May 5, 2023

Red Sox Win 7th Straight; Sale Is Solid Again, Yoshida Hits In 15th Straight Game
Slumping Yankees Settle In Basement: 10 GB After 8 Losses In Last 12 Games

The Red Sox won their seventh consecutive game on Friday night, as Masataka Yoshida extended his hitting streak to 15 games and Chris Sale struck out 10 Phillies in six innings.

Elsewhere, the 2023 AL East champion Rays improved to 27-6 (18-2 at home!) by pushing the last-place Yankees aside 5-4, dropping Boonie's Blundering Bunch a lovely 10 games out of first place.

It's been an odd five weeks for Boston. After the season-opening series, it was feast or famine for a while. The Red Sox went 0-3 against the Pirates, 3-0 against the Tigers, 0-4 against the Rays, and 3-0 against the Angels before dropping that series' finale. Last Saturday's extra-inning walkoff win against the Guardians kicked off this current winning streak, which included a four-game sweep of the Blue Jays at Fenway.

Yoshida's turnaround has been wonderful. Back on the morning of April 19, through 13 games, Yoshida's slash stats were .167/.310/.250, a weak .560 OPS. He made a few adjustments to his batting stance, in consultation with assistant hitting coach Luis Ortiz and has hit safely (and shown nice power) in every game since.

I can pick out the balls that I should swing at, so I think that's why I'm doing well. I'm focused on my batting form, especially my stance. . . . I'm stepping with my right foot back a little bit. Then, it makes me more comfortable to see the ball. I haven't changed anything swing-wise. . . . I learned the pitchers in MLB prefer to use heaters up in the zone. I figured that out.

Yes, he has. Five weeks in, and Yoshida has shown he will rake in the majors, without question. Over his last 15 games, Yoshida is 26-for-60 (.433), with five dongs, 18 RBI, and 14 runs scored.

Last Sunday in Milwaukee, Yoshida clubbed two home runs in the eighth inning, including a grand slam, becoming only the fourth Red Sox player to hit multiple home runs in an inning, along with Ellis Burks (August 27, 1990), Nomar Garciaparra (July 23, 2002), and David Ortiz (August 12, 2008).

Yoshida's feat came on the 24th anniversary of Fernando Tatis hitting two grand slams in one inning. That remarkable accomplishment (which Tatis could not do by himself, of course) inning, Tatis joined Johnny Vander Meer in doing something no future player will ever exceed. Bet your house on it: No one will hit three grand slams in an inning and no one will throw three consecutive no-hitters.

Yoshida is living up to his reputation as a contact hitter, striking out only twice in his last 11 games. He's been moved up to #2 in the lineup for five of this streak's seven games.

                 H-for-AB  PA   AVG   OBP   SLG    OPS   RS  HR  RBI  BB   K
First 13 games:  8-for-48  58  .167  .310  .250   .560    8   1    6   8  5
Last 15 games:  26-for-60  66  .433  .484 .804 1.288  14   5   18   5  6

Yankees Fail In First Test vs. Red-Hot Rays, Now 10 Games Back In AL East
Greg Joyce, Post:
The Yankees spent the last five weeks looking up at the red-hot Rays in the AL East.

On Friday, they got a first-hand view of the buzzsaw in human form . . . before falling even further behind.

A costly fielding miscue from left fielder Jake Bauers in the seventh inning proved to be the difference, with the Rays squeezing out a 5-4 win over the Yankees . . .

With the win, the Rays (27-6) . . . improved to 10 games ahead of the last-place Yankees (17-16), who have now lost eight of their last 12 games. . . .

[After the game] Aaron Boone [was] irritated by another question about the early-season divisional deficit. . . .

The Yankees came back from an early 4-0 deficit to tie the game . . . in the sixth inning, but then fell behind again an inning later on a play that should have been made.

With one out and a runner on first in the seventh inning, Wander Franco hit a line drive to left field off Jimmy Cordero. Bauers ran back and then jumped to catch it, but the ball went in and out of his glove and dropped before he booted it on the warning track. That allowed Yandy Diaz to score all the way from first base for the 5-4 lead . . .

The Yankees then threatened to tie it back up or take the lead in the eighth inning . . . [but left] the tying run 90 feet away.

The Yankees did not have a hit until the fourth inning . . .

[MFY Harrison Bader:] "It's super early . . . there's no concern whatsoever."

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