July 14, 2017

G90: Red Sox 5, Yankees 4

Yankees - 001 030 000 - 4  6  2
Red Sox - 002 100 002 - 5 10  0
Holy shit! That was amazing!

Tonight's bottom of the ninth is easily my favourite half-inning of the entire season (so far, of course). Down by one run and facing flame-throwing Aroldis Chapman, the Red Sox did not hit a ball out of the infield in the entire inning. But they also did not make an out. They set the table with two singles to shortstop. Toss in an improbable, out-of-the-blue double steal, some sloppy Yankees fielding, an intentional walk (putting excessive pressure on Chapman, who was already having control issues), and a game-winning, five-pitch non-intentional walk - and the Yankees were forced to depart the premises in defeat as the Red Sox kicked off the "second half" with a stupendous victory.

This was an crucial game for the Yankees - as they admitted to the media many times - and when crunch time came, when New York was poised to make a statement, they instead threw it all away. The Yankees have lost 19 of their last 26 games and Boston leads the AL East by 4.5 games.

Mookie Betts began the final frame (bbcsb) with a ground ball into the shortstop hole. Didi Gregorius went to his right and grabbed it, but he had no play. Dustin Pedroia (cbbbcf) also hit the ball on the ground to shortstop. Gregorius came in a bit for this one. Instead of going to first with it, he flung the ball towards second base (with what seemed like an extra bit of flair). However, the throw was high. Ronald Torreyes leapt for the ball and as he did, Betts slid safely into the bag. Boston had runners on first and second with no outs.

On Chapman's 0-1 pitch to Xander Bogaerts, both Betts and Pedroia took off. (Chapman had made several throws to first to keep Betts close, so he was clearly distracted by the baserunner(s).) New York catcher Gary Sanchez did not make a throw - and Red Sox were at second and third. And the crowd at Fenway Park was, to put it mildly, going crazy. Bogaerts worked the count to 2-2 (cbfb) and then tapped an easy grounder to Torreyes. And somehow, someway, the ball clanged off his glove and rolled away behind him to the left. Betts scored (he was off with contact and would have scored anyway) to tie the game.

Even after considering Chapman's iffy control, Yankees manager Joe Girardi gave the sign to walk Hanley Ramirez intentionally. (Ramirez had homered earlier and also hit a missile off the Wall that would likely have been a dong in another park.) And so Andrew Benintendi, who had pinch-hit for Chris Young in the seventh, stepped in. Chapman missed with his first two offerings. Benintendi then ripped a foul down the first base line - and took another ball. Chapman's 23rd pitch of the night was too far inside. Ball 4! Pedroia trotted in from third. The Yankees had blown their MLB-best (or -worst) 18th save - and the Red Sox began their on-field celebration.

It was the Red Sox's first walkoff walk since September 23, 2000. The last time the Red Sox beat the Yankees on a walkoff walk was on August 7, 1956, when Ted Williams drew the game-winning free pass. That game ended 1-0 in 11 innings!

The night began on a frustrating note as the Red Sox stranded two men on base in each of the first two innings against Jordan Montgomery (4-6-3-3-3, 96). New York scored first when Drew Pomeranz gave up two singles to start the third and Sanchez knocked in Chase Headley. That lead was short-lived, though, as Bogaerts singled with one out and jogged home on Ramirez's two-run home run to center.

Boston upped the lead to 3-1 in the fourth. Sam Travis walked, Christian Vazquez singled, and Deven Marrero reached on Torreyes's error. Bases loaded, no outs. Betts fouled to third, but Pedroia singled to shallow left. A chance at a big inning was aborted when Bogaerts grounded into a double play.

New York came back immediately. Headley doubled and scored on Brett Gardner's one-out single. Then Sanchez crushed a ball up into one of the light towers in left, which gave the Yankees a 4-3 lead. Things were fairly quiet until the ninth, though Benintendi (with two outs and runners at first and third) did fly to deep center in the seventh.

