The Red Sox are starting this four-game set against the Yankees with a pair of back-to-back bullpen games, and the first one went swimmingly. Starting with Jhoulys Chacín, Alex Cora used seven of his 17 relievers and they dominated the Yankees big bats all night long. New York managed one run on a Brett Gardner homer but other than that they were silent throughout the game. On the other side, the Red Sox put six runs on the board against Yankee pitching highlighted by a Mitch Moreland three-run shot, and they got the first in a must-win series.
With David Price getting scratched from Friday’s start, the Red Sox were left scrambling a bit and going with back-to-back bullpen games to start this four-game set against the Yankees. Given that, the fact that they were starting a guy in Jhoulys Chacín who hasn’t pitched since July and the Yankees being wildly good at hitting baseballs, the expectation was that Boston’s offense was going to have to score a lot of runs to win this game. Stranger things have happened than a group of Red Sox relievers pitching well against the Yankees, but the odds weren’t in their favor.
We know by now, though, that the odds aren’t always to be trusted. As it turns out, the Johnny Wholestaff worked extremely well to start off this game. Chacín, as I mentioned, got the start and was electric in his two innings of work. The righty actually had some flat stuff, but he fooled Yankee hitters and retired all six batters he faced with four strikeouts. His one misstep was a literal one as he slipped down the stairs on his walk back to the dugout after his second and final inning. (He was fine.)
After that, it was one inning at a time from Red Sox relievers, of which they have an absurd 17 in the bullpen. In the third it was Josh Taylor, who had a perfect inning of his own including two strikeouts. So, the first time through the order Boston pitchers were perfect with six strikeouts. Not too shabby! Marcus Walden couldn’t keep the streak going as he allowed a double and a walk, but he worked out of the damage without allowing a run.
On the other side, the Red Sox had to take advantage of this good pitching. As we know, they failed to do so the night before against Minnesota, and doing so twice in a row would be a dagger for the season. Unfortunately, they struggled against Domingo Germán. The Yankees righty struck out the side in the first before allowing just a walk in bot the second and the third.
Then, in the fourth, Germán started to fatigue and weirdly changed his approach on the mound, and the Red Sox took advantage. Things got started when Rafael Devers put a double off the wall in left field to lead off the inning. It looked like it would be another squander as it was followed by two quick outs, but Andrew Benintendi drew a walk to keep the inning going for Brock Holt. The second baseman came through with a single that somehow got by Gleyber Torres, getting the Red Sox on the board with a 1-0 lead. Mitch Moreland would add on to that, too, blasting a hanging curveball out to right field for a three-run shot. Just like that, it was a 4-0 lead for the Red Sox.
With the newfound lead, Andrew Cashner came on for the fifth. He would lose the shutout for the Red Sox, giving up a solo shot to Brett Gardner who hooked one around the pole in right field. It wasn’t the longest homer of all time, but they all count the same and that made it 4-1.
That was all Cashner would get, though, and the Red Sox answered right back in the bottom of the inning. Mookie Betts would get things going with a one-out walk that ended Germán’s night, and then Devers would draw a walk of his own. That put two on for Xander Bogaerts, who shot a double off the wall in left-center field that brought both runs home. At the end of the inning, the Red Sox had themselves a 6-1 lead.
Ryan Weber would then come on for the sixth and toss an easy 1-2-3 inning. The righty came out for the seventh as well and had a little more trouble there. Gary Sánchez led things off with a walk and then moved up to second on a ground out. The Yankees had a chance to score, and in fact Gardner came through with a two-out base hit through the middle. Jackie Bradley Jr. came up throwing, though, and he tossed a strike to the plate to get the Yankees catcher and keep the Red Sox lead at five.
Darwinzon Hernandez then got the call for the eighth, and he got the job done as well allowing just a two-out walk in a scoreless inning of work. Finally, it was Bobby Poyner on for the ninth and the southpaw came through with a perfect inning to finish off a huge night for this bullpen.
The Red Sox and Yankees will continue this four-game series on Saturday with another bullpen game. The starter for them is yet to be announced, while the Yankees will send J.A. Happ to the mound. First pitch is set for 4:05 PM ET.