Heading into Sunday night’s game, the Red Sox were rolling, the Yankees had been struggling and Clay Buchholz was looking to repeat his opening day performance in Philadelphia and cement his role as the “ace” of Boston’s rotation. All signs were pointing to an early season sweep of the rival Bronx Bombers. However, as the saying goes, “this is why they play the games.”
Right from the start, Clay had issues with consistency, leaving balls over the middle of the plate and giving up the long ball. After the Sox allowed seven runs in the opening frame, I’m guessing a good chunk of fans decided to make the switch to “Game of Thrones”.
Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a walk, followed by a Brett Gardner infield single. Carlos Beltran was able to gather up an RBI on a fielder’s choice. After Mark Teixeira drew a walk, it looked like the inning would be over on a double play when catcher Brian McCann grounded to first, but Mike Napoli bobbled the ball and couldn’t get an out at any base. This opened the flood-gates allowing Alex Rodriguez to double, and third baseman Chase Headley and second baseman Stephen Drew to clock homeruns back-to-back. After two loud fly-outs, the inning was finally over for Buchholz.
Clay would settle down somewhat in the second and third innings and also gathered three strikeouts combined in those frames, however more trouble was on the way. After the offense had tried to keep Boston alive in the top half of the frame and crossed the plate three times, including a streaking Xander Bogaerts hammering a double to left to knock in two, Buchholz found himself allowing a string of singles and a stolen base from Jacoby Ellsbury that led to three more runs for New York. That spelled the end of the night for Buchholz with his final, miserable line being 3.1 IP, 9 H, 10 R, 2 BB, 3 K and 2 HR.
The highlight of the night for the Red Sox offense, in addition to Bogaerts’ 2-RBI double, was Hanley Ramirez’ towering homerun blast to deep center in the fifth inning. Unfortunately, it was a solo shot, and you don’t get extra runs for showing off an incredible amount of muscle no matter how impressive it was. Ramirez’ third homer of the year cut the lead to 10-4 at the time.
The Yankees would add three runs in the sixth off Tommy Layne, and a Brian McCann solo homerun over the short porch in right in the eighth would finish off the scoring giving the Yanks the victory by the final of 14-4.
Gardner, Beltran, and McCann all had two hits, while Headley had a huge night with three hits and three RBI. A-Rod went 1-2 with two walks and four RBI and was a big spark for the Yankees offense all night.
The Red Sox will look to shake off the rough loss on Sunday night as they head to Boston for the home-opener against the Nats on what looks to be a fun, warm weather day at Fenway Park.
*While Mookie Betts struggled to get going at the plate on Sunday night, he made a “play of the night” type diving catch in the sixth inning and doubled up the runner at second base to end the inning. Had the ball dropped, two more NY runs would have scored easily.
*In addition to Napoli’s error in the first, the Yankees added two errors of their own from Stephen Drew and SS Didi Gregorius. The NY defense has been suspect early on and had issues all weekend against the Red Sox. They already have tallied up 8 errors on the season.
*Mike Napoli finally ended his drought at the plate picking up a single in the eighth inning. Napoli had been 0-18 prior to that hit bringing his average to .053. He also walked twice.
*A-Rod played well, but was kept out of the homerun total. He remains five homeruns shy of 660 which will tie Willie Mays and automatically make him six million dollars richer.
Once again, it seems that you never know which Buchholz you are going to get on any given night. The error hurt, but that’s no excuse as Clay left too many pitches out over the middle of the plate, and the Yankees made him pay. It is obvious that he is a different pitcher with men on base, especially when the lead-off batter gets on. Both innings that saw NY do the most damage started with the lead-off hitter getting on.
Although the game was already out of hand, Layne didn’t do anything to help the situation. The Red Sox are hoping to utilize the lefty in an important role this season so he’ll need a better effort going forward if he’s to be the guy they expect him to be.
Not a ton to choose from so I’ll go with Bogaerts, who has been tearing things up in the early part of the season. He was 2-4 with 2 RBI improving his average on the year to .407. The only other hitter on the team with 2 hits was Pablo Sandoval.
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