“Ugly.” That word got thrown around first tonight somewhere in the 2nd inning. You know that things aren’t really going to get better if you’re using that word so early in the game. And it certainly didn’t.
The Yankees and Red Sox kick off their rivalry this year in this “ugly” game. Oddly, both teams sent up their ace pitchers (who finished 2nd and 3rd for the AL Cy Young Award last year), and they both gave up 8 total hits over their outings. So, I guess we can say safely that the biggest difference tonight was all about the defense. Luis Severino threw 94 pitches in 5 innings, and gave up 5 runs along the way.
Things started off tolerably. In the 1st, Severino gave up a double, a walk, and an RBI single to get the Red Sox on the board. But then it kind of got “ugly”. In the 2nd, a lead-off single and a 1-out single scored on a big triple. That runner then scored on a single to add more to their lead. An obvious example of the defensive issues came in this inning with a bad throwing error to try to get the runner stealing 2nd. And in the 4th, a 1-out walk moved to 3rd on a big double and then scored on a sacrifice fly.
Despite those 8 hits, the Red Sox were able to leave most of those runners stranded on the bases. The only run the Yankees scored had to leave the park to count. So that fell to Aaron Judge in the 5th inning with a huge 2-out solo home run straight up the middle 444 feet.
Tommy Kahnle came in to the game in the 6th inning, but thanks to a bit of sloppy defense and some poorly placed pitches, his struggles were even more drastic. With 1 out, he loaded the bases with a double and 2 walks. Another double scored 2 runners, and a sacrifice fly scored another. After giving up another walk, the Yankees went back to their bullpen. Chasen Shreve ran into his own issues, hitting his first batter to load up the bases again. A fielding error allowed all runners to be safe and another run to score, and a walk moved up everyone for another scored run. And then it would be an 83 mph splitter down the middle that would end up in the Green Monster seats for a grand slam to cap off their night.
Shreve had a much better 7th inning, getting 3 solid strikeouts. That strong comeback was all the momentum Luis Cessa needed to breeze his way through the 8th in just 12 pitches. The Yankees were hitting tonight, just not enough and not terribly well. It’s also worth noting that of the 14 scored runs, only 8 of them were earned thanks to all those errors.
Final score: 14-1 Red Sox
Injury update: in some much-needed good new today, the Yankees sent Aaron Hicks to his rehab assignment, joining AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. His outing went well, and Hicks felt like his old self. If things continue to go well, he could join the Yankees in Detroit for that series this weekend.
Roster moves: the Yankees signed minor leaguer Shane Robinson to a professional contract, putting him in tonight’s game, starting in center field and getting a solid hit tonight. To make room for him on the roster, they designated Jace Peterson for assignment.
In little bit of side news: the Yankees and Mets made a minor league trade of outfielders that also has legacy undertones. The Yankees sent Kendall Coleman to the Mets, and the Mets sent the Yankees L.J. Mazzilli. And if you’re wondering why that sounds familiar, it’s because he’s Lee Mazzilli’s son.
And if that name sounds familiar: Lee Mazzilli (the dad) played mostly for the Mets in his 14 year career and was part of the 1986 World Series team. He also played about half the 1982 season with the Yankees. He later was a coach with the Yankees in 2000-2003, served as the Orioles manager in 2004-2005, and then came back to the Yankees in 2006 before becoming a Special Advisor to the Yankees. His oldest daughter Lacey also is in Yankee Universe as part of the on-air talent for Yankees On Demand, which films special segments for the network and in-house production.
In other words, the Yankees just got themselves another Mazzilli. How L.J. develops is too early to say, but for now, it’s a fun trivia moment for long-time Yankee fans.