The Yankees, who remained at 9,999 wins in franchise history after last night’s game against the Red Sox, lost a 5-1 game to the Boston Red Sox in the first game of their series at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are 3.5 games ahead of the Houston Astros for the first wild-card spot with six games left to play, and their playoff probability is currently 99.9 percent.
The Yankees trail the Toronto Blue Jays by five games, and the reason the Yankees will not win the division is that since the start of play on July 29th, the Blue Jays are 41-14 and have a run differential of an outstanding +129.
Offense is key for any team to win games and the Yankees offense struggled for the fifth time in their last six games. They have now scored three runs or less in five of their last six games and have scored two runs or less in four of those games. They are 3-3 in those six games.
“You’re going to have hot streaks and cold streaks. Right now we feel like we are battling. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to put good innings together,” Carlos Beltran said. “Today was a day where we faced a guy who was pitching well.”
The Yankees were 0-7 with runners in scoring position, which makes it hard to win a game. Their only run came off of an Alex Rodriguez sacrifice fly that scored Jacoby Ellsbury in the first inning. Greg Bird struck out with runners on first and second to end the first inning, Brett Gardner flied out to right with Rob Refsnyder on second to end the fourth inning and Gardner struck out on a 94 mph fastball with Refsnyder on second and John Ryan Murphy on third to end the game.
The one positive offensively was that Refsnyder was 1-4 and now has one or more hits in every game that he has started this month (four). He has recently been playing second against lefties and Dustin Ackley has been the second baseman against righties. Refsnyder has five hits in his last 13 at-bats (.385) with one double, which is a sign that he is showing his skills on offense.
“I think we need to do a better job against left handers,” Joe Girardi said. “It’s something we need to do a better job at. We struggled offensively this weekend against lefties. It’s is a kid that has swung well against left handers in the past (Refsnyder).”
Ivan Nova allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks in seven innings pitched, but looked about as good as he has this season in the first five innings of the game. He did not allow a run before the sixth inning and only allowed three hits in that span. However, Nova was yet another Yankee pitcher whose effectiveness got worse in the sixth inning.
Nova had a good breaking ball but the homers off of him came on fastballs that didn’t sink. Travis Shaw blasted a homer to right that drove in Xander Bogaerts in the sixth inning. Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a homer just above the Canon sign in left field that bounced back into the field in the seventh inning.
After taking Nova out of the game after the seventh inning, Girardi used five relief pitchers to get the final six outs of the game. After recording the first two outs of the ninth, Caleb Cathem gave up a solo homer to Deven Marrero, which was Marrero’s first career round tripper. Fellow rookie Nick Rumbelow got Dustin Pedroia to ground out to Didi Gregorius at shortstop to end the top of the ninth.
Michael Pineda will get the start for the Yankees in Game 2 of the series on Tuesday night and will try to make sure the Yankees don’t lose any ground to the Astros. Pineda only allowed one run in six innings and struck out six in his previous start and in his last two starts combined he has pitched 11.1 innings, allowed only one run, recorded 10 strikeouts and only one walk.
Masahiro Tanaka is on track to pitch the wild card game, but either Tanaka or Luis Severino should pitch Game 1 of the American League Division Series if the Yankees win the one-game playoff.
The Yankees lost to the Boston Red Sox 8-5 on Sunday Night Baseball in the Bronx. After winning eight of 10 games from June 10 to June 20, the Yankees have now lost six of their past eight games. They lost two out of three game that the Yankees played against the Red Sox over the weekend.
Chase Whitley, who did not allow more than three runs in any of his first seven starts, has now allowed eight and five runs in his last two starts. This could be a sign of him wearing down because he had primarily been a reliever in his minor-league career before being called up to the Yankees earlier this season.
“I just got away from myself a little bit, and made some mistakes there, and paid for it,” Whitely said. “I was most frustrated mostly with the pitch to Ortiz, obviously, and the walk to Bradley to set up the fifth was unacceptable.”
On Sunday, he allowed eight hits, five runs and two walks against Boston. He is starting to lose the accuracy he showed in his previous starts because he has allowed five walks in his last two starts, but he only walked three batters in his first seven starts in the big leagues.
In the second inning, Stephen Drew hit a single to right that scored Mike Napoli. In the third inning, David Ortiz hit his 450th home run of his career. He drove in Brock Holt and Dustin Pedroia to make the score 4-0 Red Sox. It makes sense that he set that milestone against the Yankees since he has hit so many homers against them during his career.
For the first run of the game for the Yankees Derek Jeter drove in Ichiro Suzuki in the third inning. Ichiro was on third and Jeter hit his single on a 3-2 count with two outs. Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran both hit solo homers in the fourth inning to reduce Boston’s lead to 4-3. Teixeira hit his team-leading 15th homer and drove in his team-leading 41st RBI. Beltran led the team with his three hits, but it was not enough as the pitching could not contain the Red Sox offense.
Beltran’s homer was his 366th of his borderline Hall of Fame career. He is in his 17th season after previously playing for the St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, Houston Astros and Kansas City Royals. He is now tied with Lance Berkman for fourth place in the all-time homers list among switch hitters.
In the fifth inning, with Shawn Kelley pitching after Whitley was taken out after allowing a walk to leadoff the inning, Pedroia hit a single to right that scored Jackie Bradley Jr. and Holt. Daniel Nava scored Boston’s seventh run as David Huff caught Pedroia stealing, which allowed Nava to score. The three Yankees pitchers that pitched in the fifth inning threw a combined 42 pitches.
In the fifth inning the Yankees scored their fourth and fifth runs of the game. After Ichiro’s triple to lead off the inning, Brett Gardner hit a double to deep right to score Ichiro. After Jeter’s sacrifice ground out advanced Gardner to third, Jacoby Ellsbury’s ground out drove in Gardner. The Red Sox added an insurance run in the sixth off of Dellin Betances, but the run was charged to Huff.
The Yankees will need to acquire a pitcher via trade in the next few weeks to replace Vidal Nuno or Chase Whitley in the rotation. CC Sabathia should be able to return around the All-Star Break. Sabathia allowed two runs on three hits in 2.1 innings for High-A Tampa on Saturday. His second rehab start is scheduled to take place on Thursday for Double-A Trenton.
The Yankees are now two games behind the first place Toronto Blue Jays even though Toronto has lost their past three games. They will start a three game series against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night at 7:05 p.m. David Phelps, who only six runs in his last start, will pitch for the Yankees and Chris Archer (4-5) will get the start for the Rays.