August 17-PART TWO
This game will also be seven innings. Gil pitches for the Yankees against Eovaldi. The Yankees have a runner at second with two out in the bottom of the first after a stolen base, but a pop out ends the inning. The first two batters reach in the top of the second, but three straight strikeouts end the inning in a situation eerily close to earlier today. With two out in the bottom of the second, Voit (you know, that guy who pretended to be plunked in the day game) hits a solo jack into right for his sixth of the year as the Yankees take the critical 1-0 lead in the nightcap. The Sox put a runner at second with one out after a wild pitch that is really a passed ball but is not scored as such. He moves to third on a groundout before a fly out ends the inning, another missed opportunity for which the Sox will pay dearly. Stanton leads off the bottom of the fourth with a long home run to left to double the lead to 2-0. This is his nineteenth of the year. Odor then doubles to left. With two out, a walk puts two on before a pop out ends the inning. The Sox put runners at the corners with one out in the top of the fifth and have two in scoring position after a fly out, followed by a walk to load the bases. Just like the other game, though, they do not avail themselves of that opportunity and come away with nothing: after the pitching change, Devers grounds into the force out at second.
Thus far the Sox have left seven runners on base. Seven who could have scored. This game should be a lot different. The Sox bring the go-ahead run to the plate having put runners at the corners with two out, but he grounds back to the pitcher, the proverbial nail in the coffin for tonight. Yankees win, 2-0 behind the home runs. Along with the announcers, I am wondering why they didn’t try to bring home Duran on the fly out. He would have scored, and it turned out that the throw wouldn’t have been good enough to get him anyway. We’ll never know what might have been. That loss knocks Boston down to third place. Even though the two teams have nearly identical records (the Sox have one more win than the Yankees, actually), and even though they’re both gfive games out, New York has a .567 win percentage while Boston has a .566. A win on Wednesday would tie the two teams again and might move Boston ahead percentage-wise. Boston has another leg up: an easier schedule. The Twins, Indians, and Rangers are up next, and all those teams are under .500. The Yankees, by contrast, have a long road trip after hosting the Twins. So there’s still hope.