New York gaining ground in playoffs with comeback win over Boston – .

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New York gaining ground in playoffs with comeback win over Boston – .


NEW YORK – On Tuesday afternoon, AL East’s rival, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, opened a hugely important three-game two-day streak at Yankee Stadium. Both clubs will play a doubles schedule on Tuesday to catch up on a game that was postponed during the COVID-19 outbreak in New York City immediately after the all-star break.

Heading into Tuesday’s doubles schedule, the Red Sox were in first place in the wilds, half a game ahead of track and two games over the Yankees. A Red Sox sweep would deal a big blow to New York’s playoff odds. A Yankees sweep, meanwhile, would put them in a playoff position for the first time since May 29. Both teams have a lot at stake.

Thanks to a rally in the fifth inning against the Boston bullpen (and evasive work in the seventh inning), the Yankees secured a victory from behind in the opener double (NY 5, BOS 3 in Sept sleeves). Here are six takeaways from the first game of Tuesday’s doubles program.

The local kid had a good afternoon

Growing up in the Bronx, Andrew Velazquez dreamed of one day wearing stripes and playing at Yankee Stadium. He signed a minor league deal with his home side during the last offseason, and when Gleyber Torres injured his thumb earlier this month, the Yankees summoned Velazquez from Triple-A. His dream had come true.

“This is where my love for baseball started. I can’t wait to put on the uniform, ”Velazquez told reporters, including Dan Martin of New York Post, after joining the team on the road last week. “It looks a bit like my early days (MLB) again. ”

Velazquez, 27, marked the start from a shortstop in Tuesday’s opener of the doubles program, and he impacted both sides of the ball. In the first inning, he made an excellent running mark on Hunter Renfroe as Renfroe attempted to take third base, helping Jordan Montgomery escape a traffic jam. One inning later, Velazquez hit a two-run two-run single to open the scoring. He also put in another great defensive play in the sixth inning.

“Another day, just better seats,” Velazquez joked after the game. “The boys are fighting. That’s wonderful. ”

Velazquez had two more chances for big hits, although he flew to the center with two inside and two outside in the fourth inning, then was struck out on goals. loaded and two withdrawals in fifth. Even then, it was a pretty good afternoon at the baseball stadium for the Bronx product.

“A huge hit to get us there, two outs. Great job there to give us the lead, ”said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. “A great game that he made very easy to get on the backhand [Rafael Devers] outside. Really special game. We saw him in spring training. We saw a guy we all loved. All the coaching staff said, “We love this guy and what he can do defensively. “In Triple-A, he had a very good season and deserved this opportunity. It’s good to see him come here and contribute. ”

Houck held back the Yankees again

During his brief MLB career, Red Sox right-hander Tanner Houck was successful with the Yankees. He limited them to two runs (both unearned) in 13 2/3 innings spread over two starts and one relief appearance until Tuesday, and in those 13 2/3 innings, he pulled out 15. The lunge Low arm and Houck’s power match very well against New York’s heavy, right-handed roster.

Velazquez’s two-point single was the only flaw on Houck’s line on Tuesday afternoon. He limited the Yankees to just two runs on five hits (all singles) in five innings, striking out two and walking zero. The Yankees made plenty of contacts against Houck, although their average exit speed was only 84.3 mph. It was a lot of weak contact, not a lot of quality contact.

“If he’s improving, that’s a talent for the Cy Young,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Houck ahead of the game. “He was really good. He’s been really good for a while, and we’re very impressed not only with the way he goes about his business between the lines, but also in the clubhouse… He’s been really good, his stuff is in. the rise. We are very satisfied with its evolution. ”

Sox did damage with two strikes

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The Yankees are starting to recover their list of COVID players. Gerrit Cole returned on Monday, Montgomery and Gary Sánchez returned on Tuesday, and Anthony Rizzo is expected to join the squad later this week. Cole was dominant on Monday. Montgomery was OK at best on Tuesday, limiting the Red Sox to three runs in 4 2/3 innings while on a short leash in his first start since August 1.

“We’re just trying to keep the game tight and finish with W’s,” Montgomery said after the game. “I wanted to set the tone today for this first game. ”

Boston charged Montgomery and the Yankees for poorly executed shots, especially for the two strokes. In the third inning, Enrique Hernández turned a 0-2 count to walk on walks, then Xander Bogaerts fielded a 0-2 pitch to left field for a two-run single tying. Two innings later, Christian Vázquez stabbed the surface of the second deck 3-2 for a solo homerun.

The Red Sox entered Tuesday with a 22.8% strikeout rate, below the league average of 23.5%, and they are among the best two-stroke batting teams in baseball. They rank second for batting average (0.178) and third for hit percentage (0.297) in two-stroke count. I know it sounds terrible, but the league averages are .165 and .267 in two strokes, respectively.

Boston’s bullpen melted

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As good as Houck was Tuesday and has been this season, the Red Sox rarely let him go through training a third time, and it was still true on Tuesday. Cora retired her young right-hander after 18 batters, exactly two laps in the lineup, and that decision exploded on the Red Sox. They needed three relievers to get three strikeouts as the Yankees took the lead in the fifth.

