What if I told you the Red Sox were somehow able to keep the Yankees offense from exploding and the Yankees had one of their bottom of the rotation arms on the mound? Seems like a pretty good recipe for a win, eh? Well, unfortunately the Red Sox offense simply wasn’t up to the task on Friday night. They did get a solo homer from Michael Chavis to take an early lead, but that was it. After that, they had a couple of golden opportunities that they wasted before being totally shut down by the New York bullpen. Ryan Weber wasn’t great to start for Boston, but he didn’t give up a ton of runs and the bullpen, most notably Phillips Valdez, was mostly solid. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be, and the Yankees started the series with a win.
After getting some momentum in the last two games against the Mets, the Red Sox were surely looking to get things going early against the Yankees here on Friday night. Unfortunately, lefty Jordan Montgomery, making his first start of the year, had different ideas as the Red Sox went down in order in each of the first two frames. The good news is that Ryan Weber was solid to get things started as well. He was far from perfect, but he worked around a base hit in the first and a pair of walks in the second.
It wasn’t until the third that the offenses would start to get going a little bit. After the first six Red Sox batters had been retired, Michael Chavis was looking to change that to start off the third. He did that and then some. We all know the second-year player’s struggles against the high heat, but when it falls down in the zone he can still do damage. That’s what happened here as Montgomery left a fastball belt-high on the inner half, and Chavis jumped all over it. His first homer of the year was a no-doubter out to left field and it gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead. They didn’t stop there, either, getting a pair of one-out singles in front of J.D. Martinez. The slugger got under one for a routine fly ball to right field, but for some reason Kevin Pillar found himself way off the first base bag and was doubled up, ending the inning in its tracks. It was a terrible mistake.
Baseball is a funny game in that when you make a big mistake, it often doesn’t take too long for it to come back to bite you. It’s also fair to say that when you have Weber on the mound, mistakes are going to come back to bite you sooner than later more often than not. That’s what happened in the bottom of the third, with DJ LeMaheiu starting things off with a base hit up the middle. That brought Aaron Judge to the plate, and he does what he does. That is to say, he hit a dinger. The two-run shot out to right field put the Yankees up 2-1.
In the top half of the fourth, more frustration was going to be on the table for the Red Sox offense. Rafael Devers got on first base to lead things off after getting hit by a pitch, and then Xander Bogaerts followed it up with a base hit. After a brutal at bat from Christian Vázquez that ended with a strikeout, Alex Verdugo caught a huge break. On a weak ground ball back to the mound, Montgomery just whiffed it, loading the bases for Chavis. This was a huge opportunity for the Red Sox to answer back. Instead, Chavis followed up his homer with a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Again, it doesn’t take long for this game to make you pay, and this time it took exactly one batter. Gio Urshela led things off for the Yankees in the bottom of the fourth, and he got a changeup that just stayed right over the heart of the plate. New York’s third baseman drove it the other way up and over the right field wall, and that made it a two-run lead for the Yankees. Weber would only make it two more batters — and one more out — before being lifted for Phillips Valdez.
The latter ended the inning, and then came back out for a scoreless fifth as well. Valdez would come back out for the sixth as well, working around a couple of hits for another scoreless inning to finish off a very impressive performance out of the bullpen to keep things close.
Unfortunately, the Red Sox offense just wasn’t picking up the slack, going down in order again in the seventh before Austin Brice came out for the bottom of the inning. The righty did hit a batter, but still only had to face three batters in the frame thanks to an inning-ending strike-him-out, throw-him-out.
But alas, this was just not the night for Boston’s order, as they went down in order yet again. Colten Brewer then came in for the bottom of the eighth, and things did not go well. After walking the leadoff batter, he would eventually face Brett Gardner with a runner on third and one out. Gardner has had a tough start to his season, but he turned things around here as he blasted one out to right field for a two-run shot, opening things up for the Yankees and giving them a 5-1 lead.
So, the Red Sox would have one more chance trailing by four. Bogaerts did draw a walk to end a great at bat in the inning, but that was it as the Red Sox fell 5-1 to start the weekend.
The Red Sox will look to even up this series Saturday night with the FOX national game. First pitch is set for 7:07 PM ET and Zack Godley will be going up against Masahiro Tanaka.