In what could potentially be the final weekend of Major League Baseball this year, the Red Sox saw their mini two-game winning streak come to a close on Friday night in a 5-1 loss at the hands of the Yankees in the Bronx.
Ryan Weber got the start for Boston in this one, and like his 2020 debut last Sunday, he was unable to make it through four full innings, instead going 3 1/3 while surrendering three runs, all of which were earned, on four hits and four walks to go along with zero strikeouts on the night.
All three runs yielded by the right-hander to the Bronx Bombers came by way of the home run ball, with Aaron Judge following up a D.J. LeMahieu leadoff single in the third with a two-run blast just barely over the wall in left field, and Gio Urshela doing nearly the same thing on a leadoff homer an inning later.
Just like that, the Red Sox’ one-run lead had turned into a two-run deficit, and Weber’s evening came to a close rather quickly after he gave up that solo shot to Urshela, walked Brett Gardner, and got Kyle Higashioka to ground into a force out at second.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 74 (43 strikes), the 29-year-old turned to his sinker more than 40% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing just one swing and miss while topping out at 90.3 mph with the pitch.
Hit with his second consecutive losing decision to start the new season, Weber’s spot in Boston’s rotation could very well be in jeopardy seeing how he has pitched seven total innings thus far without even striking out a single batter. I’m sure Sox manager Ron Roenicke will have more to say about that soon.
Anyway, in relief of Weber, right-hander Phillips Valdez got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen, escaped the bottom of the fourth unscathed, and proceeded to toss two more scoreless innings in the fifth and sixth.
From there, Austin Brice faced the minimum three hitters in the seventh thanks to an inning-ending strike ’em out, throw em’out twin killing, and Colten Brewer served up a two-run bomb to Gardner in the eighth, which put the Yankees up 5-1 and would go on to be Friday’s final score.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees left-hander Jordan Montgomery, who was making his 2020 debut for New York.
After going down in order in the first and second innings against the southpaw, Michael Chavis, fresh off a two-hit game on Thursday, led the top half of the third off by taking Montgomery deep to left field off a 1-0, 91 mph heater on the inner half of the plate for his first big fly of the season.
Back-to-back one-out singles off the bats of Jose Peraza and Kevin Pillar in the same inning made it seem as though the Sox were going to add on to their early one-run lead, but a J.D. Martinez lineout to right ended any hopes of that happening since Pillar was doubled up at first base to end the inning in disappointing fashion.
In the fourth, Chavis had a chance to do even more damage as he came to the plate with one out and the bases loaded against Montgomery, but instead of going deep for a second time, the 24-year-old grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to extinguish the threat.
Other than that, the Boston bats really never challenged the Yankees again the rest of the way, as Chad Green, Adam Ottavino, and Jonathan Holder came out of the New York bullpen and combined to toss 3 1/3 scoreless frames in relief of Montgomery.
Holder recorded the final out of the night by getting Alex Verdugo to ground out to short, and that was that as the Red Sox dropped their first game of the season against the Yankees by a final score of 5-1.
Some notes and observations from this loss:
Xander Bogaerts had a fine day at shortstop by flashing the leather and showing off his arm on Friday.
Michael Chavis’ first home run of the season traveled 410 feet.
Phillips Valdez has yet to give up a run since making his Red Sox debut on Opening Day.
From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:
From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:
Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll look to bounce back against these same Yankees on Saturday night.
Right-hander Zack Godley will be making his first start of the year for Boston, while veteran righty Masahiro Tanaka will be getting the ball got New York.
In his Red Sox debut against the Mets on Monday, the 30-year-old twirled four scoreless innings of relief. He has only made one career appearance against the Yankees in which he gave up three runs in three innings as a reliever.
Tanaka, meanwhile, will also be making his first start of the season after sustaining a concussion in an intrasquad game earlier this month. In 21 career starts against the Sox, the 31-year-old hurler owns a lifetime 5.76 ERA and .278 batting average against over 11 5 2/3 innings of work.
First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on FOX and WEEI. Red Sox looking to improve to 4-5 on the season.