Try as Boston might, the baseball gods were not about to let the Red Sox lose this one.
Top Play (WPA): Carlos Beltran’s homer in the 7th inning wins this one with a .144 WPA, with Alejandro De Aza’s RBI double (.118) and David Ortiz’s monster homer (.114) coming in 2nd and 3rd, respectively. A knuckleball from Steven Wright didn’t dive down in the zone enough, and Beltran walloped a line drive shot into the right field corner. That was really the only hard-hit ball off Wright the Yankees had all night, as most of the other hits were grounders that found holes or bloops in front of Red Sox outfielders. I’m looking at you, Hanley Ramirez.
Bottom Play (WPA): On paper, it’ll show that Jacoby Ellsbury grounded into a double play to the pitcher in the bottom of the 8th, but the visual sequence of the play was much more ridiculous. Not only was that the worst play in the game by a sizable margin with its -.200 WPA, it honestly looked like something out of MLB The Show. That ball was most likely ticketed for center field, and the Sox would’ve have been looking at a two-on, no-out situation, but Steven Wright’s foot deflected it to Xander Bogaerts, who recovered nicely to get the double play and quell whatever threat there was. As you’ll see in a bit, it was one of several minor disasters that were averted throughout this game.
Key Moment: In the top of the 4th inning, Luis Severino, a talented Yankees pitcher in his first start in the majors, decided to throw David Ortiz a fastball middle-in on a 2-0 count. That ball is still in orbit. Statcast registered that blast at 441 feet, eclipsing the distance gained on Pablo Sandoval’s bomb from the night before. Ortiz put the Red Sox up 2-0, giving them some breathing room they would come to desperately need as the Yankees cut the lead to one in the seventh and had the tying run on-base in each of the last two innings.
Trend to Watch: The Red Sox tried so, so hard to revert to their standard 2015 form while Steven Wright pitched a gem. Here’s recounting of all the time the Red Sox tried to shoot themselves in the foot and ended up firing a blank:
- Wright walked Brett Gardner in the first inning. Blake Swihart promptly allows a passed ball and Gardner reaches second base with just one out. Wright then strikes out Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez to end the inning.
- At one point during the 7th inning, Robbie Ross was warming up in the bullpen. Thankfully, Wright was still confounding Yankee hitters, even after that Beltran homer. Ross never entered the game.
- To lead off the bottom of the 8th, John Ryan Murphy singles to left on a bloop that Ramirez really should’ve caught. Ellsbury then tries to ground one up the middle and, well, the rest is history.
- With one out in the 9th inning, Mark Teixeira reaches first base on a single to Rusney Castillo in right field, who dived for a ball that was going to bounce in front of him. Somehow, Castillo ended up with a baseball in his glove and Teixeira was originally called out before a review overturned the call. Chris Young then pinch-runs for Teixeira.
- After a passed ball from Swihart allows Young to take second base, Koji Uehara tries to be sneaky. He attempts to pick off Young at second, uncorks a terrible pickoff throw that hits the bag, and the ball ricochets away…right at Brock Holt. Young does not advance. John Farrell’s face says it all.
- Uehara walks the potential winning run in Chase Headley, and Joe Girardi pinch-hits Brian McCann for Didi Gregorius. McCann flies out to center on a 0-2 pitch.
The last four bullet points all came within a span of six outs. Insanity.
Coming Next: Eduardo Rodriguez gets the start in Thursday’s game, as he’ll oppose CC Sabathia in the rubber match of this three-game set in the Bronx. All the Red Sox need is some good pitching, a 440-foot homer and several favorable bounces and they’ll be set!
Photo by Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images