Yankees impotent with runners on, bullpen hands one to Sox


The Yankees, despite scoring six runs and pounding out twelve hits, including two home runs, handed a win to the Red Sox as three successive relievers gave up two runs each, pushing the Bombers back to five behind Boston.

The Yankees would be hard-pressed to think they could win any ballgame in which they strand fourteen runners on base and go 1-11 with runners in scoring position. And they might be equally challenged to believe a good portion of their vaunted bullpen would implode on the same night.

But that’s precisely what happened in Boston last night as the team took a 9-6 pounding from the Red Sox, who went 5-9 with RISP.

The Red Sox pitching held up enough to earn a decisive win, largely by setting down Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez five times with men in scoring position with no damage done.

Jordan Montgomery pitched well enough to lose as the Red Sox set the tone of the game in the second inning when their version of last year’s Gary Sanchez, Rafael Devers, cracked a two-run shot over the Green Monster giving the Sox a lead they rarely relinquish.

Remove that one pitch, a rare hanging curveball in the zone, from Montgomery’s performance, and the rookie’s line allowing one earned run over five innings looks much better. The only trouble with that, of course, is the game is not played with do-overs.

Bullpen Mulligan

The bullpen tandem of Chad Green, Tommy Kahnle, and the Mystery Man, Aroldis Chapman were all ineffective, each surrendering two runs as the Sox put the game away in the late innings. But with the exception of Chapman, the bullpen deserves a mulligan on this one when compared to the job it’s been doing for the Yankees overall.

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The loss puts the Yankees in desperation mode to win both of the next two games if they intend to gain any ground on the Red Sox in this series. Unfortunately, they’ll need to beat Chris Sale in one of those two games.

The Wild Card top spot remains firmly in their hands, as they enter play today with a 3.5 game lead over the Angels and Twins. But any hopes of winning the division are rapidly declining if they can’t beat the Sox head to head.

Yankees See Help On The Way

There’s better news on the rehab front. Starlin Castro played in his first game with the Triple-A Railriders last night and told the Times Leader:

"“I think the last time I took it quick. We did it, like, too quick, but now I’m taking my time. I felt 100 percent and I did my bases and did everything, and now I’m ready to play.”"

On another injury front, Greg Bird, who was also in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lineup, smashed two home runs last night as his comeback appears to be taking the fast track. Joe Girardi, however, remains cautiously optimistic about anything having to do with Bird, telling George King of the New York Post:

"“It’s really hard to say,” he said. “For Greg Bird, just because he hasn’t played a lot in the last two years, it is hard to say how long it might take him to get going. Sometimes I feel young guys in those situations can get going quicker than an older player.”"

In a bit of surprising news, the Post is also reporting that Matt Holliday is on his way to the Yankees, sooner rather than later. Previous reports were indicating that Holliday’s season, as well as his career with the Yankees, might be finished.

Next: AL East: 25 years as baseball's best division

Still, the task at hand is for the team to beat the Red Sox. Because after all, it’s not just a matter of winning the AL East, it’s also about establishing that can beat the Sox, period.

And one way or another, the Yankee’s road to the World Series is likely to lead through Boston when the Playoffs begin in early October.

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