J.A. Happ didn’t have it, giving up a 3-run HR to J.D. Martinez in the first inning and getting knocked out in the third. The Yanks clawed back in it, but couldn’t come all the way back and lost Game 1 of the Division Series to Boston 5-4.
Masahiro Tanaka will start for the Yanks tonight vs. David Price. The Yanks have had success against Price so hopefully the Yanks will exit Boston with a split.
The hope was that Chris Sale, who has a history of owning the Yankees, would be stale Sale since he hasn’t pitched much since the All-Star break, having been on the DL twice and whose velocity has been down recently. Instead, Sale mixed his pitches well, and was hitting 95 instead of the recent 90. Sale struck out the side (with one walk in there) in the first inning.
Meanwhile, in the bottom of the first, Happ gave up that 3-run HR that just cleared the green monster.
In the third, Betts doubled off the monster, Benintendi bunted for a hit, and Happ was replaced by Chad Green. The Yankees nemesis, Steve Pearce, singled in a run. 4-0 Boston. Two flyouts advanced and scored Benintendi. 5-0 Boston.
The Yanks’ bullpen shut down Boston after that as the Yanks tried to make a late charge to steal the win away from the Red Sox.
But the rookies who have helped so much this year, Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres, along with veteran Giancarlo Stanton, who is in his first playoff series, couldn’t come up with the big hits when needed.
In the fourth, Aaron Hicks singled but had to be pulled from the game due to a tight hamstring. We’ll have to see about his availability for the rest of the series. A huge blow. Gardner can provide the D, but not the power that Hicks can provide.
With two on and two out in the fourth, Andujar struck out. The Yanks struck out 13x in the game.
The Yanks finally broke through in the sixth. Judge singled, and after a forceout, Stanton singled, which knocked Sale out of the game. Voit singled in a run to make it 5-1. Didi grounded into a forceout, runner scoring. 5-2. Didi moved up on a WP. Andujar and Sanchez both walked to load the bases, but Torres struck out.
Maybe the young Torres (21) got too anxious. He swung at the first pitch out of the zone, took three balls, but that 3-1 pitch he took for strike two looked like a pitch he should have swung at and crushed. Then he fished on a breaking pitch which would have been ball four and struck out.
The Yanks probably lost the game for good in the seventh, when they loaded the bases with no one out and only got one run out of it. McCutchen and Judge started it off with singles, and after a pitching change, both moved up on a WP. Gardner walked to load the bases.
But Stanton, who went 1 for 5 with 4 strikeouts, struck out. That may have been THE at bat of the ball game.
A-Rod got criticized often for not coming up big in key moments of the postseason (at least until 2009, and even in retirement he still gets criticized, despite 2009, for it today). Yankee fans are hoping Stanton isn’t another “A-Rod” in this regard.
But last night didn’t help.
The fact that Stanton couldn’t get his bat on the ball, even for a SF there, played a major factor in costing the Yanks the game.
Voit grounded into a force out, barely beating out the DP attempt, to make it 5-3. Didi grounded out to end the inning.
But the Yanks needed more there. They couldn’t load the bases with no one out and come away with just one run. That inning was the difference and cost the Yanks the game.
In the ninth, Judge homered to lead off the inning, but Kimbrel bounced back with three straight strikeouts (including Stanton, who NEVER TOOK THE BAT OFF HIS SHOULDER) to end the game. Voit striking out to end it.
Big one for the Yanks tonight. Get out of Boston with the split. Hopefully Tanaka is on.
And hopefully, the Yanks’ situational hitting improves. Don’t worry about the green monster. Use the whole field.
Judge 3 hits, solo HR.
Stanton 1 for 5, struck out 4 times
Voit 2 hits, 2 RBI.
Happ (L) 2+ IP, 5 R, 4 H, 1 W, 2 K. Gave up 3-run HR
Green 2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 W, 0 K.
Lynn 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 2 K.
Britton 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K
Robertson 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.
In other series, Milwaukee shut out Colorado 4-0 and is up 2 games to 0.
The Dodgers blanked the Braves, 3-0, and are up 2 games to 0.
Houston beat Cleveland behind 4 HR, 7-2, and are up 1-0.
By the way, did you see who the Brewers’ catcher is? Erik Kratz, who started the year being the backup to Kyle Higashioka at SWB. Kratz, who is 38, played in four games for the Yanks in 2017, going 2 for 2 with a double and 2 RBI. He started this year at SWB. On May 25 of this year, the Yanks traded him to Milwaukee for a player to be named later (it turned out to be Wendell Rijo). In 67 games for the Brewers, Kratz hit .236-6-23, OPS+ 69. Six walks, 40 strikeouts.