Well, that helped narrow things a bit. The Yankees have the luxury of being in the same division with the lowest ranked division leader in the AL. All that means is that no one has run away with the AL East just yet (unlike a few other divisions across the league). In other words, the postseason race is still very much on, and the Yankees are very much in it.
Luis Severino was just spectacular once again in tonight’s start, throwing just 87 pitches in his 6 innings, giving up just 2 hits and a lone unearned run, and solidly striking out 9 Boston batters. In fact, he didn’t give up that run until his final inning. Two fielding errors allowed 2 runners to reach base safely and into scoring position before a passed ball scored the lead runner. In other words, it was a momentary slip in the defense that allowed a run to score and not Severino’s great night.
Now, the Yankees gave Severino enough run support that he didn’t have to push himself tonight. Chase Headley got things started with a lead-off solo home run in the 3rd. Then Matt Holliday and Todd Frazier hit back-to-back solo home runs in the 4th to give the Yankees a solid lead.
Part of the reason this was rather impressive is that the Red Sox had their almost unstoppable ace starter (who’s regularly in the conversation when it comes to AL Cy Young candidates this year), but he clearly was having a bad night and gave the Yankees plenty of room to make a dent against him. The Red Sox also pulled him in the 5th inning after he’d racked up 109 pitches already before calling on 6 relievers to try to stop the Yankees. It didn’t really work in the long run.
Now, with the Red Sox barely on the board in the 6th, the Yankees answered back in the bottom of that inning. Holliday led-off by working a walk, and 1-out later, the Red Sox dug back into their bullpen for a new reliever. Ellsbury singled and Gardner walked to load up the bases, and yet another reliever was called out. After another strikeout and those loaded bases, Gary Sanchez stepped up to the plate. He hit the ball and it was initially called a ground out in the relay, but the Yankees challenged the timing of the play. And then won. And that made all the difference.
As a result of Sanchez’s awarded single, Holliday scored a run, and the bases were still loaded. So Starlin Castro hit a solid double that cleared the bases and just solidified the Yankees’ eventual victory. Only to be followed by Aaron Judge’s monster 2-run home run (his 38th of the season) deep into the left field seats.
After Severino left the game with a rather secure lead, the Yankees turned to their bull pen for the final third of the game. First up was Tommy Kahnle, who struggled at first, giving up a walk and single before buckling down and getting his 3 needed outs. Chasen Shreve then breezed through the 8th inning in just 13 pitches.
Giovanni Gallegos had some issues of his own in the 9th. A lead-off single moved to 2nd on a wild pitch before Gallegos got 2 outs. A walk allowed another base runner before a single scored a run for the Red Sox. Gallegos got final batter swinging at an ironically high slider.
To be perfectly fair, both pitching staff got 28 strikeouts, but the Yankee batters got 13 total hits off Boston pitchers. But if we’re being frank here, it was the 4 total home runs by Yankee batters that really did the most damage.
Final score: 9-2 Yankees, Yankees win series 3-1
Injury news: on a long catch in yesterday’s game, Aaron Hicks strained his oblique. He’s just off the DL for another oblique injury, but this one is on the opposite side and seems quite a bit less severe. So I doubt he’ll be out of the lineup for long.
In trivia news: tonight’s starter Luis Severino threw his 200th strikeout this season, making him the 2nd Yankee to throw 200+ strikeouts in a single season age 23 and under. The only other Yankee pitcher to do so that young was Al Downing in 1964, and no other pitcher has done this since 2009 (Felix Hernandez, Seattle).
And the Yankees and Red Sox decided to team up today for a final show of support for the people of Texas just now beginning to dry out and recover from Hurricane Harvey. Both teams signed a big Texas flag that team managers Girardi and Farrell unfurled at home plate before tonight’s game, and both teams set up online auction sites to allow fans to bid on special products in which all proceeds will go to relief efforts in Texas.
The Yankees are selling game-used jerseys, a signed home plate, autographed caps, and more. (As of this post, the Aaron Judge game-used jersey is currently sitting at over $9000, but there are plenty of signed caps from the stellar bullpen guys still sitting at the minimum bid of $100 for any interested fans.) The Red Sox‘s online site has similar items for their own fans. The auction closes in a week (September 10) to ensure all profits make it to the recipients soon to begin recovery efforts.
Boston and New York both understand the national response and support from the entire baseball community after their own tragedies — 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing, and Hurricane Sandy hit both areas hard. So it is a natural response to stand with the hard-hit areas after Hurricane Harvey and do what we can to help them come back stronger than ever. Just as the country did for Boston and New York during their time of need and healing. Our continued thoughts and prayers are with those just beginning to recover from the storm and its massive flooding.