A red-hot New York Yankees ball club played host to the Boston Red Sox this weekend for their first matchup of the 2020 season.
Game One (Yankees Win 5-1)
Jordan Montgomery made his first start on Friday night post-Tommy John surgery and came out dealing. The first six batters that came to the plate were all retired by Gumby giving him some early confidence rolling into the third inning.
Then, Michael Chavis gave him a wakeup call taking a 1-0 fastball to deep left-center pushing the Sox out to a one-run lead. Chavis’ first home run of the season turned out to be the only run that would cross the plate for Boston thanks to 5.2 stellar innings from Montgomery and a heap of bullpen support.
Chad Green, Adam Ottavino, and Jonathan Holder combined for a hitless, 3.1 innings of relief displaying the strength of the New York Yankees‘ bullpen. While the Red Sox struggled at the plate, the Yankees picked up right where they left off in Baltimore.
Urshela and Gardner both found their first longballs this season, a good sign for the Yankees as they show outstanding production from top to bottom in their order. As for Judge, his third straight game with a home run giving him three on the season Friday. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, Judge’s court was in session through Sunday night.
Game Two (Yankees Win 5-2)
After being drilled with a 112 mph, line drive off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton nearly a month ago, Masahiro Tanaka returned to the mound for his first start of the 2020 season. While the Yankees hopes were high, so was Masa’s pitch count with two outs in the third inning.
51 pitches in 2.2 innings of work for Tanaka was all that he would see after allowing two runs (one earned) on a Xander Bogaerts double. Although, just like the night before, the third inning was the only time Boston scored a run.
As for the New York Yankees, Judge was off to a quick start in the bottom of the first inning with his fourth homer in equally as many games. After taking a 1-0 lead in the first, Urshela had the bases juiced in the second and cashed in with his first career grand slam.
Despite all seven runs scoring withing the first 15 outs of the game, the Yankees once again showed that the bottom of the lineup can hit the ball just as well as the top. Mike Tauchman went three for four on the night drawing a walk as well making his case to be an everyday starter that much stronger.
After Tanaka’s shaky start, the bullpen offered their two cents beginning with Luis Avilan. He faced four batters, striking out two of them, before making way for the rookie Nick Nelson in the fifth inning.
Nelson’s first big league appearance was almost a perfect three innings of relief pitching. Two batters were walked and four were struck out four pitches or less by the 24-year-old leaving Boston hitless while on the bump.
The final two innings were tossed by David Hale getting his first save of the year and securing the win for Nick Nelson. The bullpen was a big factor on Friday and Saturday but would prove to be more important during the final game of the series.
Game Three (Yankees Win 9-7)
James Paxton took the rubber Sunday night and after a rough first start in Washinton last week, his second start wasn’t too much better. It was a rather messy first inning of work for the Big Maple but he didn’t get a ton of help from his defense either.
Aaron Hicks had some trouble tracking fly balls in center field while Miguel Andujar misplayed a low line drive that went under his glove. This was Andujar’s third-ever start in left field and it is safe to say he is not yet comfortable in his new position.
With little support from his outfield, Paxton’s night was finished after the third inning letting in five runs (three earned) on seven hits and a home run off the bat of Bogaerts. Once again, manager Aaron Boone made the call to the bullpen for another long relief outing.
Michael King was the first of three relievers for the Bronx Bombers stretching his outing longer than Paxton’s with a solid 3.2 innings. Toward the end of King’s night, Rafael Devers hits a go-ahead, solo-shot with two outs in the seventh inning which led to Ottavino who cleaned up the seventh and eighth.
Zack Britton was the last to pitch, throwing a one-two-three ninth inning securing his third save of the season. Despite good pitching for the Yankees, it was the bats that stole the show on both sides of the plate.
The theme of Sunday night: every time the Red Sox called, the Yanks picked up the phone and answered.
The Red Sox offense was powered through the bats of Devers and Bogaerts who drove in six of their seven runs. Bogaerts went yard twice, once in the first and again in the fifth while going 4-4 on the night.
On the other hand, Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees delivered a few bashes of their own starting in the bottom of the second with a three-run homer from number 99. This was his fifth straight game with a home run becoming the first Yankee to do so since Alex Rodriguez in 2007.
After a Red Sox three-run third inning, Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela hit a pair of doubles to drive in two runs, tying the game at five. Then in the fifth inning, Luke Voit answers Bogaerts with his third home run of the season, evening up the score at six.
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Fast-forward to the bottom of the eighth when Boston had a 7-6 lead, time was running out for the Yanks but it wouldn’t be Red Sox vs Yankees without some classic late-game drama.
The game-changing sequence began with a Mike Tauchman walk and stolen base giving DJ LeMahieu a chance to drive in the tying run on a single. Now with one on in the eighth, Judge came to the plate with a chance to break it open for the Yanks. He did just that smashing a two-run 468-foot bomb into the left-field bleachers.
Not only is this Aaron Judge’s second homer on the day, but his sixth in five games, and his fifth go-ahead home run this season making history just eight games in. Judge is certainly the hottest hitter in baseball right now but do not be surprised if he sees more walks in the upcoming week or so.
The New York Yankees completed the three-game sweep of Boston and will look forward to welcoming former manager Joe Girardi and SS Didi Gregorious back to the Bronx for a four-game, home/home split with the Philadelphia Phillies starting on Monday.