#RedSox Game Summary (September 3) Out of gas. The Sox could do very little against these Yankees, either in the field or at the plate. Chris Sale seems to have settled into a schedule in which he pitches one game that’s crap, and another in which he is dominant. His last game was dominant. This one was crap. He managed just 4 1/3rd innings, giving up 3 runs on 7 hits with 2 walks and 6 Ks, while throwing a total of 109 pitches. In just over 4 innings. Not good. The three runs came on solo dingers, one by Chase Headley in the 3rd, one one by Matt Holliday in the 4th, and the 3rd by Todd Frazier, also in the 4th. Still, with a 3-0 lead, the game seemed salvageable, even more so after Eduardo Núñez, who had reached on an error, managed to get to third, aided by another error, and scored on a passed ball by Gary Sanchez. Yankee starter Luis Severino had kept the Sox at bay to this point, and finished with just 1 run, but none earned, over 6 innings, on just 2 hits, no walks, and gaining 9 whiffs. The Yanks crushed Sox fans’ hopes in the bottom of the 6th when, after loading the bases on 2 walks and a single, scored on a Gary Sanchez single, then got 3 more on a Starlin Castro double, and 2 more on an Aaron Judge homer, all off Robby Scott. There was a brief moment of excitement in the 9th when the Sox got 2 on, and Sandy León drove in a run with a single, but that was all. Maybe these guys need a David Ortiz motivational speech. They seem to need something. New York beat Boston, 9-2, at Yankee Stadium. Record: 77-60. Game 137/25.
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#RedSox Game Summary (September 2) Stalled. The Red Sox batters seemed baffled by Yankee starter Masahiro Tanaka, a pitcher whom they can handle ordinarily. They went 6-for-32 with 2 walks against Yankee pitching. Their only run came in the 6th inning, when Eduardo Núñez doubled, and scored on a wild pitch. That was also their only extra-base hit. Rick Porcello had a decent start for Boston until the bottom of the 6th. His only run to that point had been a solo jolt by Chase Headley in the 2nd inning. In the 6th, however, after giving up a leadoff walk and a single, he surrendered a 3 run bomb to Matt Holliday. That was the end of his day, as Brandon Workman came on to finish the inning. In the 7th, Brandon allowed a triple to our old friend Jacoby Ellsbury, who scored on a single by Gary Sanchez. Tzu-Wei Lin, part of the roster expansion, played 2nd in place of Dustin Pedroia, who is being eased back into the lineup after his long layoff. Lin played well. Rafael Devers, on the other hand, seems to be experiencing some rookie jitters. Overanxious at the plate, he is not getting on base so much, though he did get a hit in this game, which he promptly negated when he was caught stealing in an awkward run to 2nd. In the field, he made several mental mistakes and committed an error, his 7th. New York beat Boston, 5-1, at Yankee Stadium. Record: 77-59. Game 136/26.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 1) A Gray day for the Yankees. Sonny Gray, the Yankees wunderkind acquired from the Oakland A’s, has had only middling success as a starting pitcher this year, and against the Red Sox today, he was less than overwhelming. Doug Fister, on the other hand, had another impressive start. He did give up a run in the first inning on doubles by Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge, but settled down after that. The Sox took the lead for good in the 3rd on a 2 run homer by Eduardo Núñez. Big flies by Andrew Benintendi in the 5th and Hanley Ramírez in the 7th locked this one down, with Addison Reed and Craig Kimbrel freezing the Yanks out in the 8th and 9th innings respectively. We are back to a 5.5 game lead in the AL East. Boston beat New York, 4-1, at Yankee Stadium. Record: 77-58. Game 135.27.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 31) CC sick. The Boston Red Sox have simply not been able to figure out CC Sabathia this year. Once again, the Yankee starter dispatched them with relative ease, giving up just 1 run on 4 hits and 5 walks over 6 innings, with 6 Ks. That one run came in the 3rd inning when Eduardo Núñez singled, went to 3rd on an Andrew Benintendi single, and scored on a fielder’s choice. The other run came in the 9th when New York reliever Ballin Betances walked one and hit two batters to load the bases for Baseball Benny, whom he also walked to force in a run. Eduardo Rodriguez was pretty sharp until the 6th, when it all kind of came apart. In the 3rd, he surrendered a solo dinger to Gary Sanchez. In the 5th, Sanchez struck again with a soft infield hit that scored Brett Gardner. In the 6th, E-Rod gave up 3 straight hits, including a double to Chase Headley, a 2 run bomb to Greg Bird, and a single to Todd Frazier, which ended his night. A subsequent single by Didi Gregorius off Fernando Abad drove in Frazier. The Yanks tacked on one more in the 7th when Heath Hembree surrendered a walk and two successive singles to Headley and Bird. After the game, CC had the temerity to complain about Núñez bunting on him in the 1st inning. CC had been unable to field the bunt, allowing Núñez to reach on the error. Sabathia called the Núñez play “weak”, which has drawn a number of snarky observations on social media regarding CC’s weight (blamed for his lack of mobility) and supposed eating habits. Let’s just settle down and play the games, OK? New York beat Boston, 6-2, at Yankee Stadium. Record: 76-58. Game 134/28.