What a ridiculous series, but hey, the results couldn’t have been better for the Yankees. They defeated the Red Sox 12-8 on Sunday
morning afternoon, completing the 2 game sweep. They’re 6-1 against Boston this year and have a 12 game lead over the Sox in the loss column. The Yanks are 54-28 (.659) and have a 7.5 lead right now. It will either be 7 or 8 depending on what happens in Tampa. In either case, this is great. Things are coming up Yankees so far in 2019, despite the many challenges.
This was another long game (4 hours and 24 minutes) and all told, it was almost 9 hours of baseball for 18 innings in London. Let’s not waste any more time, in other words, and get right to it.
1. Stephen Tarpley Did Not Have It: After a scoreless top of the 1st, Stephen Tarpley made his first MLB start. After retiring Mookie Betts on a ground out, Rafael Devers hit a single. All hell broke loose after that:
3 homers in 4 batters, and Tarpley was chased from the game with this line: 2.0 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 3 HR. Not good! A lot of people were saying that breaking balls aren’t moving as well in London and I wish I could look that up, but Statcast isn’t reliable in London. In any case, this was odd for Tarpley. Check this out, per YES’ James Smyth:
2. Fightin’ Spirit: Even down 4-0 right away, it just never feels like the Yanks are out of a game. It happened the other day, too, when Paxton put the Yanks in a quick 5-0. You just know they’re going to put up a fight.
Today, they answered back right away in the second. Encarnación walked (more on him in a moment), Didi hit a single, and Gleyber walked and the Yankees were in business with the bases loaded and nobody out. A run-scoring force out and a single from Gardner cut the lead to 4-2, but Rodriguez kept it at that. A bit frustrating not to get more out of that inning, but I don’t think they regret it too much. Nice job by the Yankees to immediately answer, as it feels like they always do this year.
Final line: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K. I’ll take that, Luis. I’ll take that.
3. The Offense Comes Alive: That sure was a fun top of the 7th, huh? The Yankees were stymied all day by Eduardo Rodriquez despite getting some traffic on the base paths, but once they got to the Boston pen, they finally did some serious damage. The Yankees sent 15 — 15!!!! — batters to the plate in the 7th. 15 batters! They scored 9 runs. A lot went on here, and none of it was home runs. It was good stuff, and conveniently for me, there’s video of all of the runs. Check this out:
4. Cessa, Ottavino, and Kahnle Do the Job: Luis Cessa entered the game in the bottom of the 2nd in relief of Tarpley, and he was the stabilizing force for the Yanks on the mound. Just like we all drew it up, right? The Yankees were down 4-0 by the time he entered the game, and when he left it 4 innings later, they were down only 4-2. He held Boston in check and helped alleviate some of the bullpen stress following yesterday’s weird game.
That was followed by 2 scoreless for Adam Ottavino and Tommy Kahnle, who really struggled yesterday. Their combined line: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K. That will do, guys.
All told, after the Yankees bullpen inherited a 4-run deficit after the first inning and responded like this: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K. That’s a hell of a job by the ‘pen, and it allowed the Yankee offense to go to work and get the Yanks the lead. Very good stuff.
6. Death By Two-Out Runs: Yikes did the 8th inning get interesting. Way, way too interesting. Chance Adams came on and he wasn’t great, though he didn’t really seem to get hit all that hard. Nevertheless, the parade of 2 out runs from Boston continued. It’s infuriating. All with 2 outs (there were 2 singles in the inning before the 2nd out), Boston did this:
- Christian Vazquez single
- Jackie Bradley Jr. single
- Eduardo Nunez double
Zack Britton then came on in relief, and this happened:
- Sam Travis single
- Mookie Betts walk
- Rafael Devers groundout
All told, 4 runs all with 2 outs. Britton seemed to get squeezed in the Mookie AB and the Travis single was a weak seeing-eye grounder, but still. Very frustrating, and it meant that Chapman had to come on in the 9th, but he didn’t allow a run. Closer than it should have been, but oh well. A win is a win.
- Strike Zone: It really felt like home plate umpire Carlos Torres’ zone was huge all day, didn’t it? There were multiple at-bats for Judge where the zone was enormous (continuing a trend for him throughout his career). Another for Gary Sánchez in the 5th, where the first 5 pitchers were balls but Gary somehow didn’t walk. He ended up popping out, so that was kind of frustrating.
- Didi’s Defense: Didi made a great play to end last night’s game, and today, he made several other phenomenal plays, too. He really is such a complete player, and he’s so easy to root for. The Yankees sure did have success without him, but I don’t think there’s any doubt that the team is better with him. Didi made a fantastic, bare-handed play crossing 2nd later in the game, too, but check out this double play he initiated in the 4th:
- Encarnación is struggling: Since joining the Yankees, Encarnación has 3 home runs, but that’s about it. He was 4 for 66 coming into today, with 3 of those 4 hits leaving the yard. That amounts to a .154/.250/.436 (76 wRC+), which is definitely below expectations. He was 0-4 today but with 2 walks, so hopefully, he’s starting to see the ball better and will get back on track soon.
- The Streak is Alive: The Yankees have now hit a home run in 31 consecutive games, which is insane. It’s something like over 170 games in a row without being shut out, too. That’s good! The streak seemed in jeopardy as late as the 8th inning today, but our man Didi did this to keep it alive. What a shot. Check it out:
- Boston’s Bullpen Is Trash: Good grief is the Boston bullpen struggling. These numbers have changed a bit since this (it was in the 7th), but mostly for the worse due to the above Didi home run. This is, and I don’t know how else to say it, very bad. Almost like they should have signed Kimbrel. Oh well!
The Yankees mercifully fly out of London today and head back to New York. They’re off tomorrow but will take on the Mets at Citi Field for the first of a two-game set on Tuesday night. James Paxton (5-3, 4.34 ERA) will take on Jason Vargas (3-3, 3.66 ERA). The game will be at 7:10. You can check it out on MLB Network nationally and PIX 11 for the local broadcast. Radio, as usual, will be on 660 WFAN. Enjoy the rest of the day, everyone.