Leading up to this one, I would have guaranteed the Red Sox would be six games up in the division at the conclusion of Saturday night’s game. Unfortunately for me, that prediction did not age well as the Red Sox dropped the second game of this series in a rather frustrating fashion. Chris Sale, making his 25th start of 2017, was matched up against the longest tenured Yankee, CC Sabathia. Sale was not bad, but that means he wasn’t great either. In the seven innings he pitch, the lefty surrendered four earned runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out nine. Two of those hits were home runs, and that is where the Yankees scored all their runs. Tyler Austin took Sale deep for two runs in the second, and Todd Frazier just sneaked one over the Monster in the sixth. We were so close to seeing Sale notch another quality start, but that Frazier home run really sucked. Although he picked up his fifth loss, Sale did reach the 250 strikeout mark for the season as well. With all those K’s. Sale joins both Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez as the only pitchers to record 250 or more K’s in 25 or fewer starts in a single season. Elite company for sure for Chris Sale. One thing I want to bring up about Sale though is how up and down he has been in August. In two road starts at Tampa and New York, Sale has been fantastic, allowing a total of one earned run over fifteen innings pitched. But, while pitching at Fenway Park this month, Sale has been well below average, allowing eleven earned runs in only twelve innings pitched. I don’t know if it’s anything to be concerned about, but Sale has been known to pitch worse as the season gets into the later stages.
After Sale exited, the bullpen did much better than they did on Friday night. Matt Barnes bounced back with a scoreless eighth inning, then Heath Hembree, Robby Scott, and Joe Kelly each got an out in the ninth. It’s too bad the offense couldn’t pick them up, but the bullpen did do their job in keeping the Red Sox in the game.
Offensively, CC Sabathia pretty much had his way with the Red Sox lineup. It wasn’t until the fifth when the Red Sox scored their first runs of the game. Other than that though, I was pretty surprised with what I saw out of Sabathia, who is way past his prime. The first run of the game came off the bat of Sandy Leon, who drove in Xander Bogaerts on an RBI ground out. Jackie Bradley Jr. then drove in Rafael Devers on an RBI single in the same inning. Later on in the seventh, Rafael Devers, playing in his 20th big league game, mashed his eighth home run of the season right over the Red Sox bullpen.
This cut the Yankees lead to one, and Xander Bogaerts had the chance to give his team the lead in the eighth. With the bases loaded and two outs, Bogaerts looked awful against David Robertson, striking out on three pitches. They had another chance to at least tie the game in the ninth, after Sandy Leon reached on a strikeout. Brock Holt came in to pinch run, and he tried to steal second. I don’t know why, but trying to steal on a 2-0 count seems pretty dumb. Betances was struggling to find the strike zone in that at bat and that caught stealing took any momentum away. The fact remains, the Red Sox are awful on the bases, making more outs than any other team. It did not COST them this game, but still, it hurt.
Rick Porcello is on the mound this afternoon against new Yankee Sonny Gray. Time to take this series and go up by five games.
70 down, 25 to go.