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 20) This one’s for you, Jerry. Today was Jerry Remy Day, honoring 30 years of color commentary in the booth for the Boston Red Sox by the beloved former Red Sox 2nd baseman, and the team seemed especially energized by the event. Rick Porcello had a solid start, going 6 innings against New York while giving up just 1 run on 3 hits and 3 walks, with 4 punch-outs. The one run was a solo line drive shot over the short right field corner near the Pesky Pole by Brett Gardner. That proved to be the only Yankee run, as Brian Workman, Addison Reed, and Craig Kimbrel blanked the Yanks in successive innings to complete Porcello’s solid win. The Sox started the scoring in the bottom of the 2nd, with 3 successive hits including a 2 RBI triple by Jackie Bradley, Jr. In the 6th, Mitch Moreland singled, reached 2nd on a wild pitch and 3rd on a fielder’s choice, scoring on a single by JBJ. In the 8th, after Xander Bogaerts walked, back-to-back doubles by Mitch Moreland and Sandy Leon plated 2 more runs. Chase Headley also doubled for the Yankees, and Hanley Ramirez for the Sox. An all-around solid win against a very good Yankees team, which may help give them some momentum going into their series with the redoubtable Cleveland Indians. Boston beat New York, 5-1, at Fenway Park. Record: 71-52. Game 123/39.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 19) A momentary loss of focus. That’s all it takes. And when one of the premier pitchers in baseball, who makes his living with his fastball, loses focus for even a moment, bad things can happen. For Chris Sale, that moment came in the 2nd inning, twice; once when he gave up a ground-rule double (that Eck rightly pointed out would have been a “johnson” in Yankee Stadium) to the Yankees’ Didi Gregorius, then hit Todd Frazier and yielded a 3 run bomb to Tyler Austin. He got himself together after that, but it was too late for the Red Sox. The Sox got 2 runs back in the 5th when a walk of Xander Bogaerts by New York starter CC Sabathia was followed by sharply hits singles from Rafael Devers and Jackie Bradley, Jr. But the Yanks scored again in the 6th on another homer off Sale, this one a solo job by Frazier. A solo dinger by Devers off Yankee reliever Adam Warren cut the Yankee lead to 1. The Sox threatened in the 8th, when Andrew Benintendi struck out but reached first on a wild pitch by reliever David Robinson, who subsequently gave up a double to Hanley Ramirez and intentionally walked Mitch Moreland to load the bases with 2 out. But the Sox did not score. Mookie Betts also doubled for Boston, as did Austin for New York. New York beat Boston, 4-3, at Fenway Park. Record: 70-52. Game 122/40.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 18) A game in three acts. The Bronx Bombers are back, and while I doubt they will get to the ALCS this year, they are well poised for strong runs in coming seasons. They have a fearsome lineup that can be compared to the famed Murderers’ Row of ages past, anchored by Aaron Judge and Gary Sánchez. The power of this team contributed to the drama of game, which can be broken out into 3 acts. Act I: In the first 5 innings, Boston starter Drew Pomeranz and Brandon Workman kept the Yanks off the board (Pomeranz had to leave the game in the 4th inning, suffering from back spasms). Meanwhile, the Sox methodically built up a 3-0 lead on the strength of a 2nd inning double by Xander Bogaerts off Yankee starter Jordan Montgomery, followed by a 2 run bomb by Rafael Devers, followed by a 5th inning solo dinger by Christian Vázquez. Act II: Matt Barnes relieved Workman in the 6th, and immediately got into deep trouble. He gave up a 2 run blast over everything by Todd Frazier, and then 2 quick singles with 2 out ended his night. On came Joe Kelly. Kelly has a 104 MPH fastball, but has not demonstrated good control since he came off the DL about a week back. That issue was immediately on display when he hit Aaron Hicks. He got out of that inning, but in the 7th, Gary Sánchez smacked a solo round-tripper to tie the score at 3. After a single and a walk, Kelly managed to whiff Austin Romine, and his evening was over. Heath Hembree then walked Todd Frazier to load the bases, then promptly unloaded them by giving up a 2 RBI single to Ronald Torreyes. Robby Scott then reloaded the bases by walking Brett Gardner, and hit Aaron Hicks to force in another run. Yankees lead, 6-3. Act III: New York reliever Chad Green gave up 2 singles and a walk to load the bases in the 7th. Mookie Betts’s sac fly then cut the lead to 2. Andrew Benintendi then drove in a run. Hanley Ramirez then walked to load the bases for Mitch Moreland, who was pinch hitting (he had been platooned out due to the lefty starter). Mitch hit a 2 RBI single to give the Sox the lead back. Then, just for good measure, in the 8th Jackie Bradley, Jr. hit a 2 RBI single to ice the game for Boston. Craig Kimbrel did the rest. Boston beat New York, 9-6, at Fenway Park. Record: 70-51. Game 121/41.