Jobu reviews the Yankees series win against the Boston Red Sox.
The Yankees rolled into Fenway with a one game lead over Baltimore, and a two game lead over the Rays. The two teams were scheduled for a three game set against each other, so the Yankees had a good chance to pick up ground on one, or both, of their biggest challengers for the divisional crown. All they needed to do was beat the floundering Red Sox. The Yankees dropped game one to the Sox, but ended up coming back to win the last two thanks to some solid starting pitching…. something they’ve been severely lacking of late.
Game 1: Red Sox 4, Yankees 3
The Yankees sent Hiroki Kuroda, their defacto ace, to the hill in game one against Jon Lester, who is one of maybe a handful of scary players on the Red Sox. Initially I kind of chalked this game up as the one the Yankees could afford to lose in this series. While they did lose, it wasn’t because of anything Lester did, which made it ultimately very frustrating.
Trouble With Leads
I don’t know what it is with the Yankees lately, but they seem to hate having leads. Sabathia and Kuroda specifically, seem to always give up leads. In this game, Kuroda gave up a 1-0 lead and later coughed up the 3-2 lead he was given by Jeter. Hiroki didn’t pitch poorly by any means, it’s just frustrating when the offense hands the pitchers leads (especially with the trouble the Yankees have had scoring lately) and they cough everything up. Kuroda’s final line looked like this: 6.1 Ip, 8 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 6 Ks, 94 pitches and a no decision. David Robertson took the loss in the ninth when the Sox got all the lucky hits for a walk-off victory.
No Clutch At All
Lester walked seven men in this game. Seven! In his 5.1 innings, the lefty threw 102 pitches and allowed five hits too. Twelve base runners in 5.1 innings, and the Yankees managed to only tag him for three runs, two of them on a bloop double by Derek Jeter in the sixth. The Yankees managed only Jeter’s hit with runners in scoring position all game long, taking a 1-12 in those situations for the game and leaving nine guys on base. It was pretty terrible, and a game that should have finished as a 10-4 win, finished as a 4-3 loss.
Notable Offense: RBI – Cano (75), Jeter 2 (52), 2 hits for Swisher
Game 2: Yankees 5, Red Sox 4
Despite the win, Game two wasn’t any less stressful to watch. The Yankees sent rookie David Phelps to the mound against Aaron Cook. Once again, a game that should have been a blowout turned into a close and scary contest, but the Yankees managed to come out on top in this one.
Phelps had been struggling in his last couple of starts. With Iván Nova back in the rotation and Andy Pettitte looming, Phelps needed a big game to keep himself in the rotation picture for the rest of the season. He responded very well to the pressure, pitching into the sixth and only allowing a single run in the bottom of the fourth. Phelps’ final line looked like this: 5.2 Ip, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 93 pitches and his fourth win of the season (4-4). Big ups, youngster.
Girardi then used six pitchers to get the last ten outs, which was boring and frustrating to watch. Cody Eppley and Boone Logan put a couple of runners on base in the seventh, and Joba Chamberlain let them score. Rafael Soriano gave up a solo homer in the ninth too, but he was ultimately able to seal the deal for his 37th save of the season. Phew!
Thank You Grandyman
Let’s not get this twisted. The Yankees scored five runs and won, but the offense wasn’t very good at all. They went an unbelievable 0-13 with runners in scoring position in this game. If it wasn’t for three big home runs, we’d be looking at a one game deficit in the division. Curtis Granderson got the scoring started with a solo home run in the top of the fourth. Two batters later, Canó hit a two-run homer that scored A-Rod, and the Yankees had a 3-0 lead. In the top of the seventh, Granderson did it again, launching a two-run homer that gave the Yankees some Geico for the bullpen. It certainly wasn’t a pretty game, but a win is a win, and the Yankees remained in a first place tie with the victorious Orioles.
Notable Offense: HR – Granderson 2 (37), Canó (30), RBI – Granderson 3 (89), Canó 2 (77), SB – Dickerson (2), 3 hits for Swisher, Two for jetted, Granderson and Chavez
Game 3: Yankees 2, Red Sox 0
If the Yankees had lost this game, and the series, to the last place Red Sox, there would have been no excuses. The Orioles had won earlier in the day (of course), so they Yankees needed this game so that they could keep pace with them and gain another game on the Rays (who did a great job of laying down to the Orioles). On the hill for the Yankees was Phil Hughes, and he was squaring off against Félix Doubront. The Yankees got only one clutch hit the entire game, but it was enough for the 2-0 win.
Lights Out Phildo
When Hughes got through the first three innings without allowing a hit, I withheld my praise. I wanted to see him get through the fifth or sixth inning without imploding before I gave it up to him. He did all that and more. Hughes pitched into the eighth inning and didn’t give up any runs to the Sox. Granted, they didn’t even have Dustin Pedroia in the lineup, but still. Any good pitching is welcome at this point. His final line looked very impressive: 7.1 Ip, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 Ks, 95 pitches and his team leading fifteenth win of the season (15-12).
Girardi turned to Logan, Robertson and Soriano to finish things up (big surprise), and they responded well with 1.2 scoreless innings between the lot of them. Soriano recorded his 38th save of the season.
Eeking Out a Win
Once again, the Yankees won a game despite their offensive shortcomings. On Wednesday night, they did it with some home runs. On Thursday, they didn’t even get that. The team went 1-9 with runners in scoring position to bring their total for the series to 2-34. In fact, Everyone not named Derek Jeter went 0-32 with RISP in this series. Seems unfathomable, right? Well it happened. And the Yankees still somehow won the series. go figure. The Yankee runs scored on a sac fly by Andruw Jones in the top of the fourth (an inning where the Yankees had bases loaded and nobody out) and a bloop single following a great at bat by the Captain. That’s it and that’s all, but it was enough.
Notable Offense: RBI – Jones (32), Jeter (53), SB – A-Rod (12), 2 hits for A-Rod and Núñez
This was not a pretty series for the Yankees. They could have basically won two blowouts and a comfortable game, and came away with only two squeaked out wins. I shutter to think what will happen to this team if they continue to fail with RISP like they did in these two games. It’s hard to get too upset when the lineup includes Russell Martin in the five-hole and Steve Pearce is involved, but come on now. I hate to rag on Pearce. He’s actually doing an admirable job filling in for Teixeira, but where’s Casey McGehee? Anyway, the Yankees have a huge weekend series at home against the Rays. It is a series they really must win, since the Orioles have decided not to lose anymore. People need to stop hating on Baltimore. Everyone assumes the Rays will make the playoffs ahead of them, but they have that kind of magical feeling around them that is scary in September. They keep finding a way. At least they helped the Yankees put some distance between them and the Rays. Friday night’s opener will feature “Ace” CC Sabathia against a real ace, David Price, so we’ll know from the beginning how this series is going to go.
Featured image courtesy of: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
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