okay-ish everything else (7.2 BB%, 42.9 GB%, 1.11 HR/9). Lefties have had a little more success against him than righties (.311 wOBA vs. .277 wOBA). Berrios throws both a straight four-seamer and a sinking fastball in the mid-90s, and his go-to secondary pitch is a cartoonish low-80s curveball. He also throws a mid-80s changeup on occasion. It’s worth noting Berrios started out great, with a 2.67 ERA in his first eight starts, but his last four outings have been rough. He’s given up at least four runs in each of his last four starts, including allowing seven runs in 1.2 innings last time out.

Bullpen Status

Finally, the Yankees will know what it’s been like to face the Yankees’ bullpen these last few weeks. Minnesota’s relief crew has a collective 4.77 ERA (4.83 FIP) on the season, and that’s with All-Star closer Brandon Kintzler posting a 2.23 ERA (3.66 FIP) in 40.1 innings. The rest of the bullpen has been awful. Here is Molitor’s relief crew:

Closer: RHP Brandon Kintzler
Setup: RHP Matt Belisle (5.66 ERA/4.71 FIP) and LHP Taylor Rogers (2.06/3.59)
Middle: RHP Tyler Duffey (4.74/3.60), RHP Ryan Pressly (6.83/4.76), LHP Buddy Boshers (3.47/4.86), RHP Trevor Hildenberger (2.70/2.24)
Long: RHP Phil Hughes (5.87/5.41)

Hughes had surgery to treat Thoracic Outlet Syndrome last year and he wasn’t very good when he first came back, so the Twins moved him into the bullpen. This is the first year of the three-year, $42M extension he signed back in December 2014. He has a 5.04 ERA (4.93 FIP) in innings since signing that deal. That one ain’t working out as hoped.

I should note Hughes is also the only Twins player with real connection to the Yankees. No one else on their roster has previously worn pinstripes, though hitting coach James Rowson was a hitting instructor in New York’s farm system for several years. He worked closely with Gary Sanchez to Aaron Judge, among many others. Rowson left the Yankees and joined the Twins this past offseason. (Update: Colon is an ex-Yankee too. Duh.)

As for recent usage, Hildenberger, Pressly, and Boshers all pitched yesterday. Kintzler, Rogers, Duffey pitched Saturday. No one is coming off back-to-back appearances, so pretty much everyone is fresh, and Kintzler is ready to go for the ninth inning. Check out our Bullpen Workload page for the status of the Yankees’ bullpen.

Yankeemetrics: From heroes to zeroes (July 14-16)

(AP)
(AP)

Nightmare on Landsdowne Street
Another series opener, another late-inning implosion. One day into the post-break portion of the season and we already have a new nominee for Worst Loss of the Year.

The Yankees on Friday night were handed one of their most brutal and soul-crushing defeats of the season by their bitter rivals from Boston, losing on a walk-off walk when Aroldis Chapman completely unraveled in the ninth inning trying to protect a one-run lead.

You have to go back more than six decades to find the most recent time the Yankees suffered a walk-off loss via a bases-loaded walk against the Red Sox:

On August 7, 1956 Ted Williams drew a bases-loaded walk against Tommy Byrne in the bottom of the 11th in a 0-0 game. Williams was the first batter faced by Byrne, who had taken over after Don Larsen pitched 10 scoreless innings, but then had loaded the bases in the 11th inning via two errors and a walk. Of course, Larsen would go on to pitch a perfect game two months later and the Yankees would win the World Series.

And now your Yankeemetric History Lesson of the Series: The fact that Byrne was the loser in that 1956 game would hardly have been surprising to fans in the 1950s. He finished his career with a walk rate of 6.85 walks per nine innings, the highest in MLB history among pitchers with at least 1,000 innings pitched.

With the Yankees adding to their growing list of bullpen meltdowns, let’s update our favorite chart:

Stat Notes
18 Blown Saves – Yeah, they had 16 all of last year;
– The most in MLB through Friday’s games (hooray!);
– 10 since June 12; three more than any other team in that span
18 One-Run Losses – Six more than they had all of last year;
– 10 of them since June 13, the most in the majors over the past month
4 Walk-off Losses – Matches the same number they had in all of 2016;
– At this point last year, they had only two such losses

Through Friday, the Yankees had converted just 17 of 35 save opportunities, an unfathomable save percentage of just 48.6 percent. Since saves became an official stat in 1969, the Yankees have never finished a season with a save conversion rate below 60 percent.

Chapman wore the goats’ horns on this night, in a game of unwelcome “firsts” for him. It was the first time he issued a game-ending walk, and the first time in his career he faced at least five batters and didn’t get an out.

And for that performance, he also gets our Obscure Yankeemetric of the Series: He is the first Yankee pitcher – since saves were official tracked in 1969 – to face at least five guys and fail to get any of them out, while ‘earning’ both a loss and a blown save in the game.

