Eddie Rodriguez did a good job, while the offense did not. Stop me if you’ve heard- oh you have?
Top Play (WPA): Jacoby Ellsbury’s go-ahead homer, with a .242 WPA, rightfully earns its spot here. Rodriguez was cruising up until that point, with his only real blemish being an A-Rod RBI double, but he hung a slider to Ellsbury, who got all of it and put it into the second deck in right field. Giving up the go-ahead run is never a good thing, but it was made worse by the fact that the Yankees had Dellin Betances warming and Andrew Miller behind him. With a 79% win expectancy and New York’s two best relievers coming up, it looked all but certain that the Sox would lose again after this homer. Surprising, I know.
Bottom Play (WPA): Even with Andrew Miller on the mound, the Red Sox tried their best to come back. With the tying run on 2nd and the go-ahead run on 1st, Rusney Castillo struck out to end the game, which amounted to a -.133 WPA. Lefties Travis Shaw and Jackie Bradley had a pair of great at-bats against Miller, but then the Yankees closer locked it down against Castillo. He threw two fastballs down and in on Castillo, then finished him off with a slider in the dirt. For a guy who looked lost against back-to-back left-handed hitters, Miller was completely in control with Castillo.
Key Moment: In what was by far the best chance the Sox had at scoring, CC Sabathia struck out David Ortiz to end the top of the 5th. Sabathia had gone away from him for the first three pitches of the at-bat, but came back inside on a 94 mph sinker that seemed to catch Ortiz off guard. Sabathia was pretty pumped up. Castillo’s RBI single had finally tied it, and with Ortiz up, you sensed there was a real chance to take the lead.
“How dare you have any hope,” said the 2015 Red Sox. And so it was.
Trend to Watch: Eduardo Rodriguez continues to impress. After a pretty mediocre start against Tampa Bay, he bounced back here against an offense that tears apart southpaws. The Yankees came into this game with an offense against left-handed pitching that ranked second in OPS (.783) and wRC+ (116), and the rookie held them to six hits and two runs while walking two. He worked hard to get through tough situations – with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 5th, Rodriguez got both Mark Teixeira and Chris Young to pop out to get out of the jam. Not only that, Rodriguez ramped it up as the game went on, as he still threw 94 mph heaters in the 7th inning. The home run aside, he got all the outs in the 7th inning on swinging strikes. Not too bad for a 22-year-old.
Coming Next: The Red Sox move on to the Motor City to take on a retooling Tigers team. Detroit will send out Van Man Daniel Norris, while the Sox will have Cy Young frontrunner Joe Kelly pitching. It’s a good thing Miguel Cabrera is still on the DL, or else you would’ve had to cover children’s eyes when Kelly pitched to him.
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