June 30, 2018

G84: Red Sox 11, Yankees 0

Red Sox - 420 001 211 - 11 17  0
Yankees - 000 000 000 -  0  2  0 
Chris Sale looked like a left-handed Pedro tonight. He allowed one hit and one walk in seven innings and struck out 11. After giving up a groundball single in the first inning, Sale retired 20 of the next 21 batters, including the last 16. His stuff was utterly filthy - changeups up in the zone at 78 followed by fastballs on the outside black at 99 - and his pinpoint command kept every Yankee in the dark about what was coming next. Of his 101 pitches, 72 were strikes.

Rafael Devers led his teammates through nine innings of batting practice, going 5-for-5, including a grand slam in the first inning. (He was on base as many times as the entire Yankees team.) Mookie Betts reached base four times, J.D. Martinez knocked in a run in three different innings, and Sandy Leon doubled and homered, with the two-run dong rocketing into the second deck in right. Boston retook the AL East lead by one game.

Sonny Gray (2.1-7-6-2-0, 68) came into the game with a home ERA of 7.22. When he walked off the field to a cacophony of boos, it was 8.33. In the first inning, Gray had two outs and a 1-2 count on Martinez. But the inning was far from over. Martinez reached on an infield single, Mitch Moreland walked on seven pitches, and Xander Bogaerts lined a first-pitch single to right. Devers did not look too good on a couple of swings, but he lofted an outside pitch that cleared the wall in left for a grand slam.

Devers is the youngest player to hit a grand slam in a Red Sox/Yankees games. The previous youngest were Ted Williams (August 15, 1940) and Joe DiMaggio (July 5, 1937 (G2)).

Betts celebrated the Quadrangular Grande by high-fiving teammates along the front of the dugout. At the end, Sale was shown just standing by himself, glaring at Betts with his game face!

Leon doubled to right to open the second. Betts walked with one out and Benintendi followed with an RBI-single to right. The Yankees bullpen was now active. Martinez made it 6-0 with a sac fly to right. Gray gave up two singles to start the third and after a force play at second, he was given the rest of the night off. Adam Warren got out of the third when Leon flied to shallow right-center and Bogaerts tried to tag and score. It was a bonehead idea and Aaron Judge's throw to the plate was in plenty of time. Warren pitched 2.2 innings and was the only one of five New York pitchers to not allow a run.

Jackie Bradley singled off Giovanny Gallegos with one down in the sixth. He stole second and Mookie Betts walked one pitch later. Martinez's single to right scored JBJ. In the seventh, Gallegos gave up a double to Devers that Judge tried to catch at the wall. He leapt but the ball hit off the side of his glove. There was a review of whether it might have been a home run, but it was ruled a double.

One batter later, Leon crushed a two-run dong to right, making it 9-0. Betts doubled and scored on Martinez's hit in the eighth. Brock Holt's single in the ninth scored Devers, who had singled and gone to second on a wild pitch.

Sale, unaccustomed to such run support, hit Aaron Hicks in the left shin with his third pitch and gave up a wicked ground ball single to Giancarlo Stanton. The exit velocity was 116 mph, which is insane for a ground ball. And that was it for New York hits for the next three hours or so.

Sale hit 99 or 100 with six of his 17 pitches in the first inning and he was still hitting 100 in the seventh. He struck out the side in the sixth and needed 20 pitches to do it, but it was still eye-poppingly brilliant. A 2-2 pitch to Hicks may have been strike three, but plate umpire Brian O'Nora called it a ball. Sale needed 10 pitches to fan Hicks; the last four - three fouls and a swing/miss - were clocked at 96, 98, 99, 78. Sale started Judge off with two sliders (1-1), then three fastballs, all at 99 (3-2), before getting him to chase a slider at 82. He whiffed Stanton four pitches: an 83 slider for a ball, two changeups at 89 and 91 for swings and misses, and then a fastball at 99. Good-bye.

But what was amazing about the Judge and Stanton strikeouts was how Sale moved the ball around the zone to both batters. With Judge, Sale threw a slider low/inside (b), slider low/outside (c), fastball high/outside (b), fastball down the middle (f), fastball high out of the zone (b), and a slider low on the bottom edge of the zone (s). Same thing with Stanton: slider high/outside (b), changeup low/outside (s), changeup low/over the plate (s), and a fastball high/inside (s).

Sale also toyed with Torres in the eighth. With a 2-1 count, he threw the rookie a changeup at 87, which Torres fouled off. Then Sale came back with a fastball at 99; another foul. And another fastball at 100; Torres couldn't get his bat on that heat twice in a row and he struck out.

Jackie Bradley made another highlight reel catch, sprinting to the wall in right-center, leaping anmd catching Hicks's long drive in the third.

Gray is the not-so-proud owner of the worst home ERA in Yankees history. In 13 starts, he is at 7.10. The other rag-arms: Carl Pavano (13, 6.12), Jaret Wright (21, 5.93), Jeff Johnson (15, 5.85), and Dave Eiland (17, 5.56).

Meanwhile, Sale has a 1.61 ERA against the Yankees in 14 career starts (17 total games). (This stat is being offered only for purposes of comparison to the previous paragraph.) That's the lowest ERA against the Yankees since the end of the Deadball Era in 1920.

Sale is also only the fifth pitcher to have a stat line of seven or more innings, one hit or fewer, no runs and at least 11 strikeouts against the Yankees since 1920, and only the second Red Sox pitcher to do so, joining Ray Culp (9-1-0-1-11 on September 21, 1968).

Finally, before Devers got the train rolling, I was furious at plate umpire O'Nora, who blew a call against each of the first four Red Sox batters, calling an obvious ball a strike.

There was the first pitch to Betts:

The third pitch to Benintendi, on 1-1:

The third pitch to Martinez, also on 1-1:

And the first pitch to Moreland:

O'Nora did call a couple of strikes on outside pitches for Sale, but I have no idea if his mistakes were evenly distributed. Even if O'Nora was "consistent", which supposedly satisfies everyone, consistently wrong is still wrong. ... I want robots.
Chris Sale / Sonny Gray
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Martinez, DH
Moreland, 1B
Bogaerts, SS
Devers, 3B
Nunez, 2B
Leon, C
Bradley, CF
Sale has made 17 starts this season. In 10 of them, he has allowed one or zero earned runs. The only AL pitchers with more are Justin Verlander (11) and Blake Snell (11). ... Sale has a 1.29 ERA in his last four games, with 43 strikeouts in 28 innings.

AL East: The Red Sox (55-28) and Yankees (53-26) are tied for first place. They have been within two games of each other in the standings since May 1.

1 comment:

David Cho said...

Wow. So two lopsided games back to back. Hopefully tomorrow's game will be more evenly matched with a Red Sox victory. Will be at the stadium (silently) rooting for Red Sox!