When I started this blog six seasons ago, I made a commitment to being positive no matter what happened. I was coming off reading far too many blog posts that were highly negative or gossipy, and I wanted to something different. You know, focus on the fact that baseball is a great game and the Yankees have had winning seasons (meaning, they have finish with more wins than losses) since 1993, and 2018 is shaping up to continue that pattern.
However, sometimes, it’s very difficult to keep a positive tone when there are games like tonight’s opener at Fenway. And yet, here we go…
The Yankees actually opened the scoring. Hicks led-off the game by hitting into a fielding error and moved to 2nd on Stanton’s single. Didi Gregorius hit a nice 3-run home run to kick things off. Aaron Hicks later hit a 2-out solo home run in the 2nd to give the Yankees an early lead.
And CC Sabathia didn’t have that terrible of a start. After a decent 1st inning, he got into some trouble in the 2nd by loading the bases with 2 singles and a walk. With 2 outs, he ended up walking the next batter to score the Red Sox’s first run. But then got a lucky fly out to Gardner at the foot of the Green Monster to get out of the inning. A lead-off home run in the 3rd doubled their score. With 2 outs, he fielded and then threw terribly to 1st to put runners in scoring position, but another good fly out ended that threat.
But that would be the end of Sabathia’s night. And all the message board managers will forever question the decision to pull the veteran starter at that point, perhaps preferring to allow him to go just 1 more inning. Instead, the Yankees called on one of their most reliable relievers, who has recently been decidedly less reliable, Jonathan Holder.
Holder could not find an out for anything tonight — a walk, a double, a bad fielder’s choice that scored a run, a stolen base, a 3-run homer (by the same guy as before, by the way), a double, an RBI single, and an RBI double. 7 batters, 6 runs (and responsible for the runner at 2nd), and no outs.
Chad Green immediately got 2 outs, but then had his own struggles to find that elusive 3rd out of the inning. A double scored Holder’s remaining runner, a single put runners on the corners, and another single scored the lead runner. Luis Cessa got the final batter of the inning to hit into a simple grounder at 2nd.
Cessa actually kept the Red Sox fairly under control, getting 11 outs in the middle of the game into the 8th inning. But even his outing wasn’t exactly clean. A lead-off double in the 5th scored on an RBI double. Then in the 6th, a single scored on a double, and another home run (yes, by the same guy as before). In the 8th, with 1 out, he loaded up the bases with 2 singles and a walk before handing the ball over to reliever Britton, who promptly gave up a single to score one run. But a great double play got him out of the inning.
Now, the Yankees weren’t limited to their early runs. They certainly did their best to try to chip away at the Red Sox’s power tonight. Didi Gregorius led-off the 5th with a solo home run, his 2nd homer of the night, and Giancarlo Stanton hit a 1-out solo home run in the 7th. And in the 9th, with 2 outs, Gardner hit a great triple. Hicks walked and advanced to 2nd on defensive indifference. Then Stanton hit a nice sacrifice fly to score Gardner before a grounder ended the game and the Yankees minuscule hopes for a last-minute rally.
Yankee pitchers gave up 19 hits, 6 walks, and 15 runs, and comparatively, the Yankee batters struck out 13 times, despite getting 8 hits. In fact, had it not been for the Red Sox’s mega 4th inning, it would have been a close game and still far too many runs allowed for either team to be considered a “good game”. Good games are when it’s a close and low score for both teams. It means everyone did their job.
This was not a good game. Fortunately, it’s only one game. And in the immortal words of a certain Southern icon (and yes, I realize this is ironic for a game played in New England with a team literally called “The Yankees”), “tomorrow is another day.”
Final score: 15-7 Red Sox