On a chilly Tuesday night over at Fenway Park, the 8-1 Boston Red Sox hosted the 5-5 New York Yankees for the first matchup between the two this season. On the mound, we had Chris Sale and Luis Severino, the second and third place finishers in the 2017 American League Cy Young race. To be honest, I was expecting a low scoring pitcher’s duel last night, but that’s the opposite of what we got.
In his first Fenway start of 2018, Chris Sale built on the early success he has had so far by keeping the Yankees lineup in check. The southpaw went six innings deep in this one, scattering eight hits and one run to go along with no walks and eight strikeouts. That lone run was just about the only mistake Sale made, as Yankees slugger Aaron Judge made him pay on a 1-0 fastball in the fifth inning, which Judge blasted over the center field wall. But like I said, that’s the only run Sale gave up, which is more than acceptable given the threats in the Yankees lineup. Speaking of that lineup, Sale managed to strike out new Yankee Giancarlo Stanton twice and Gary Sanchez once with this nasty slider:
When he departed after the sixth, Sale was at 87 pitches, 55 of which went for strikes. He probably would have come out for the seventh, but the Red Sox lineup put the game away in the bottom half of the inning by scoring nine times.
Instead of Sale, it was Joe Kelly who got the call for the seventh inning. First off, I dig his new walk in music.
And second, it was great to see Kelly pitch a scoreless inning. He did give up a leadoff single to Shane Robinson, but he also lowered his ERA all the way down to 8.31. Baby steps.
With the game already in hand, Brian Johnson was responsible for the last two innings of work. Making his second career relief appearance, Johnson actually got bloodied up pretty bad.
Pitching wise, he gave up a double and a walk while striking out two over the last two innings, securing his team’s ninth straight win.
Offensively, the Red Sox lineup got to Yankees ace Luis Severino early and often. Once again, Mookie Betts led off the bottom of the first inning with a double. Two batters later, Hanley Ramirez drove him in on an RBI single, putting the Red Sox on top by one. In the second, Christian Vazquez led things off with a single. Two batters later, Mookie Betts advances Vazquez to second on a single. With runners on first and second and one out, Andrew Benintendi cleared the bases on his first triple of the season, putting the Red Sox up by three. To wrap things up in the second, Hanley Ramirez knocked in his second run of the night with another single, scoring Benintendi from third and giving the Red Sox their fourth and far from last run of the night.
Fast forward to the fourth, and Hanley Ramirez is still driving in runs. This time, he did it on a sac fly to right field. With Mookie Betts already at third base, that run scored easily.
Remember how the Red Sox exploded for six runs in the eighth inning this past Sunday? Well, they kind of did the same thing last night. Except this time it was earlier in the game and they put up more runs.
With Yankees reliever Tommy Kahnle on the mound, Mookie Betts got the sixth started by ripping a double down the left field line. After back to back walks to Benintendi and Ramirez, JD Martinez found himself in an ideal situation. Down 1-2, Martinez took a 94 mile per hour fastball from Kahnle and nearly sent it out of the ballpark. Instead, the ball was slapped off the Green Monster, and two more runs came into score.
Another run and a few batters later, Mookie Betts found himself in nearly the exact same situation. Two outs, bases reloaded, with Chasen Shreve in for Kahnle. The result? Just a grand slam to put the Red Sox up by 13 runs.
Betts would finish with four hits and four RBIs in this one. In fact, the top third of the lineup did not record a single out last night. When the Red Sox have that going for them, I assume it’s going to be very hard to beat them. I mean, they’ve won nine games in a row for a reason.
Next up, David Price takes the hill against Masahiro Tanaka for the middle game later tonight. Price has been stellar so far, so I’ll be interested to see how he handles this Yankees lineup. First pitch is at 7:10 PM.