The Yankees head into this 4-game weekend series against the division leading Boston Red Sox with every intention to reduce the 5 1/2 game their rivals had over them. Now, every game between the rivals is always a nail-biter, even when both teams are terrible. But when you add in the end of the season push, where both teams are likely to end up in the postseason, it creates a big drama.
CC Sabathia threw another stellar game, setting himself up for the 5th consecutive win against the Red Sox (tying former Yankee Mike Mussina for the honor, since they created divisions in the league in 1969). Sabathia threw 102 pitches in his 6 innings, giving up just 4 hits and 1 run, but walking 5 Boston batters, striking out 6.
In the 3rd, the lead-off batter singled and ended up at 3rd on the next batter’s single. The next guy got a little greedy and dove in for 2 bases getting tagged out. Originally, he was called safe, but a Yankees’ challenge overturned the call for the first out of the inning. After giving up a walk, a ground out at 2nd still scored the Red Sox’s first run. In a bit of turnabout, the call was initially called it a double play (at 2nd and 1st), but the Red Sox challenged and the call was ruled safe at 2nd but out at 1st. Despite another allowed walk, the Yankees got out of the inning and jam with a ground out.
After a flawless 7th inning, David Robertson got into a bit of a dramatic situation in the 8th thanks to a lead-off walk and a fielding error, but then he pitched his way out of the drama, as usual. Dellin Betances, as usual, kicked the drama up to a whole other level in the 9th inning, quickly loading up the bases with a walk and 2 hit-by-pitches. After a strikeout, he gave up a walk to scored the Red Sox’s 2nd run, before an infield fly was called for out #2 and a long fly ball caught by Gardner in left field ended the jam and drama.
Meanwhile, the Yankees chipped away progressively at the Red Sox. With 2 outs in the 3rd, Gary Sanchez powered a solo home run into the right field seats to tie up the game. In the 5th, Gardner hit a 1-out single, moved to 3rd on Hicks’ single, and then scored on Sanchez’s single. After another out, Castro’s single loaded the bases, but a pop-up ended that hope to increase their lead.
Then in the 6th, Headley led-off the inning with a double and then scored as part of Greg Bird’s big 2-run home run. Todd Frazier then singled, and with no outs in the inning, the Red Sox’s starter called it a night. Frazier advanced to 2nd on Hick’s 1-out single and then scored on Didi Gregorius’ 2-out single. Another new reliever closed that inning out, but the Yankees kept charging. And in the 7th, Judge led-off with walk and sped all the way to 3rd on Headley’s single before scoring on Bird’s single.
Final score: 6-2 Yankees
In anticipation of the suspensions to be served by both catchers (Sanchez and Romine, though we are waiting on the results of their appeals), the Yankees looked at adding another back-up to further their depth chart in that spot. So they signed Erik Kratz, a veteran catcher, from the Indians. Kratz has played with many teams on the league as their back-up catcher, a role he’s clearly comfortable with.
The appeals will be heard tomorrow with decisions coming shortly thereafter. Also, the September call-ups begin tomorrow. The Yankees will expand their active roster from 25 to 40, so expect to see some familiar faces back in the Bronx this weekend.