Friday was a disaster, right? I know I’ve made that point clear, but I want to bring it up again because I, along with a whole lot of other people, was interested to see how the Red Sox would respond to that loss. If they get swept, it’s not a big deal, but that would not have been great. Instead of that possibility, this team ends up taking the series from the Yankees, separating themselves by 5.5 games.
To get there, Chris Sale was at the helm for this primetime matchup. As he usually is, Sale was outstanding. The only run he gave up should not have even been charged to him, but it is what it is. The lefty scattered four hits over seven complete innings, surrendering one earned run while walking two and striking out twelve. That only run came across in the fifth. With Chase Headley on first with two outs, Austin Romine hit what looked like a deep pop up to Mookie Betts in right. Instead of making the catch, which did look routine, Mookie missed it, as the ball hit the heel of his glove and rolled away from him. This allowed Headley to score and that tied the game at one. After that mishap, Sale maintained the shutout and exited after finishing the seventh with his twelfth strikeout, which just so happened to be on his 114th pitch, a 99 MPH fastball. In his 24 starts this season, Sale has struck out 10 or more 16 times, three shy of the record Pedro Martinez set in 1999.
After Sale departed, things got messy. Matt Barnes, who has rather bad numbers pitching away from Fenway Park, was inserted into the game to the start the eighth. He allowed three of the first four hitters he faced to reach, loading the bases. Todd Frazier then hit a sacrifice fly, driving in the then go-ahead run. Robby Scott would come in to end the inning by striking out Didi Gregorius. The bottom of the ninth is where things really got weird, with Addison Reed pitching. Reed walked Chase Headley to start the inning, got Ronald Torreyes out on a sac bunt, then prepared to face Jacoby Ellsbury with one out. I can’t remember how this went specifically, but I believe John Farrell tried to make a pitching change after Reed threw a ball to Ellsbury.
Since Carl Willis had already made a mound visit in the inning, Farrell was sent back to his dugout. Obviosuly, this wasn’t a great look and you could tell it rattled Addison Reed with the way he reacted to being taken out after he got Ellsbury out.
Craig Kimbrel, who should have come in much earlier, came in to finish the ninth, and got the Yankees in order in the tenth as well, picking up his fourth win.
If the Red Sox ended up losing this game, John Farrell would have taken a lot of heat. I mean, he still will, but there should be less since he got bailed out again.
Offensively, the Red Sox did not give their ace that much run support. Jordan Montgomery wasn’t great, but he did surrender only one run. They were hitting the ball hard off the rookie, but most of them resulted in outs. That one run came in the fifth, when Jackie Bradley Jr. drove in Brock Holt on an RBI single. The bats would go quiet until the ninth, when the Red Sox needed a run to tie the game, and that’s what happened. Aroldis Chapman was pitching with one out in the ninth as Rafael Devers stepped up to the plate for his second AB of the game. On a 1-2 pitch, Devers took the Yankees closer deep, tying the game with his fourth career home run.
Chapman got out of the ninth without giving up the go-ahead run, but Tommy Kahnle wasn’t much better in the tenth. The former White Sox reliever loaded the bases after getting the first out, making way for Andrew Benintendi. The less talked about rookie who continues to get talked about more singled to right, allowing Jackie Bradley Jr. to score the eventual winning run.
It was a crazy Sunday night, and that’s the way Red Sox Yankees should feel with this division race. The Red Sox did their job, leaving with a bigger lead than they had going into The Bronx on Friday. After a make-up game against the Yankees and a two-game series against the Cardinals, the Yankees come right back into our lives with a three game series next weekend.
67 down, ? to go.