Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees’ three-headed bullpen attack dominated and David Price looked similar to the first-half David Price. But hey, a Sunday Night Yankees-Red Sox game ended a reasonable hour!
Top Play (WPA)
I’ll get deeper into Price’s start in just a moment, but all of the real damage came in the fourth inning. It was then that New York scored all of their runs, and unsurprisingly was home to the top play of the contest. With Boston up 1-0 and Didi Gregorius on second base, Starlin Castro ripped an RBI double to the left field corner (.156) and tied the game up. The Yankees would tack on two more runs in the frame and it was all their pitching staff needed.
Bottom Play (WPA)
I’ll get deeper into the lineup’s off night in just a moment, but their one run came off a solo home run. They didn’t really give themselves any other real opportunities to do any damage on Sunday night. As such, the Yankees somehow ended up with the two worst plays by WPA. The very bottom play came in the first inning when Chase Headley had a chance to tie the game with two runners on and two outs. Instead, he grounded out to first base (-.044)
The bottom play for the Red Sox, for what it’s worth, was the exact same play (-.040) with the same runner/out situation as the aforementioned worst play by the Yankees, with Brock Holt playing the Headley role.
Is this David Price?
This is the part when I get deeper into Price’s start, and it was a weird one. Three runs over 5.2 innings isn’t terrible. Eleven hits and just one strikeout over that same is terrible. The issues were the same on Sunday as they’ve been all season: He’s leaving everything over the plate. The contact wasn’t super hard much of the time — he kind of got singled to death — but the location was still not at all what one expects from Price. To top that off, he didn’t have the same swing-and-miss stuff we’ve seen for much of the year. It’s only one start, and he had been pitching well heading into the All-Star break. At the same time, most other teams of the league probably would’ve hit him harder than the Yankees did on Sunday. It’s far from the time to write Price off, but this was a disappointing outing despite the relatively low run total.
Sometimes Good Pitching Beats Good Hitting
Even when the pitching is bad, Boston’s lineup provides enough runs on most nights to at least make the game competitive. Despite this one only being a two-run game, it never really felt close after the Yankees took the lead in the fourth. Masahiro Tanaka is a good pitcher (#analysis) and the good pitcher beat the good lineup this time. Then, the Dellin Betances/Andrew Miller/Aroldis Chapman three-headed monstrosity took over and finished Boston off. There’s nothing to be overly concerned about here, as no one in the lineup looked embarrassingly bad or anything. These things happen sometimes. It’s frustrating in real time, but there’s obviously no need to panic.
Dustin Pedroia Did A Thing, At Least
The Red Sox did manage to score one run, and that’s because Pedroia launched a solo home run in the first inning. Did he take advantage of Yankee Stadium by hitting it two rows deep down the left field line? Sure. Don’t be a jerk about it, though. This is just another high point in what’s been a quietly great season for Pedroia. He’s now slashing 300/.368/.439 on the season and is looking like something just shy of peak-Pedroia. It is a cool thing.
The Red Sox have Monday off before heading back home to take on the Giants in an abbreviated two-game series. This is a real test for Boston, as San Francisco has the best record in all of baseball. Luckily, it appears they’ll miss out on the Giants’ two-headed monster of Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto. First pitch on Tuesday is at 7:10 with Rick Porcello taking on Old Friend Jake Peavy.
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