This game started off pretty nicely with a two-run explosion by the bats. With this Yankees team, that’s kind of too good to be true, right? The Red Sox then scored five runs and held on during a pretty dicey ninth to win the game 5-3.
Taking the lead
For a little while in the game, I was a bit excited about the possibility of Luis Severino out-dueling Rick Porcello. If you haven’t been paying attention, Porcello’s numbers have been pretty neat this year. Prior to tonight’s game, he had a 14-3 record with a 3.46 ERA, becoming the pitcher that Boston envisioned to be when they gave up Yoenis Cespedes. Severino, on the other hand, has had a very up-and-down season in which he’s experienced major growing pains in the majors.
The Yankees, however, struck first. In the second, Starlin Castro doubled to lead off the inning and Chase Headley drove him in with a two-bagger of his to give New York a 1-0 lead. Castro seemed to move a bit gimpy after his double but thankfully, he stayed in game and played rest of the way.
You don’t call it an offensive explosion without consecutive innings of scoring. Brett Gardner doubled (yeah, again) to lead off the inning. Two batters later, Brian McCann squared up one to right for an RBI single, giving the Yankees a 2-0 lead. Well, that’s as close to the climax for Yanks’ part of the game.
Giving’em back (and then more)
Severino started the bottom third with a Sandy Leon K. However, Andrew Benintendi singled (his first Fenway hit, by the way) and Mookie Betts followed it with a double to put him in a hot water all of sudden with runners on second and third. On the 9th pitch of the at-bat, Severino left a fastball middle up and Dustin Pedroia drove it down the right field line for a two-run double. Argh. Pedroia will do that to ya, especially if you’re a young pitcher going through things.
After tossing a scoreless fourth, Severino got into more trouble in the fifth by allowing a leadoff triple to Sandy Leon. Benintendi followed it with a looooong double that was initially called a double… then called a home run… then reviewed and called a double again. A batter later, Pedroia struck again, hitting a sharp liner down the right field (again) to drive in a run. 4-2. I’m honestly willing to give it time for Severino to develop as a possible ML starter but tonight was just not great – not being able to finish hitters off, giving up big hits, etc. Fortunately, he’s at a stage of the career that there’s always a next time.
Oh, Severino had his earned run tacked on to his ledger when Tommy Layne, making his Yankee debut, let the inherited runner score on an Ortiz RBI single. Sevvy’s final line: 4.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 0 BB and 3K.
The unlucky seventh
Behind 5-2, the Yankees could’ve padded about two runs (or even more) had it not been for some unfortunate baserunning hijinks. Headley hit a big fly bouncing off the center field wall to lead off the inning. The ball trickled away and it appeared that Headley could reach third. However, Jackie Bradley Jr.’s strong, accurate throw caught him out there. As third base coach Joe Espada wanted to check with dugout to see if they could challenge the call, apparently Porcello and Headley had a heated exchange that led to both benches clearing. The Yankee – Sox rivalry ain’t what it used to be, but hey, nothing like a drama like that to make things exciting.
With two outs, Aaron Hicks hit a weak grounder to third that Travis Shaw misplayed, allowing him to reach first base. Gardner followed it up with a sharp grounder down the left field line that seemed like Hicks should’ve scored on. However, Hicks missed Espada furiously waving him home and hesitated as he rounded the base. By the time Hicks saw it, it was too late – he had to stay there or he was dead meat at home. I have no idea how to explain that besides not really paying attention or losing Espada in the vision while running – or both. Yanks’ scoring chance died with Ellsbury’s line out to right.
Porcello threw eight innings of two-run ball and Farrell brought in his closer Craig Kimbrel to close out the game. Kimbrel is, well, known to be pretty good at this. Tonight, however, he seemed like he had difficulty putting balls into the zone.
After striking out Didi Gregorius, Kimbrel walked Headley. Once Gary Sanchez followed it up with a line out though, it seemed like the end of game was imminent. Well, that’s when Kimbrel walked three hitters in a row – the last one coming in a bases-loaded situation versus Jacoby Ellsbury. Pitching is pretty hard and that’s not really news to anyone. Kimbrel seemed like he was out of sync and not finishing the pitches well, resulting in a lot of pitches way off the mark and, well, walking a bunch of hitters.
The Yankees decreased the deficit to two runs and Farrell took Kimbrel out for Matt Barnes. Barnes had only one job and he got it done – getting the last out of the game. He did so by striking out Mark Teixeira looking with a fastball outside. I don’t know how to say it but this seemed like a fitting end to tonight’s game – the Yankees tried, but for one reason or another, they didn’t execute.
Box score, highlights, WPA and standings
The Yankees and Red Sox will play game two of this series tomorrow. Nathan Eovaldi and Drew Pomeranz will be the starters.