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Red Sox 0, Yankees 8: Embarrassed. Again.

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Another all-around failure of a night for the Red Sox.

Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Another night, another utter embarrassment for the Red Sox. As I wrote earlier in the day, this is a big week for Boston. They got off to an absolutely horrid start to the season, and now they have a week in which they have five games against the Yankees and Rays. A poor performance here could put them in a precarious position, even this early in the season. They got off to a horrendous start. Chris Sale had his stuff back, but his location was way off and he was hit hard across a few innings. Then, Erasmo Ramírez came in and helped the Yankees put the game out of reach. Even worse than the pitching was the offense, though, which had one prime chance that was squandered and other than that was totally non-existent. It’s easy to say things will turn around eventually, and I still think they will, but we’re reaching a point where it’s fair to wonder if it’ll happen before it’s too late.

We’ve been worrying about the wrong things when it comes to Chris Sale this year. Through his first few starts of the year, all of the focus has been on his stuff, and specifically with the fastball. It hasn’t looked like how it’s supposed to look, and it’s hard to look past that. Well, on Tuesday the stuff was mostly back. His slider still wasn’t quite as sharp as it usually is, but it still got some ugly swings. Meanwhile, his changeup looked good and most importantly he was back to throwing the fastball like we’re used to. He was averaging 96 mph with the pitch and got it up to about 98. That’s what I’m talking about! Sale’s stuff was back and his guy Sandy León was behind the plate! What could go wrong?

Well, there’s also the part of pitching where you have to locate. When you’re throwing like Sale can, you can get away with missed pitches here and there, but if you make it a consistent issue every lineup in the majors is going to take advantage of that. That’s especially true for the Yankees, who still have some big bats even with all of their injuries. Early on in Tuesday’s game, he was indeed getting away with it. The Red Sox ace was cruising through the first two innings, setting down the first six batters he saw on just 22 pitches with two strikeouts mixed in. Good vibes all around.

Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Then, the third inning came. This has been where things have gone downhill quickly so often for Red Sox starters this year, and it happened again here. Now, the Yankees did make some hard contact in the first two innings, but they were finding gloves on relatively routine plays. That wasn’t the case here. The inning started when Sale missed his spot with a fastball to Brett Gardner, who took a pitch out over the plate and knocked it into right field for a leadoff double. Sale got a couple of outs after that and looked like he might get out of it, but then DJ LeMahieu came to the plate. Sale tried to go up and in with a two-strike fastball, but didn’t get it in on the hands enough. The Yankees infielder slapped it through the right side for a base hit and New York had a 1-0 lead. After allowing a walk, Sale faced off against Luke Voit, who hit a solid base hit into center field. That would score another run, but it didn’t have to. Jackie Bradley Jr. short-hopped a throw into second base that Eduardo Núñez couldn’t handle. If they had made the play cleanly, Aaron Judge likely would have been out at the base before the run scored. Instead, the Yankees had a 2-0 lead after three.

It only got worse in the fourth, too. Clint Frazier led off that inning and on a 1-0 count Sale hung a changeup up in the zone. Frazier didn’t hit it as well as he could have, but he didn’t have to. The ball bounced off the top of the wall in right field and ricocheted back for a solo homer to make it 3-0. Later in the inning, the bottom of the order struck. Austin Romine singled and Mike Tauchman put a double down the right field line, and just like that New York’s lead was at four. Not great!

Sale would come out for one more inning. The Yankees did get a runner to third but no runs would score. The fifth ended Sale’s night as he allowed four runs over his five innings on seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts.

As if that wasn’t frustrating enough, the Red Sox offense was perhaps even worse than their starting pitcher on that day. They were going up against a guy in James Paxton who had been struggling in his first few starts but looked much better this time out. He was hitting the zone a lot more often than any other point this season and pumping high-90s fastballs with ease. The Red Sox had no answers, and they went down in order in each of the first three innings without anyone even seeming to be a threat.

Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

In the fourth, it seemed the tide may be changing. At this point, the score was still 2-0 and Boston was within striking distance. As it turns out, we didn’t know pain until this inning happened. It started out with Mookie Betts drawing a walk, which brought Xander Bogaerts to the plate. He hit what looked like a routine fly ball to right field, but it just kept carrying and it hit the top of the wall right over the top of Judge’s glove. Unlike Fraziers in the following half inning, though, this one bounced back into the field of play and Bogaerts had to settle for a double. Still, the Red Sox had two in scoring position with nobody out and their 3-4-5 hitters coming up. This was the chance. Instead, J.D. Martinez flew out to shallow right field, then Steve Pearce did the same, then Mitch Moreland struck out. They stranded everyone and Paxton’s shutout remained. It was demoralizing.

After Sale left the game, Erasmo Ramírez came in after just having been called up earlier in the day. Things did not go great. The righty, facing the bottom of the lineup, allowed a double to the first batter he saw, then issued a walk, and after the runners were advanced on a sacrifice bunt Tauchman struck again. The outfielder, who started the season way down the depth chart, blasted a three-run shot out to right field and all of a sudden it was a seven-run game that was out of reach. Just an utter embarrassment.

Ramírez came back out for the eighth and allowed a solo homer to Gleyber Torres. Meanwhile, the offense did a while lot of nothing all night long except for the squandered fourth inning. I’m burnt out at this point, if you can’t tell.

The Red Sox will be back in action in the Bronx on Wednesday night looking to salvage a split in this mini two-game set. They’ll send the struggling Nathan Eovaldi to the mound to take on the struggling J.A. Happ for the Yankees. First pitch is at 6:35 PM ET.


Courtesy of Fangraphs