The Yankees’ playoff hopes took another massive hit on Saturday as they coughed up another game in the late innings, falling to Boston 6-5. The defeat puts New York seven games out in the American League East, and four and 1/2 out in the wild card race, trailing four teams. After dropping four consecutive games, including three at Fenway, it appears the Yankees’ run for October may finally be finished.
It didn’t look so grim early on. A day after struggling to hit Clay Buchholz, the Yankee bats surprisingly seemed to have no trouble getting to David Price, who had been excellent in his previous seven starts. The team broke through against the ace lefty in the third after Brett Gardner tripled into the triangle in deep center field, giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead. A batter later, Gary Sanchez deposited a Price fastball over the Green Monster for a two-run home run, making it 3-0 New York.
The Red Sox would battle back against Yankee starter Bryan Mitchell in the bottom half however, pushing across a pair of runs on an RBI double by Xander Bogaerts and a run-scoring groundout by David Ortiz. The Yankee offense did well to reclaim those runs an inning later. After back-to-back singles by Didi Gregorius and Chase Headley, Austin Romine skied a ball into left field. The ball clanged off the Green Monster for a double that scored both runners, extending the Yankee lead to 5-2.
The Yankee bats would fall silent after the fourth, however, and the Red Sox took advantage. With two outs and a man on in the fifth, Bogaerts yanked a ball down the left field line for a home run. The homer chased Mitchell from the game, and the bullpen wouldn’t fare much better, as the Red Sox would strike again in the seventh. After a leadoff double by Bogaerts, Mookie Betts sent a chopper through the infield to score the tying run. Three batters later, the go-ahead run would come in to score on a wild pitch from Adam Warren.
Armed with a 6-5 lead, Craig Kimbrel would strike out the final four batters of the game to lock it down for the Sox.
The Play: Bogaerts pulls Boston to within one (+.194 WPA)
The Yankee offense did well to keep Boston at bay by re-extending their lead to 5-2 in the fourth. Bogaerts undid that work with one swing of the bat, however, lining this pitch over the wall in left for a two-run shot that pulled the Sox within one. It was one of three hits on the day for the Boston shortstop, who also added a pair of doubles to his statline.
Yankees: Gary Sanchez (1 for 4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI)
Red Sox: Xander Bogaerts (3 for 4, 1 HR, 2 2B, 3 R, 3 RBI)
-Starlin Castro and Jacoby Ellsbury both left the game with injuries. Castro was diagnosed with a strained right hamstring after pulling up lame on a double in the fifth inning. Ellsbury’s injury sounded a bit more troubling, as manager Joe Girardi announced after the game that Ellsbury injured his right patella after sliding into the wall attempting to make a catch. Both players will be sent back to New York for MRIs. Given that there are only a few weeks left in the season and the Yankees’ playoff hopes have dimmed significantly, it seems possible, if not probable, that we’ve seen the last of both players in 2016.
“You put together a streak like you did the week before, and you’re right back in it. Obviously it has to start tomorrow.” -Girardi on whether the Yankees have enough time to right the ship
The Highlight: At least there’s Gary
Despite the dismal turn of events over the past few days, Yankee fans can rest assured that Gary Sanchez still exists. He hit his 15th homer on Saturday, crushing this Price pitch well over the Green Monster. The ball left his bat at 101 mph and traveled 407 feet, according to Statcast.
The Yankees will try to avoid a brutal four-game sweep to their rivals when they close out the series in Fenway on Sunday Night Baseball. CC Sabathia will take the hill for New York. The big lefty sports a 4.10 ERA in 160 and 1/3 innings in 2016. Opposing him will be Drew Pomeranz, who has struggled to the tune of a 4.60 ERA in 58 and 2/3 innings since being traded to Boston in July. Game time is 8:08 pm.
Lead photo: Winslow Townson / USA Today Sports