Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Thursday, May 10.
Here’s a memo to the rest of the major leagues. If you want pundits like myself to write about games not involving the Yankees and Red Sox, you are welcome to play compelling baseball like the brand that was on display last night in the Bronx. Yes, the Mets batted out of turn and the Reds beat them in extra innings, but that was hardly compelling baseball.
The Yankees-Red Sox games are back to the excitement level when both teams were the class of their division. This is because they are again the class of their division. Last night felt more like an October game than one in early May. Both pitchers worked as though their very lives depended on every pitch, and as a result neither pitched very well. The Red Sox’ Rick Porcello, who has never done well in the Bronx continued not to do well, though he got no decision. He gave up a ringing double to Brett Gardner to open the home first inning. Gardner had been in a horrific slump and was hitting .198 before Porcello’s ball leapt off Brett’s bat and made sharp contact with the wall in right center. It seemed like a second later Aaron Judge had slapped the sphere into center, driving Gardner home and giving the Yankees the lead. But Masahiro Tanaka has almost never risen to an occasion in the Bronx and he didn’t do it last night. He gave up a booming 2-run home run to right center off the bat of Mitch Moreland. In the last of the third the Yankees rallied with the same crew that stormed the fortress Porcello in the first inning. Again Gardner doubled, showing the extra-base power I remembered from his college days long ago. This time Aaron Judge walked and Didi Gregorius advanced the runners to second and third with a grounder. Enter Giancarlo Stanton. He hasn’t done much against most of the league but he’s been poison (10 for 17 before last night’s game) to the Red Sox. His version of kryptonite continued to work as he rammed a double to deep right, sending both runners home. After Gary Sanchez singled Stanton to third, Aaron Hicks hit a scoring fly ball to bring home Stanton and put the home team up 4–2 with just 3 innings gone. But Tanaka continued to struggle as Porcello was doing for the Red Sox. In the visiting fifth Andrew Benintendi, whose name would shorten the national spelling bee if they used it, homered to the short right field porch to make it 4-3. The Yankees got what hey hoped would be an insurance run in their half. After Aaron Judge, who is by no means fleet afoot somehow reached on an infield single and took second on an errant throw by Porcello. The unnerved starter then walked Gregorius and hit Stanton with a pitch. He was lucky to get out with his skin. Gary Sanchez hit another scoring fly ball and that was all the damage for that inning. The Red Sox kept the pressure on in their sixth. Xander Bogaerts, another spelling bee killer stroked a double to center and took third on a Moreland grounder. That was Sayonara for Tanaka for the evening. In came Chad Green who for once didn’t bring his good stuff with him. The former Yankee Eduardo Nunez hit a scoring fly ball making it 5-4.
The Yankees’ troubles started in the 7th with 2 out and nobody on. Benintendi walked and Hanley Ramirez hit the longest home run of the night to left field to give his side a 6-5 lead. The Yankees barely survived a bases-loaded mess in the 8th, but in their half they mounted their final charge. Facing Matt Barnes on the hill, Neil Walker doubled and took third on a grounder. The rookie sensation Gleyber Torres walked. Enter the Red Sox closer, Craig Kimbrel. As a member of the Red Sox he had never gotten a save requiring more than 4 o uts and on this night he would have needed to get 5 Yankees out. As it was, the first two men he saw ruined his chance of getting a save or a win. Bret Gardner tripled, his third extra base clout of the night which brought both runners home. As if that wasn’t enough, Aaron Judge then does what Aaron Judge does-he unloaded the only Yankee home run of the night, sending a fat pitch to distant center field. Though J.D. Martinez singled off Aroldis Chapman, the other 3 men he saw struck out hel plessly, giving the Yanks yet another win. They’ve won 17 of 18 now, continuing their best run since 1953 when they won 19 in a row. They’ve won 11 in a row in their new house, one win shy of tying a 1985 record. At that time Don Mattingly and Dave Winfield led them to 12 home wins in a row.
And just by the way, as if the Red Sox don’t have enough trouble handling the Yankees, they got some disturbing news on the medical front. They were told pitcher David Price has a “mild” case of carpel tunnel syndrome in his pitching hand. This explains the numbness he was feeling there. The team’s brain trust feared it was some form of nerve damage. But carpel tunnel syndrome isn’t funny. I don’t know if there is a “mild” case of this trouble. The only two cases I personally know of both required surgery. One was a success, one an utter failure. The success happens to be my mother, and her surgery led me directly to my first time alone with a girl, but that’s another story. The failure was a friend of mine who worked with me in South Carolina. She quit her job and moved down to Georgia for a new job. She was working away at the new job and she felt the numbness Price is feeling now. When her operation was done, her hand was unusable. That was a decade ago and she hasn’t been able to type (or work) since. So the Red Sox, who own Price until 2022 and would be on the hook for $217 million ought to be very concerned just now.