Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com (May 8, 2018 – Source: Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America)
It may just be May, but the series opener against the New York Yankees had the feel of a September matchup. For the first time since 2002, the Red Sox and Yankees faced off with the two best records in baseball. The Yankees won 15 of their last 16, yet still found themselves in second place. Drew Pomeranz took the mound for the Red Sox, trying to hold their division lead, while Luis Severino went to knock the Sox down a peg. In the end, Pomeranz’ solid start wasn’t enough, as the Boston Red Sox drop the series opener, 3-2.
Boston Red Sox Drop Series Opener to New York Yankees
Pomeranz hasn’t had the best start of the season, and his woes continued into Tuesday’s matchup. After a quiet first inning, Pomeranz gave up a solo shot down the left field line to Giancarlo Stanton. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Pomeranz fingernail started falling off, and it looked as though he might have to leave the game. Nonetheless, Pomeranz fought through by biting off the majority of his fingernail, throwing a few warmup pitches, and getting back in the game. It was disgusting.
The Yankees put runners on first and second with no outs, and it looked like New York was about to turn this into a one-sided affair. However, Pomeranz managed to control the damage. Pitching with a bloody finger, Pomeranz recorded three straight outs, and the Sox trailed 1-0 after two innings.
Two innings later, Stanton did it again. While his first homer was a no-doubter to left, this time the former Marlin drove a no-doubter into the second deck of the right-field bleachers. Fortunately, it was another solo shot, and the Sox escaped the inning trailing 2-0.
On the other side of the plate, Luis Severino pitched lights out. The Sox faced Severino earlier in their season and had their way with him to the tune of five runs in five innings. The Sox didn’t do nearly as well this time, as the young ace tossed four scoreless innings before struggling through the fifth.
The inning didn’t start on a high note, as Eduardo Nunez struck out to begin the frame. However, the ball got past catcher Gary Sanchez, and Nunez made it to first. Three batters later, Mookie Betts singled walk before Andrew Benintendi drove in Nunez with a single to center field. It was a great at-bat, as Benintendi fought out of a 0-2 hole to drive in the Sox first run of the game.
The Sox offense made some noise again thanks to Nunez and some poor Yankees defense. After getting on base on a single, Nunez tried to steal on a 1-2 count with two outs. At first glance, it looked like the throw had Nunez beat by a mile. However, second baseman Gleyber Torres dropped the ball, and Nunez made it safely into second.
That mistake was all Mookie Betts needed, as he drove a triple down the left field line. Left fielder Brett Gardner wasn’t quite fast enough, and Mookie’s stand up triple tied the game at two. Unfortunately, the Red Sox couldn’t add to their lead, as Benintendi struck out on the next at-bat.
Heath Hembree took over in the bottom of the seventh, and things predictably went to hell. Hembree promptly loaded the bases while getting just one out. Aaron Judge stepped up to the plate, and the Sox countered by sending out the part-time reporter and Boston hero Joe Kelly. Kelly gave up a one-run single but kept the damage to a minimum. The Sox entered the top of the eighth trailing 3-2.
After a quiet top of the eighth, Kelly went out for more in the bottom of the frame. Kelly struggled at first, walking Stanton and eventually allowing him to move all the way to third. Stanton tried to score on a ground ball to first, but Hanley Ramirez gunned him down at the plate. Carson Smith came in after that, and struck out the lone batter he faced to end the inning.
The Sox had one last shot against closer Aroldis Chapman, but ultimately couldn’t get it done. With the bottom of the order due up, manager Alex Cora made the interesting choice of not pinch-hitting for either Jackie Bradley or Christian Vazquez. Bradley reached on a hit-by-pitch, but Vazquez softly grounded to second to end the game.