First out of the bullpen: Garrett Whitlock, a former Yankees prospect picked up in the rule 5 draft last offseason. After removing DJ LeMahieu on takes to start the fifth inning, Whitlock pushed Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge to put the tie-breakers and go-ahead on base. Lefty Josh Taylor came in next, and he accompanied Joey Gallo to load the basics. Four batters, three walks for the bullpen.

“I feel like we see this a lot now with our guys. Lots of heavy hitters, ”said Boone. “Back to Sunday [against the White Sox],[(Lucas)Giolitothrowing77pitchesinthreeinningsWeweren’tabletoreallybreakthroughonhimbutthemorewedothatthemoreweputourselvesinpositiontobustthroughIthinktheguysaretakingalotoftoughteamat-batsrightnowandGardyandJudgyreallysettingthetablethereandGalloaswellandwereabletocomeupwithbighitstogetalead »[(Lucas)Giolitothrowing77pitchesinthreeinningsWeweren’tabletoreallybreakthroughonhimbutthemorewedothatthemoreweputourselvesinpositiontobustthroughIthinktheguysaretakingalotoftoughteamat-batsrightnowandGardyandJudgyreallysettingthetablethereandGalloaswellandwereabletocomeupwithbighitstogetalead »

Taylor was forced to remain in the game because of the three-batter minimum, and it played right into New York’s hands. Righty Luke Voit, filling in for Rizzo, dunked a broken bat two-run single into center to turn the 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 lead. Giancarlo Stanton pinch-hit for the lefty swinging Rougned Odor and shot a rocket single back up the middle to drive in an insurance run.

Although the Red Sox bullpen was very happy to walk batters that inning, Stanton turned it loose in a 3-0 count, and the result was a 116.3 mph single. He hit it so hard that Renfroe had trouble handling the hop in center field. Stanton has 97 batted balls at 116 mph or better since Statcast launched in 2015. No other player has more than 33.

« That was a tough fifth inning. Tanner gave us four, » Cora said following the game. « Where we were bullpen-wise, matchup-wise, we felt like Whit could get through the fifth, and JT in the sixth against some of those lefties. We ended up walking Gardner and Judge, and we felt JT was a good matchup against Gallo and Voit, actually. So we went to him. We walked Gallo, then the bloop single. At the end of the day that’s what they do. They control the strike zone, they don’t chase too many pitches, and the walks today put us in a bad spot. »

The total damage in New York’s go-ahead fifth inning: three runs on two singles and four walks. All three outs were strikeouts too, so the nine-batter, 40-pitch inning featured only two balls in play (the Voit and Stanton singles). Boston’s bullpen faced 15 batters and put nine on base Tuesday afternoon. Since Aug. 5, the bullpen has allowed 36 runs in 39 innings.

« We still have good stuff, right? We’ve got to make sure we get ahead guys and put them away, » Cora added. « There’s too many deep counts. We’ve been walking a lot of people. We’ve just got to be better in those situations. »

The Red Sox blew a golden opportunity

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It is no secret the Yankees are having major bullpen issues. Aroldis Chapman is hurt and Zack Britton is pitching so poorly that he asked out of the closer’s role. The usually reliable Chad Green has been shaky at times as well.

« Obviously we’ve played more than our share of really close ones, » Boone said after Tuesday afternoon’s game. « The good thing is I think our guys are really comfortable in those situations. Whatever the outcome may be, guys are comfortable in those spots. »

New York’s top reliever at the moment — and really all season — is righty Jonathan Loaisiga, who spent the last three years working as a swingman. He’s found a home in the bullpen though, and has become Boone’s most-trusted reliever. Boone went to Loaisiga to face the middle of the Red Sox lineup in the sixth inning Tuesday, and he retired the side on eight pitches.

With an important win there for the taking, Loaisiga went back out for the seventh, though the Red Sox loaded the bases with no outs on three ground ball singles. It was easy to think another Yankees bullpen meltdown was coming. Instead, Loaisiga got Travis Shaw to fly out to left, then struck out Hernández and Renfroe to end the game. Bases loaded, no outs, zero runs.

« Lo was great, » Boone said. « A broken bat dribbler to start the inning and a good at-bat by Vázquez shooting it the other way, then another rolled hit. He didn’t flinch. You could just see his confidence out there like, ‘I got this.’ He was able to execute and wiggle out of it. It’s a great job. »

« It’s a different kind of energy when you come into a game and you try to close the game, » Loaisiga said earlier this month. « It’s hard to explain the sensation. »

Boston still owns the season series …

… but the Yankees gained ground in the postseason race. Even after the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader, the Red Sox are 10-4 against the Yankees this year, and they’ve outscored them 64-48 in the 14 games. The season series has been extremely one-sided in 2021.

More important than the season series is the postseason race, however. Here are the updated wild card standings following the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader:

  1. Athletics: 68-51
  2. Red Sox: 69-52
  3. Yankees: 67-52 (1 GB)
  4. Blue Jays: 63-54 (4 GB)
  5. Mariners: 63-56 (5 GB)

According to FanGraphs, New York’s postseason odds improved from 56.1 percent to 61.4 percent following Tuesday afternoon’s win. Those head-to-head wins again the team you’re chasing are huge this late in the season. The Red Sox, meanwhile, saw their postseason odds slip from from 83.5 percent to 79.1 percent with the loss.

The Yankees and Red Sox will play the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader at 7:05 p.m. ET.

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