The Yankees completed a doubleheader sweep of the Red Sox with a tense, four-hour, 6-4 victory Saturday night. Mike Tauchman had the go-ahead hit while Gleyber Torres paced the offense with three extra-base hits in a classic bullpen game. The Yankees are now 71-39 and have the best record in the AL.
Here are Bobby’s takeaways from this afternoon … and here’s the one’s for tonight
1. Gleyber Torres is inching towards superstardom
Opposing GMs were reportedly asking for Gleyber Torres in trade talks earlier this week, which is officially laughable. He is a 22-year-old middle infielder who has already made two All-Star Games and is well on pace to becoming the most important player in the Bronx.
Tonight, he was a one-man wrecking crew for much of the game. With the Yankees trailing 2-0 to Brian Johnson and the Sox, Torres got to the soft-tossing lefty, who had previously narrowly escaped trouble.
The homer looked like somewhat like a very high flyout, but it carried. A true towering shot for the Yankees’ shortstop of the evening.
In the fifth inning, he got to face another lefty, Josh Taylor, and obliterated a 1-2 fastball that was up and in for another homer, one that was a carbon copy of his grand slam last night.
And then Torres started the winning rally in the seventh inning by just missing a home run to right field. He’d settle for a double and score a run in the victory.
2. Hicks’ Injury is Ominous
Ugh.Aaron Hicks injured his elbow while making a throw to third base in the sixth inning. It was a perfect throw, but he appeared to grimace afterward. He’ll go for an MRI tomorrow and was removed from the game for a pinch hitter two innings later (he did work a walk in-between). It sounds bad.
With Edwin Encarnacion suffering a wrist fracture in Game 1 of the doubleheader, that could mean two starters lost in one day. Add that to Luke Voit, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez, and the Yankees have some serious bats missing at the moment. Didi Gregorius has also been out for three straight games.
Encarnacion said that he was told 3-5 weeks for his potential return, though doctors will re-evaluate in 7-10 days. It took Judge 48 days to return from a similar injury last year, though that was on the slow-end of rehabs.
With no August waiver deadline, the Yankees are the Yankees at this point. They can call up players like Clint Frazier or Thairo Estrada to fill spots, but they’re still missing a lot right now. There are two months to get healthy, or stay healthy for the guys still in the lineup.
3. Following Chad Green isn’t always easy
The Yankees are now 10-0 in opener games this season. However, they can thank their offense for that, as the Bombers have scored at least four runs in each of those games and six or more in all but three.
Chad Green went 1-2-3 in the first inning on 18 pitches before walking J.D. Martinez, and Nestor Cortes Jr. held Martinez at first. However, he’d give up two runs an inning later on a two-run bomb by Rafael Devers.
Chance Adams took over in the fourth and nearly escaped a second-and-third, no-out jam of his own making before a two-out single from Mookie Betts gave Boston back the lead. He’d settle down and was saved by a line drive double play in the fifth.
The Sox have seen both of these guys recently enough and you have to wonder if Cortes’ soft-tossing act will work his second time through the league. They’re going to need more of him as the rotation is thin at the moment.
4. The Yankees grinded the Red Sox out of the division chase
I’d venture to say Boston was already done in the division, but the seventh inning and this series as a whole put a cap on it.
The Sox went to their best reliever of late, Matt Barnes, with a 4-4 tie in the seventh and the Yankees ground him to a pulp. Torres led off with a single before an injured Aaron Hicks walked. The Gio Urshela fouled off a half-dozen pitches before getting a walk for himself.
After a Cameron Maybin strikeout, it was Mike Tauchman’s turn. Working the count to 2-1, he beat the shift on the left side for the winning single.
They basically did the same thing in the third inning, just exchanging walks for singles after Torres’ first homer. Hicks and Urshela got hits ahead of an eight-pitch AB for Maybin, who smacked a two-run double.
This is what the Yankees have done to the Red Sox all year. They seem to have had one big inning in every game against the Sox, working 30+ pitches from the pitcher and getting contributions from everyone. It’s why they’ve clinched the season series with a 10-4 record against Boston.
5. The Yankees’ bullpen is still better than everyone else’s bullpen
Aaron Boone went to his big four in order starting in the sixth inning and it worked like a charm. Adam Ottavino worked out of a mini jam to get Mookie Betts to hit a harmless flyout before Tommy Kahnle continued his recent dominance with a one-walk, one-strikeout inning.
Zack Britton had a bit of an adventure, working around two walks to get Rafael Devers to strike out with the bases loaded in the eighth. That outing followed two vintage, groundball-heavy innings for Britton on Wednesday and Friday, so you can excuse a close call.
And then Chapman walked Martinez (who went 1-for-1 with four walks) but had his primo fastball, touching 102 en route to a fairly easy save.
They’re clearly tired — Kahnle, Britton and Chapman have pitched in 3-of-4 after getting worked hard all year — but they’re still an elite group.
On Sunday night, the Yankees will go for a four-game sweep of the 13.5-back Sox as J.A. Happ (8-6, 5.19 ERA) takes on David Price (7-4, 3.86) in the battle of dads coming off the paternity lists. It’ll be a 7:05 p.m. start on ESPN.