There’s really not a whole lot I need to say to summarize this one. The Red Sox were just totally, utterly outplayed. This was a good old fashioned blowout, with Boston’s bats getting completely shut down by J.A. Happ, which we’ve gotten used to over the last decade or so. On the other end, the Yankees were led by Clint Frazier but it was really an all-out effort against Chris Mazza and Dylan Covey, with some rough defense from Xander Bogaerts mixed in. Oh, and Christian Arroyo left early with back spasms. Other than all that, though, it was a pretty good night!
J.A. Happ has gone through many stages in his career. He was very good early on, then fell off for a bit, then had a surprise resurgence in Toronto, and now has settled in for the end of his career in New York. Through it all, the one consistent quality has been his ability to just totally dominate Red Sox lineups. In 146 innings coming into this game on Saturday, the lefty had pitched to a 2.95 ERA against Boston. Obviously there have been a lot of different lineups for the Red Sox over Happ’s career, which dates back to 2007, but it apparently doesn’t matter.
He had his way with this lineup as well. Frankly, there isn’t even really much to say about the offensive (pun only sort of intended) performance against the Yankees southpaw in this game. Boston did get a runner on in the first, but it was a two-out infield single that was not really the start of anything. They wouldn’t have another baserunner until the fourth, when they got another two-out single after which the runner didn’t advance beyond first. Those two singles were all they managed off Happ through six innings, and it only took 71 pitches for him to get there.
Chris Mazza, meanwhile, did not have similar success against the Yankees B-lineup. After sending out their best on Friday (and Martín Pérez, to his credit, looking great against them), New York emptied the bench for this one. It wouldn’t matter, as Mazza had himself a very tough first inning. D.J. LeMahieu started off the game with a solid base hit, because that’s just what he does, and then Aaron Judge drew a walk to put the first two men on. After a strikeout and a walk, the bases were full for Gio Urshela, who made it a 1-0 game early on with a sacrifice fly. The Yankees would get one more on a Clint Frazier base hit before Mazza finally escaped. It felt like a win to only be down two, though it did take 32 pitches for the Red Sox starter to get out of the first. For all my math heads out there, that is more than half the pitches it took Happ to get through five.
Mazza did, to his credit, settle down for a bit after that. He faced only three batters in the second thanks in part to Tyler Wade getting caught stealing second after a one-out walk. In the third, he gave up a double to Brett Gardner on a weird play that looked like a routine single before Gardner just kept going and managed to sneak in with a tremendous slide. It wouldn’t matter, though, as the recently called up César Puello started an impressive relay after a deep fly ball to right to get Gardner trying to get to third. All in all, it was another three-batter inning, albeit a fairly eventful one.
The Yankees got back on their [redacted] in the fourth, though. Or, more accurately, Xander Bogaerts invited them to have a big inning. After a one-out single from Frazier, it looked like Mazza got an inning-ending double play ball to Bogaerts. Instead, the shortstop just booted a routine play. New York then got another single to make it a 3-0 game before Bogaerts had another opportunity for a double play. This time he was the middle man at second base, but his throw to first was way off the mark, allowing Mike Tauchman to score and Tyler Wade to get to second. The inning ended with a 4-0 score, but it wasn’t exactly Mazza’s fault.
That was the final inning for Mazza, and it was also the final inning it really felt like a game. Dylan Covey came out for the fifth, and issued a leadoff walk to Aaron Judge. The good news is they got Judge stealing second after that. The bad news is Covey then gave up back-to-back singles, the latter of which hit the garage in foul ground out in left field. Michael Chavis was in left today and was not ready for the ricochet, and Gardner came around to make it a 5-0 game. Frazier then blew things open, driving one way out to right field for a two-run shot, and the rout was on. Covey did come through with a scoreless sixth after that.
For the seventh, it was Domingo Tapia coming to the mound for the Red Sox. The righty got through an impressive scoreless inning. In the bottom of the inning, the offense finally got beyond first base for the first time all night against Happ. It came with two outs in the inning when Kevin Plawecki smacked a double off the Monster in left-center field. He was, naturally, stranded there.
The eighth belonged to Robert Stock, who came through with a scoreless inning of his own. Happ then came out for the bottom half, and the Red Sox actually got some early offense here with Bobby Dalbec going the other way for a ground rule double. Chavis followed that up with a ground ball to shortstop on which, for some reason, Dalbec tried to get to third. Even weirder than the decision was that he somehow made it in safely (after review), putting men on the corners with nobody out. Even that wasn’t enough, as Happ came back with two strikeouts and a ground out to keep the shutout going.
After Stock came back for the ninth and allowed one more run, the Red Sox had one more chance to score at least (checks notes) eight runs against Nick Nelson out of the Yankees bullpen. Believe it or not, they did not do that. Instead, they sent only three batters to the plate and ended the game without a run.
The Red Sox have one more chance to avoid a season-long sweep to the Yankees in 2020. It’s going to be a battle of rookies on Sunday, with Tanner Houck going up against Deivi García. First pitch is at 1:10 PM ET.