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 13) The rivalry is back. C’mon. Admit it. You miss those white knuckle moments: Red Sox vs. Yankees, everything on the line. We’re not quite there yet, but close. New York has a fine team, and once those guys get a little more experience, they are going to be very scary. Even in this game, the Sox had all they could handle. Boston ace and dead-lock for the Cy Young Award Chris Sale was fantastic in this game, going 7 innings and giving up 1 run on 4 hits and 2 walks, with 12 strikeouts. That one run came in the 5th inning, when Mookie Betts, uncharacteristically, muffed a fly ball near the right field fence. It was called a hit, but really, he should have had it. It ended up as a triple, which allowed Chase Headley, who singled, to score. Boston scored off Yankee starter Jordan Montgomery (who also had a fine game) in the top of the 5th when Brock Holt walked, reached 2nd on a wild pitch, and scored on a single by Jackie Bradley, Jr. After Sales was done, Matt Barnes came on in the 8th, and after getting the first man out, allowed a hit and 2 walks to load the bases for Todd Frazier, whose sac fly untied the game, 2-1. In the 9th, it looked like Aroldis Chapman, whose pitchers were AVERAGING over 100 MPH, was going to dispatch the Sox fairly quickly, but no one told that to rookie Rafael Devers, whose solo bomb to left center tied the score. In the bottom of the 9th, Addison Reed walked the leadoff man, but after a sacrifice bunt moved him to 2nd, Reed got a ground out off our old friend Jacoby Ellsbury, and Craig Kimbrel came on to whiff Brett Gardner. In the 10th, Chapman, still on, and now (technically) hitting since his DH (Gary Sánchez) assumed a fielding position (catcher) hit JBJ, walked Eduardo Núñez, and walked Betts to load the bases for Andrew Benintendi who, of course, singled in what would prove to be the winning run. In the bottom of the 10th, Kimbrel dispatched the Yanks in order to pick up the win. Boston beat New York, 3-2 in 10 innings, at Yankee Stadium. Record: 67-50. Game 117/45.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 12) O rare Ben’s johnsons! (Apologies to English lit majors everywhere) Andrew “Benny” Benintendi accomplished an unusual feat in today’s game, hitting 3 run homers (which Dennis Eckersley likes to call “johnsons”) in two consecutive at-bats, powering the Red Sox to a big win over the Yankees. Sox starter Drew Pomeranz struggled in the first inning against New York, giving up a 2 run jack to Gary Sanchez (it was one of those weak fly balls that just barely made it past the corner of the short porch in right field) to put the Sox in an early hole. He settled down after that, with just one other truly rough patch coming in the 4th, when he gave up 2 singles and a walk to load the bases, allowing one run to score on a fielder’s choice. Pomeranz finished with 3 runs on his record off 7 hits and 2 walks with 5 Ks over 6 2/3rds innings. For the Sox, the fun started in the 3rd when, after Yankee starter Luis Severino walked two with one out, Eduardo Núñez reached base on a throwing error by Todd Frazier to load them up for Mookie Betts, whose line drive to left plated 2 runs. Then came Benny’s first blast, to make it a 5 run inning. In the 5th, after a single by Núñez and double by Betts, Benny did it again. But the Sox weren’t done scoring yet. Mitch Moreland doubled, and an error by Didi Gregorius made it 1st and 3rd for Rafael Devers, who doubled in 2 more. In the 9th, Boston reliever Robby Scott decided to make things a little more interesting by serving up solo home run balls to Chase Headley and Jacoby Ellsbury in succession. But as Craig Kimbrel began warming in the ‘pen, he settled down and got 3 outs in succession to end the game. Boston beat New York, 10-5, at Yankee Stadium. Record: 66-50. Game 116/46.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 11) The running of the bulls. The Boston bullpen has been very reliable in shutting down opponents once the Red Sox have a lead. Not this time. The Sox jumped out to an early lead when Hanley Ramirez hit a 2 run jack off Yankee starter Jaime García, and Andrew Benintendi followed with a solo dinger in the 5th. Boston starter Eduardo Rodríguez was excellent, giving up 2 hits and 2 walks, with 7 whiffs over 6 shutout innings, and despite a lead-off walk, Matt Barnes blanked the New Yorkers in the 7th. But then… trouble. After hitting Brett Gardner with a pitch, Boston reliever Addison Reed seemed to have lost his nerve, and after working Aaron Hicks to a full count, threw a weak-ass slider that resulted in a 2 run bomb. Then, after giving up a single to Gary Sanchez, he walked Aaron Judge, to end his night. On came Joe Kelly. Salvation, right? Not so fast. Kelly gave up 2 consecutive singles to Didi Gregorius and Todd Frazier, tying the game and leaving the bases still loaded with nobody out. A sac fly scored Gregorius with the go-ahead run, and another sac fly produced an insurance run. New York 5, Boston 3. In the 9th, Aroldis Chapman walked Jackie Bradley, Jr., Eduardo Núñez, and Mookie Betts, in a row, to load the bases with nobody out. A golden opportunity. Only when Andrew Benintendi flied out to left and JBJ scored on the sacrifice, for some inconceivable reason, Núñez attempted to reach 3rd (on a play from left? Really?), and was cut down. Mitch Moreland then flied out, to end the game. New York beat Boston, 5-4, at Yankee Stadium. Record: 65-50. Game 115/47.