(AP)
(AP)

What a relief
Three outs away from another depressing loss, the Yankees somehow rallied for a dramatic and exhausting 16-inning win over the Red Sox on Saturday afternoon/night. It was was just the fourth game at Fenway Park in the rivalry that went at least 16 innings (also in 1923, 1927, 1966) and the first one that the Yankees emerged as winners.

But for the Yankees, this wasn’t even their longest game of the season – yes, we all remember the 18-inning slog in Chicago a couple months ago. This is the first time in franchise history they’ve won multiple road games of 16-or-more innings in a single season.

Its easy to forget but this game featured two masterful starting pitching performances by Luis Severino and Chris Sale.

The Red Sox ace struck out 13 – the most ever by a Red Sox lefty against the Yankees. Add in the fact that he held the Yankees scoreless and gave up just three hits, and his performance becomes near-historically dominant: only three other pitchers in major-league history surrendered no earned runs and three hits or fewer while striking out at least 13 Yankees: Bartolo Colon (Sept. 18, 2000), Chuck Finley (May 23, 1995) and Jim Shaw (Sept. 4, 1914).

Severino nearly matched Sale with seven innings of one-run ball to keep the game close. It was his sixth game this season with at least seven innings pitched and no more than one run allowed, as the 23-year-old became the youngest Yankee pitcher to do that in a season since Andy Pettitte in 1995.

The game’s first hero was Matt Holliday, who led off the ninth inning with a dramatic solo homer off Craig Kimbrel to tie the game. He was the first Yankee to hit a game-tying homer in the ninth inning at Fenway Park since Roberto Kelly in 1991. How shocking was Holliday’s blast? Kimbrel entered the game a perfect 30-for-30 in save chances at Fenway Park in his career; and this season, right-handed batters were 0-for-37 against him in his home ballpark before Holliday went deep.

Didi Gregorius finally broke the 1-1 tie with a line-drive RBI single up the middle in the 16th inning. He etched his name in the record books forever as the first Yankee with a game-winning hit in the 16th inning or later at Fenway Park.

Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez drove in two more insurance runs to make the final score 4-1. It was just third time in franchise history that the Yankees won a game that went at least 16 innings by three or more runs. The other two: a 12-6 victory at Detroit on July 20, 1941 and a 11-6 win in Cleveland on May 18, 1976.

(AP)
(AP)

Do you believe in miracles?
Our loooooooooooong Yankeeland nightmare is finally over … after Sunday afternoon’s 3-0 win over the Red Sox, the Yankees won back-to-back games for the first time since June 11-12. The 27-game drought without a win streak was the team’s longest since August/September of 1991.

The fact that the Yankees snapped this tortuous stretch with a win over the Red Sox was hardly surprising – it was their sixth victory in eight games vs. their rival, and the third time they allowed no runs. In the long history of this rivalry, it is only the fourth time that the Yankees recorded three shutouts within the first eight matchups of the season. The other years: 1955, 1947 and 1908.

CC Sabathia was an absolute stud, scattering two hits across six shutout innings, while holding the Red Sox hitless in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position. This was CC’s 17th career start at Fenway, and incredibly, the first time that he didn’t allow a run.

Combined with his eight scoreless frames against Boston at Yankee Stadium on June 7, Sabathia became the first Yankee since Ron Guidry in 1978 to pitch consecutive games of at least six scoreless innings against the Red Sox. And at the age of 36, he is the oldest Yankee to throw at least six innings, give up zero runs and no more than two hits in a game at Fenway Park.

Didi Gregorius followed up his late-inning heroics from Saturday with two more hits, including a solo homer that barely tucked inside Pesky’s Pole in right field. It went a projected distance of 295 feet, the shortest home run (excluding inside-the-parkers) recorded by Statcast in the last three seasons.

(Getty)
(Getty)

All good things must come to an end
The joy in Yankeeland lasted only a couple hours as the Yankees’ first win streak in more than a month was abruptly snapped in the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader. Yet that was probably only the second-most depressing stat from this game.

The Red Sox handed the Yankees a taste of their own medicine, blanking them 3-0 and giving them their first shutout loss of 2017. This was the deepest that the Yankees had gone into the season scoring at least one run in every game since 1933. They were also the last remaining team in MLB that hadn’t been held scoreless, the first time they’ve achieved that feat since 2009 — a season that ended nicely.

Going from the mildly distressing stat to the somewhat eclectic stat … this is just the third time in the history of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry that the teams traded shutouts in a doubleheader; they also did it on May 6, 1945 and September 7, 1903.

Aaron Judge nearly saved the no-shutout streak but was robbed of a home run thanks to a superhuman catch by Jackie Bradley Jr. in the eighth inning, and finished the night hitless in four at-bats. That snapped his streak of 42 straight starts reaching base safely, which matched the longest such streak for a Yankee rookie, a mark set by Charlie Keller in 1939.

Despite the highs of the 16-inning win on Saturday and their 3-0 win in the first game of the twin bill, the Yankees still only managed a split of the four-game set. They’re now 0-7-2 in their last nine series, their longest winless series streak since August/September 1991.