The Red Sox are not playing for anything right now, and the result of Friday’s game had no bearing on anything but our enjoyment of watching. You could tell that by the list of pitchers Boston sent to the mound, as it’s possible none of them make an appearance in the postseason. That’s a good thing, because they looked awful as a collective group here, allowing eleven homers to the Yankees on Friday. William Cuevas was the worst of the bunch as he gave way for a six-run inning in the fourth. The offense was a little more concerning as a group of regulars were largely shut down by J.A. Happ, but a Steve Pearce grand slam did avoid it being a total disaster. I’m ready for games to count again, I think.
This game was not fun for the Red Sox on either side, but at least the pitchers had an excuse. By and large, the guys we saw on the mound for Boston on Friday aren’t going to be there when the games count again in October. Granted, that fact doesn’t make it any more fun, and giving the Yankees any amount of confidence certainly isn’t good, but this game wasn’t really telling in any future matchups between Red Sox pitching and Yankees hitting. The other side of the game is a different story, but we’ll start with the pitching.
It was Brian Johnson on the mound for the Red Sox, who like I said probably will not be on the playoff roster, but he might have a very outside chance just given how versatile he’s been for the team this year. I’d be surprised, though. Either way, he did look good in this game to start things off. The southpaw pitched his way through a very easy 1-2-3 first on just eight pitches, and then allowed just a walk in his second inning of work.
In the third, however, the wheels began to fall off. That inning started with Gary Sanchez doing some damage. Johnson fell behind 2-0 and tried to get a fastball by the Yankees catcher. It wasn’t a terrible pitch — down at the bottom of the zone — but Sanchez was all over it and sent it out over the wall in left field for a solo shot. Johnson did come back with a couple of strikeouts, but then he gave up a walk before back-to-back singles, and just like that there was another run on the board for the Yankees and they had a 2-0 lead after three.
The fourth was where the game really got out of hand, though. William Cuevas came on to start this inning, but he looked atrocious. After a hard-hit first out, Andújar ripped a double off the Monster, Sanchez drew a walk and Gleyber Torres hit a two-run double. The Red Sox did challenge whether or not Sanchez ever touched home plate, but the umps decided he did. After allowing two more singles to make it 5-0, Hicks came up and blasted one into the Yankees bullpen for a three-run shot, and suddenly it was 8-0 Yankees. Heath Hembree would come on for Cuevas, and he did finish the inning without any more runs being scored.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox were going up against J.A. Happ, and they did send pretty much their regular lineup to the plate against the Yankees lefty. As we’ve been hearing all year, Happ regularly owns Boston, which is one of the reasons the Yankees traded for him. They were looking to avoid him feeling too good about himself in his final regular season start, but they didn’t succeed. Happ had them off-balance and induced weak contact all night, and the Red Sox hitters really couldn’t get much of anything going against him.
In fact, they couldn’t get anything going against him in the first three innings. Happ set down the first nine Red Sox hitters he’d face. In the bottom of the fourth, Boston finally got their first baserunner on a Mookie Betts walk, and then Andrew Benintendi erased the no-hitter with a single. With runners on the corners and nobody out, they had a chance to at least cut into the lead a bit. Instead, J.D. Martinez hit a fly ball too shallow to score the run, then Xander Bogaerts struck out and Steve Pearce grounded out, squandering the chance.
Fast-forward to the sixth, and the Red Sox had a chance again, and again it was due to the top of the lineup. Betts ripped a single into left field, then Benintendi benefited from bad defense from Hicks in center field for a double, putting two runners in scoring position with one out. Martinez again couldn’t come through, popping one up on the infield. Bogaerts would draw a walk after that, though, and then Pearce came up. He has a good history against Happ, and he continued it here by blasting a ball into the Monster Seats for a grand slam. Suddenly, the lead was cut in half.
Out of the bullpen, Drew Pomeranz came on for Hembree to start the fifth, and he looked pretty good in this game. The southpaw got two straight 1-2-3 innings in the fifth and sixth, striking out three in that span. The seventh didn’t go as well. Luke Voit was up second in this inning and jumped on a first-pitch fastball for a solo shot into the Red Sox bullpen, putting New York back up five. After allowing a single and a walk, Joe Kelly came on in relief. He should have gotten a double play to end the inning, but Bogaerts let it get through the wickets into left field for an error to allow a run and keep the inning going. The Yankees would leave the inning with a 10-4 lead.
The eighth belonged to Bobby Poyner, and one pitch is all it took for that outing to get bad. Aaron Judge got a fastball up and in and crushed it out to center field for a solo homer, tying the all-time team record for home runs in season at 264. Poyner, to his credit, did come back and get the next three outs to finish the inning.
In the eighth, the Red Sox got more going thanks to a walk from Betts and back-to-back singles from Martinez and Pearce, but they’d settle for just one run. Poyner came back out for a scoreless ninth, giving the Red Sox offense one more chance down by six. Zach Britton was on for the Yankees and he couldn’t find the zone, walking three and allowing a run, but it wasn’t bad enough for a comeback. Pearce left the bases loaded and the Sox went down 11-6.
The Red Sox and Yankees will be back on the field Saturday afternoon for the season’s penultimate game. Nathan Eovaldi will take the mound for Boston with Lance Lynn going for New York. First pitch is at 1:05 PM ET.