The Yankees salvaged a win out of a dreadful four-game series in Boston as they defeated the Red Sox, 9-6. Domingo German earned his 13th win, tying the MLB lead, while Austin Romine, Didi Gregorius and Gio Urshela took Chris Sale out.
Here are the takeaways:
1. Domingo German is the Yankees’ 2019 ace until proven otherwise
In another game, in another context, giving up three runs in 5 1/3 innings would be a poor outing. After the last 10 days for the Yankees, German’s start on Sunday Night Baseball was a godsend as he played stopper in Boston.
German had some of his best stuff early and it showed in his final numbers. He got nine strikeouts, tying a season-high, and got 11 swings and misses, flummoxing batters on his curveball (which got 5 whiffs).
The Red Sox actually hit the ball hard against him (94.5 mph avg. exit velocity) and punished a few mistakes, namely a two-run homer by Andrew Benintendi and a double off the monster by Xander Bogaerts. Still, German got big outs when he needed.
His third time through the order is typically a struggle and was against this evening as Rafael Devers led off the sixth with a single and Bogaerts got the aforementioned double. That set up a hard-hit grounder by J.D. Martinez. It’s hard to blame Aaron Boone for pushing German — he finished with 77 pitches and just one walk — though he had most of the bullpen fresh.
2. The three swings that felled Chris Sale
Gimme three swings, gimme three swings Chris Sale, gimme three swings at the plate. Gimme three swings and you’ll never throw a pitch no more.
It actually took more than three swings to beat Chris Sale — the Bombers waited him out and set themselves up for success — but it was three well-hit balls that knocked him out of the game and handed him his 10th loss of the season.
First up, Austin Romine. After Cameron Maybin walked in the third inning, Romine jumped on an 87-mph changeup left over the middle of the plate and had the hardest/farthest hit ball of his career
That was 111.4 mph and went a projected 446 feet. No, Gary Sanchez didn’t come off the IL unexpectedly. Starter Romine seems like a different (green) monster entirely.
An inning later, Luke Voit walked with one out and brought up Didi Gregorius. Sale had held LHBs to a .247/.295/.342 line this year with zero home runs before Gregorius took him deep on a hanging slider.
The Yankees left men in scoring position in both the fourth and fifth, but Gio Urshela wouldn’t let them down that again in the sixth. Again, a walk augured Sale’s doom, this time to Didi on four pitches. Urshela got a slider over the heart of the plate on 2-1 and didn’t let Sale off the hook.
Sale finished with six runs — five hits, three BBs and seven Ks — in 5 1/3 innings and took his third loss to the Yankees in three attempts this year.
3. Red Sox’s defense pads Yankees’ lead
I firmly believe that it’s better to be lucky than good and that one has to put themselves into a position to be lucky. In the seventh and eighth innings, the Yankees put themselves into position to get lucky and voila, they benefitted from some Boston miscues.
Against rookie Dawinzon Hernandez in the seventh, Aaron Hicks walked and Edwin Encarnacion laced a double. The Sox intentionally walked Luke Voit to get to Gregorius and, you know what, it worked … mostly. Gregorius hit a short fly to Jackie Bradley Jr. and it was too short to score Hicks until Bradley Jr. errantly threw the ball into the stands, scoring two runs. Bogaerts was motioning him to throw to first, but there was no one there. Lol.
And then in the eighth, Maybin hit a booming double to the triangle in center, advanced on a grounder and scored on a wild pitch by Marcus Walden. That made it 9-4 and put the game ostensibly out of reach.
4. And the bullpen was shaky yet held on
Tommy Kahnle relieved German and got two quick outs to end the sixth before allowing a shift-beating single in the seventh. He struck out two in the outing.
Adam Ottavino allowed Kahnle’s run to score on a single and sacrifice fly bookending a Gregorius error. He also allowed a double to Devers — his struggles with lefties continued — but got a harmless flyout by Bogaerts.
Zack Britton’s eighth inning was an adventure, though no runs scored. When you come in with a five-run lead, the one thing you can’t do is start walking people. Well, it took five pitches to walk Martinez and Benintendi soon singled. Two batters later, he walked Sam Travis to load the bases.
Britton got Bradley to strike out and finished the inning with a grounder, but there’s no way the tying run should have been on deck. Ugh.
Meanwhile, What’s Wrong with Aroldis Chapman month continued as he allowed two runs after coming in with a five-run lead. It was ugly as he averaged just 97 mph on his fastball, but he kept the Yankees in front after 27 outs, so you can’t fuss too much.
- Aaron Judge went 0-for-5 with three looking strikeouts. At least one of the looking strikeouts was from a couple of outside pitches being called strikes, but he also needs to be more aggressive.
- Encarnacion hit two booming hits off the Monster. Good stuff.
- Voit walked twice while Urshela (two doubles) and Maybin (one 2B) had two hits each. Maybin has seemingly picked up where he left off in June.
- Gleyber Torres went 0-for-4 and made an error, though he hit a couple of balls on the nose. One of those nights.
The Yankees get a much-needed day off Monday before resuming play at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday against the D-Backs. It’ll be J.A. Happ (8-5, 5.23 ERA) against RHP Taylor Clarke (3-3, 6.10) at 7:05 p.m. Until then, the Bombers get to enjoy a victory at Fenway Park.