August 19, 2017

G122: Yankees 4, Red Sox 3

Yankees - 030 001 000 - 4  9  0
Red Sox - 000 020 100 - 3  6  3
Chris Sale (7-7-4-1-9, 117) can't catch a break against the Yankees. In four starts against New York, he has allowed only seven earned runs, for a 2.12 ERA - and the Red Sox have lost three of those games. Two home runs by the Yankees on Saturday night was enough to edge Boston, as the home team's eighth inning attempt at another come-from-behind win fell short.

Tyler Austin hit a three-run shot in the second inning after a one-out double and a HBP. Todd Frazier went deep in the sixth.

CC Sabathia (6-4-2-1-4, 80) had little trouble with the Red Sox in the early innings. He needed only 16 pitches to retire the first six batters, and his string reached eight before Jackie Bradley dropped an opposite-field single into left in the third. Sabathia set down 13 of the first 14 Boston hitters on only 43 pitches. But he walked Xander Bogaerts with one out in the fifth and Rafael Devers lined a single to third, putting runners at the corners. Sandy Leon grounded out on a slowly hit ball to second as Bogaerts scored. Then Bradley grounded a single into shallow left - and somehow Devers scored from second, sprinting to the plate and sliding in as Brett Gardner's throw was high and to the third base side of the plate.

Mookie Betts doubled to open the sixth, but he stayed there as Andrew Benintendi flied to left, Hanley Ramirez lined to third, and Chris Young fouled to first. The Yankees increased their lead to 4-2 and Adam Warren took over for Sabathia in the seventh. Devers homered to center with one out, his eighth of the year, in his 20th major league game.

David Robertson got the last out in the seventh and he retired the first two hitters in the bottom of the eighth. He was ahead of Benintendi 0-2 and the Red Sox batter swung and missed an absolutely garbage pitch, but it got away from catcher Gary Sanchez and Benintendi ran to first. Ramirez smoked Robertson's next pitch to left for a double. Mitch Moreland was announced as a pinch-hitter for Young and Yankees manager Joe Girardi made a mound visit. He decided to walk Moreland intentionally and face Bogaerts with the bases loaded. It was the right decision, as Bogaerts took a called strike and swung through the next two pitches to end the threat.

Facing Dellin Betances in the ninth (because the Yankees demoted Aroldis Chapman from the closer's job earlier in the day), Leon struck out, but reached first safely when the ball got away from Sanchez. Brock Holt went in to run and he tried stealing second on a 2-0 pitch to Bradley. Sanchez threw him out and Bradley flied harmlessly to left to end the game.

Sale's nine strikeouts gave him 250 for the season. He joins Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson as the only pitchers to reach 250 strikeouts in 25 or fewer games in a single season.

And speaking of strikeouts, Sale fanned Aaron Judge in both the fifth and seventh innings, which means Judge is the proud owner of a new major league record for having at least one strikeout in 36 consecutive games in a single season. Judge can match Bill Stoneman's streak of 37 consecutive games (which was accomplished over two seasons) tomorrow afternoon.
CC Sabathia / Chris Sale
Nunez, 2B
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Ramirez, 1B
Young, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Devers, 3B
Leon, C
Bradley, CF
The Red Sox are 13-2 in their last 15 games (since July 31) and are averaging 6.3 runs per game in that time. They lead the AL East by five games. And they have Chris Sale - who leads the AL in ERA, fewest BB/9, and most K/9 - on the mound today.

Sale has allowed the Yankees only three earned runs in 22.2 innings (1.19 ERA) this season. In his three starts, Sale has walked four while striking out 35. Of New York's 15 hits off the lefty, 12 are singles.

Sabathia will be coming off the disabled list after lasting only three innings in his last start. He has pitched 14 scoreless innings against Boston this year. Sabathia said he considered retiring after this recent knee injury.

Based on a report from Elias, I found the following at Baseball Reference:

Only Under-Age-21 Players To Hit Seven Home Runs In Their First 20 MLB Games
Orlando Cepeda, 1958 Giants   7 HR in his first 20 games  (hit 8 HR in first 21 games)
Ron Swoboda, 1965 Mets        7 HR in his first 18 games
Rafael Devers, 2017 Red Sox   7 HR in his first 19 games
Only Under-Age-21 Players To Hit Home Runs In Consecutive Games Against The Yankees
Babe Ruth, Red Sox          May 6, 1915, off Jack Warhop
                            June 2, 1915, off Jack Warhop
                            June 25, 1915, off Ray Caldwell
Ted Williams, Red Sox       May 30, 1938, off Red Ruffing (G1) and Monte Pearson (G2)
Ken Griffey Jr., Mariners   May 20, 1989, off Dale Mohorcic (3-0 count)
                            May 21, 1989, off Clay Parker (1st pitch, inside-the-park)
Ken Griffey Jr., Mariners   May 12, 1990, off Tim Leary
                            May 13, 1990, off Lance McCullers

Rafael Devers, Red Sox      August 13, 2017, off Aroldis Chapman (103-mph fastball)
                            August 18, 2017, off Jordan Montgomery
Notes: Ruth's home runs were the first three homers of his career. Also, because he was pitching, he did not play in every game in a series. Williams went deep twice against the Yankees on September 3, 1939, but he had turned 21 four days earlier. Griffey also hit two dongs against the Yankees on May 30, 1989 (both on the first pitch).

Drew Pomeranz is not concerned about the back spasms that forced him out of last night's game. "My back just tightened up on my lower right side. It happens sometimes. My hip gets all jammed up and starts pulling on muscles back there. ... I should be fine in a couple of days, or tomorrow even."

John Farrell was asked if David Price (left elbow) would return to the mound at any point this season. His answer was not reassuring. "There's still hope to do that. But I think we're also realistic here too that he's got to build up to an aggressive long-toss situation, not in terms of overall distance, but number of throws with some aggression and build-back to the mound. That's still going to take some time. Like I said, I don't have a return date at all."

A bit more schadenfreude, courtesy of Scott Lauber of ESPN, who asks "Did The Red Sox's Latest Comeback Win Put The AL East Out Of Reach?" Lauber calls Mitch Moreland's pinch-hit, two-run single in the seventh inning "the preamble to the swing that might have won the AL East".
[T]here was just something about this 9-6 Boston Red Sox comeback -- and Yankees squander -- that felt more damaging than all the others.

Maybe it was that the Sox had rallied to beat the Yanks in 10 innings only five nights before in the Bronx. Or that Boston is making a habit of these late-game dramatics, winning for the 12th time when trailing after six innings. More likely, though, it was that Red Sox ace Chris Sale is scheduled to start Saturday night with the Yankees at risk of falling a season-high six games out of first place.

Regardless, after Moreland banged a pinch single up the middle to drive in the tying and go-ahead runs, and the Red Sox tacked on two runs in the eighth against embattled Aroldis Chapman, and Addison Reed and Craig Kimbrel combined to record the final eight outs (six by strikeout), well, you could almost hear the air come out the Yankees' balloon. ...

By doing what they did Friday night, the Red Sox can accomplish something more this weekend.

They can step on the Yankees' throats.

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