The Yankees had by far their best offensive game of the season when they beat the Boston Red Sox 14-4 on Sunday Night Baseball. They had only scored 17 runs in their previous five games combined, which helped lead to the 1-4 record that they had before Sunday’s game.
The offense came to life right out of the gates with a seven-run outburst in the first inning. That first inning was highlighted by a double by Alex Rodriguez (who has been the team’s best hitter) that scored Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann, as well as back-to-back homers by Chase Headley and Stephen Drew. Here are all of the seven runs that the Yankees scored in the first inning.
In the fourth inning, the Yankees tacked on three more runs to effectively put the game out of reach. Brett Gardner hit a single to center that scored Didi Gregorius and Jacoby Ellsbury, and Mark Teixeira hit a sac fly that scored Gardner.
The Yankees scored nine earned runs (10 overall) off of Red Sox starter Clay Bucholz. He dominated in his Opening Day start but stayed true to form in being a very enigmatic pitcher. In 2013, he was one of the best starters in baseball as he made 16 starts and had 12 wins and a 1.74 ERA. However, in 2014, he was the complete opposite as he had a very high 5.34 ERA in 28 starts. Boston improved their offense in the offseason, but their rotation is filled with No. 3 starters.
Masahiro Tanaka had his second start of the season and his stats were better than his start on Opening Day. Tanaka pitched five innings and allowed three earned runs, four hits and three walks. He was able to pitch one more inning and allow one fewer hit and earned run than he did in his first start of the season. Tanaka is still figuring out how to pitch while throwing fewer four-seam fastballs, but he could be better in his next start as he will be facing a weaker Tampa Bay Rays lineup.
Tanaka was able to strikeout Ryan Hanigan and Mookie Betts swinging in consecutive at-bats in the fourth inning. His sliders and splitters were working well for the most part. On Opening Day, Tanaka only threw a few four-seam fastballs, but on Sunday he threw 24 of them ranging from 89-92 miles per hour. Three of his four strikeouts were on sliders, which is a good sign going forward because his splitter was mainly his strikeout pitch last season.
“I thought he was better with his fastball, but he didn’t throw as many strikes with his off-speed as he did; it was the opposite,” manager Joe Girardi said. “The next step is to put them both together and we’ll have Tanaka.”
In the eighth inning, to give the Yankees their 14th and final run, McCann hit a homer that just made it above the wall in right for a classic Yankee Stadium homer. The ball just made it over the short porch and wouldn’t have been a home run in many other stadiums. That home run was McCann’s 200th of his career. McCann’s two hits in five at-bats boosted his average to a respectable .278.
The Yankees start a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles in Baltimore on Monday night at 7:05 p.m. Michael Pineda will make his second start of the season after allowing two runs in six innings in his start against the Blue Jays on April 8.