Another night, another game allowing eight-plus runs, and another blowout loss for the Red Sox on Saturday. This one came in 11-5 fashion at the hands of the Yankees once again.
Nathan Eovaldi made his fifth start of the season for Boston in this one, and he had a tough time missing Yankees bats in his first go-around at the Stadium since last season.
That being the case because over 5 1/3 innings of work, the right-hander got shelled for eight runs, all of which were earned, on nine hits and two walks to go along with just three strikeouts on the night.
The first two of those New York tallies came right away in their half of the first, when after retiring two of the first three hitters he faced, Eovaldi served up a two-run home run to Gio Urshela off a 1-0, 98 mph heater on the outer half of the plate. 2-0 Yankees.
After settling in a bit in the second and third innings, Eovaldi was again the victim of the two-run home run ball when Gary Sanchez took the fireballer deep to left off a 2-2, 90 mph splitter down the chute, which actually gave the Yankees the lead again at 4-3.
In the sixth, the long ball came back to bite Eovaldi once more. There, two straight hits from Gleyber Torres and Mike Tauchman to lead off the frame brought Clint Frazier to the plate with one out and runners in scoring position, and the Yankees outfielder took full advantage by crushing a three-run blast to right field off a first-pitch cutter to simultaneously give his side a 7-3 lead and put an end to Eovaldi’s outing.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 89 (59 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his cut-fastball 44% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing six swings-and-misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 99.3 mph with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 19 times.
Hit with his second losing decision of the year while seeing his ERA inflate to 5.93, Eovaldi will look to bounce back in his next time out, which should come against the Orioles in Baltimore on Thursday.
In relief of Eovaldi, Heath Hembree came on for Eovaldi with two outs to get in the bottom of the sixth, closed the book on the starter’s night by allowing one inherited runner to score, and sat down the final two Yankees he faced.
From there, Matt Barnes had a tough time of things in the seventh considering he yielded three runs (two earned) on one hit, one walk, and one hit batsman in the frame, while Phillips Valdez tossed a perfect ninth inning to keep his side’s deficit at eight runs. Not like it mattered much in the end, but still.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against veteran left-hander James Paxton for the Yankees, who was coming off his best start of the season thus far in his last time out against the Rays.
Down by a pair after just one inning, the Boston bats got things going in the third starting with a leadoff walk drawn by Jose Peraza.
As the lineup flipped back over, Rafael Devers moved Peraza up to third on a one-out double, and the two infielders were subsequently driven in on a two-run single off the bat of J.D. Martinez that he tried to unsuccessfully turn into a double himself.
Xander Bogaerts followed by taking Paxton 380 feet to left-center field for his fourth big fly of the season. Just like that, the Red Sox had themselves a 3-2 lead, which would actually only last 1 1/2 innings before the Yankees took this one over.
The only other offensive production the Sox were able to garner on Saturday came well after Paxton’s day had ended. In the top half of the ninth, Alex Verdugo deposited his fifth homer of 2020 433 feet deep into the right field seats, while Jose Peraza later scored off an RBI triple from Kevin Pillar.
Both run-producing hits from the pair of outfielders came off Luis Cessa, and they cut the Red Sox’ deficit down to six runs at 11-5, which would go on to be Saturday’s final score.
Some notes and observations from this loss:
From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:
From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:
From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:
Alex Verdugo’s OPS on the season is now .848. Michael Chavis’ is now .857. Both are currently riding multi-game hitting streaks.
On a night the pitching was rather dismal, Phillips Valdez continues to impress.
Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the third-game of this four-game set on Sunday night.
Right-hander Chris Mazza will make his first career start for Boston, while left-hander J.A. Happ will get the ball for New York.
Mazza, 30, will need to be recalled on Sunday, a little over two weeks after tossing 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief at Yankee Stadium in his Red Sox debut on August 1.
Happ, meanwhile, has allowed four earned runs in each of his first two starts of 2020 and was actually skipped his last time through the Yankees’ rotation. The 37-year-old veteran southpaw owns a lifetime 3.00 ERA and .676 OPS against in 25 career outings (24 starts) and 141 1/3 innings pitched against the Red Sox.
First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. eastern time on ESPN and WEEI. Red Sox looking to put an end to this six-game skid.