The Yankees finally broke through against Josh Beckett, touching the righty up for five runs (four earned) over seven innings, but it wouldn’t be enough to overcome another shaky outing by Phil Hughes, as the Bombers fell to the Red Sox 9-5 on Wednesday night.
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of this game was that Hughes started out like a man possessed, blowing out-of-nowhere 95mph fastballs past the Boston hitters, and picking up two strikeouts in the first inning (including four swinging strikes, all on the heater) but as Hughes’ velocity dipped so did his performance. I was all set to be quite content with Phil’s outing as he appeared poised to get through five innings having given up only two runs, but David Ortiz had other ideas, launching a terribly located four-seamer into dead center field for his eight trillionth career home run against the Yankees to extend Boston’s lead to 4-1.
The Yankees battled back in the top of the sixth, scoring four runs due in part to a huge Eric Chavez two-run
triple double, but despite handed a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the 6th Hughes couldn’t shut the door. After retiring Carl Crawford, Josh Reddick came back from an 0-2 hole to work a walk, which wound up being the turning point in the game. The corpse of Jason Varitek somehow got his bat on a curveball that was way out of the zone and took a funky hop, enabling Reddick to score easily and putting Varitek on second, and while you really couldn’t fault Hughes for that particular sequence, and he also managed to shockingly retire Marco Scutaro, who’s hit something like 1.000/1.000/4.000 on the season against the Yanks, it was still rather frustrating that Hughes was unable to hold his second lead of the game. Not only that, but aside from his fastball Hughes’ secondary offerings — or really, lack thereof — were once again pretty worthless. He barely even seems to throw his one-time bread-and-butter cutter anymore.
Joe Girardi summoned Boone Logan to face Jacoby Ellsbury — also hitting a robust 1.000/1.000/4.000 on the year against the Yanks — and Boone did what Boone does, as he not only didn’t retire the lefty Ellsbury, but yielded the worst possible result as Ellsbury went deep to break the tie and give the Red Sox a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Oh, and not that it would really matter, but Jason Varitek would add a two-run homer in the 7th to put this thing completely out of reach.
Despite an elevated pitch count and a fairly laborious six innings of work, Beckett came back out for the 7th and promptly shut the Yankees down. That 7th likely represented the Yankees’ best chance of mounting a comeback, because with the 8th inning came Daniel Bard, who they never seem to be able to do anything against except hit the occasional solo home run (.136/.269/.364 this season prior to this game’s perfect eighth), and the ninth brought Jonathan Papelbon, whose Yankee issues seem to be a thing of the past (.182/.217/.182 over 6 innings prior to his perfect ninth).
And thus, after blowing two leads, the Yankees fell to 3-11 on the season against the Sox, and are on the cusp of losing their seventh(!) straight series to the Red Sox, as A.J. Burnett not only gets to face the best non-Yankee offense in MLB but has to do it against Jon Lester, who co-owns the Yankees with Felix Hernandez. Good times.
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