After Pomeranz (6-6-4-2-7, 101) left, the Boston bullpen did not allow a baserunner. Matt Barnes threw two perfect innings and Robby Scott tossed a clean ninth, keeping things close until the Red Sox could rally in their final at-bat and make things dirty.
Jordan Montgomery / Drew Pomeranz
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ramirez, DH
Young, LF
Bradley, CF
Travis, 1B
Vazquez, C
Marrero, 3B
Saturday, 4 PM: Luis Severino / Chris Sale
Sunday, 1 PM: Bryan Mitchell / Rick Porcello
Sunday, 8 PM: Masahiro Tanaka / David Price

Alex Speier, 108 Stitches, July 13, 2017:
The [Red Sox have placed themselves] in strong if not quite commanding position in the American League East with a 3½ game lead, yet there is reason to believe that they've done so while concluding the hardest part of their schedule already. ...

[T]he team has now played 50 of its first 89 contests (56 percent) on the road, tied for the most road games of any team in the majors. Only the White Sox (57 percent) have spent a larger chunk of their first-half schedule on the road.

Of course, that means the team is about to enjoy a considerable pendulum swing. The Sox have 42 of their final 73 games at Fenway – the most home games that the team has played over its final 73 contests since the advent of the 162-game schedule. If the Red Sox sustain anything like their first-half performance levels at home and on the road, that schedule raises the possibility of a very impressive finishing kick.

The Red Sox have held serve on the road (25-25) while going 25-14 (.641) at Fenway, posting the best home winning percentage in the American League. If they sustain those winning percentages, the team would finish the year with a 93-69 record – the same mark that was sufficient to cruise to a division title a year ago. (my emphasis)
Mike Vaccaro, Post:
The good part is, we're going to know right away about these Yankees. We're going to learn an awful lot across the next 10 days and 11 games. The second half of the season doesn't begin with a cautious toe-dip in the shallow end of the pool, it starts with a cannonball off the high board.

Four in Boston, also known as first place in the American League East.
Dan Martin, Post:
The Yankees' second half is off to a miserable start — and they haven't even taken the field.

Michael Pineda has been diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and is headed to Tommy John surgery ... Surgery would keep Pineda sidelined possibly until 2019.
The Pine Tar King's career with the Yankees was likely over at the end of this season, anyway. Bryan Mitchell will start in his place in Sunday's first game.
            W   L   GB    RS   RA   DIFF
Red Sox    50  39  ---   431  366   + 65
Yankees    45  41  3.5   477  379   + 98
Rays       47  43  3.5   428  412   + 16
Orioles    42  46  7.5   392  470   - 78
Blue Jays  41  47  8.5   366  430   - 64


johngoldfine said...

The dogs looked up from the couch. 'What the fuck is he laughing at? Ignore the radio, ignore him!'

That bottom of the ninth is what I was laughing at, boys.

allan said...

An OTM commenter:
"The Yankees bullpen has blown 9 of their last 11 save opportunities."

allan said...

Another one:

"The Yankees second baseman was so cute tonight! I loved how he thought he was playing baseball. So adorable"

laura k said...

Apparently the radio announcers managed to pull their eyes away from Judge long enough to notice the Red Sox were on the field.

johngoldfine said...

"Apparently the radio announcers managed to pull their eyes away from Judge long enough to notice the Red Sox were on the field."

Joe Castiglione's catchphrase 'Can you believe it!' sounded unbelievably wan and unenthusiastic as the Red Sox, rather unbelievably, won that fucker.

allan said...

Apparently the radio announcers managed to pull their eyes away from Judge long enough to notice the Red Sox were on the field.

"Chapman's pitch ... it's INSIDE! Ball 4, and the Red Sox have won it. Aaron Judge watches from right field as Dustin Pedroia comes home with the winning run. Wow. Judge, who leads the majors with 30 home runs and put on an eye-popping display at the Home Run Derby last Monday, hitting ball after ball out of sight, certainly one of the finest rookies to play for the Yankees in some time, and just a modest mild-mannered young kid, too, someone who a lot of people around the league say could be the next 'face of baseball', has certainly been part of an amazing game tonight. And as the Red Sox gather in celebration between first and second base on the infield, Judge, at 6-7, 280, 25 years old, from Linden, California, comes jogging in from right field. I'm sure Judge can hear some of the Red Sox cheering and laughing about this game, which, again, was won by the team that Aaron Judge does not play for. So, the final, 5-4. We'll be back right after these messages, and we'll try to get Judge's reaction to the way this one ended..."