Josh Beckett was outright destructive last night, obliterating the flailing Yankee offense in an outing almost as dominating as his Game 6 series-clinching win in the 2003 World Series (a complete-game shutout, two walks, five hits, nine strikeouts), as he threw an eight-inning two-hit, 10-strikeout shutout (the strikeout total was the most he’s ever had against the Yankees in a regular season game), as the Red Sox beat the Yankees 4-0 to win their first series of the season. As our own William astutely noted on Twitter last night, the Yankees were “reacting like they didn’t think Beckett threw a curve anymore.” Not only was Beckett’s curve outrageous (-2.0043 linear weights, 24 total), but he had four other fantastic pitches and mixed everything up incredibly well, throwing the four-seamer 29 times (-1.7691 linear weights), the changeup 18 times (-1.0284), cutter 18 times (-0.0220) and a nasty two seamer two-seamer (-0.5131) 13 times.
On the flip side, CC Sabathia somehow managed to survive through 5 2/3 innings only giving up one earned run despite having seemingly no command of any of his pitches. He struck four out, but also walked four (and hit Adrian Gonzalez) and gave up nine hits. To Sabathia’s credit (or the Red Sox’s futility), I’d have to think putting 14 baserunners on in 5 2/3 innings and only allowing one run is up there with some of the all-time great strand performances, but that’s about all the team can hang its hat on.
As for the ‘pen, Joba Chamberlain gave up a couple of runs in relief, Boone Logan actually notched a scoreless appearance, and Freddy Garcia — making his first appearance of the season — gave up a run in one inning of work. Though the Yankees did a good job overall of containing new Sox acquisitions Carl Crawford and Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia — with a ridiculous career line of .305/.383/.454 against the Yankees prior to last night’s game — added three more hits (part of a nine(!)-hit weekend for him) and walked once, while Marco Scutaro reached base an unacceptable four times as well, and the team is going to need to figure out how to get these two out.
The Yankee offense was obviously nonexistent in this one, getting shutout for the first time this season, although even if the team had been red-hot coming into this game it likely wouldn’t have mattered, given the way Beckett threw last night. Rather than single out any one player, I’m going to remind myself that the season is only nine games old, the team has still slugged a ton of home runs and has a winning record despite the fact that a good majority of the lineup is currently slumping pretty severely (as Steve H. noted, only one player on the team has an OBP north of .350 — it’s early, but that’s still troublesome), and give everyone a pass on this one. Sometimes it’s just not your night — per RAB, this was only the fourth time the Yankees have been shutout at Fenway Park since 1998 — and it very clearly was not the Yankees’. Also, I knew the Yankees were going to lose two of three, although I didn’t think they’d drop the Sabathia start.
After today’s rather torturous off-day, the Yankees are back at the Stadium tomorrow night to face the surprising Baltimore Buck Showalters.
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