Game 88: NYY vs. BOS — You can’t predict baseball… but you can lead the AL East.

There are rare cases where games against the Red Sox are rather routine. This was so far from one of those games. Today’s game was the final game of the Yankees’ weekend series in Fenway, the final game before Gardner, Betances, and Teixeira fly to Cincinnati to represent the Yankees in the All-Star Game. And it was anything but a typical game. And honestly, I don’t think anyone knew that the Yankees would be several games above the rest of the AL East going into the All-Star Break. The Yankees weren’t “supposed to do much of anything this year”. But you can’t predict baseball.

While Nathan Eovaldi did earn the win today (his 9th this season), he did so exhausting his reserve of pitches — 102 pitches over just 5 innings, giving up 7 hits, 3 runs, no walks, and 4 strikeouts. Those 3 runs came in a 3-pitch 3rd inning. Back-to-back singles got runners on base to score on back-to-back 1-out singles. Another RBI single would score that 3rd run for the Red Sox before the final 2 outs of that inning were made. (Small note: Eovaldi’s 100th pitch of the game was clocked at 100 mph on the radar gun; he recently made the list of the hardest throwing pitcher in the AL, with an average fastball of 96 mph. He’s not named “Nasty Nate” for nothing.)

In the mean time, the Yankees racked up their own offensive show. In the 2nd, Mark Teixeira led-off with a single and then scored on Brian McCann’s big 2-1-out 2-run home run over the Green Monster seats. Then he came back in the 5th and led-off with a double, moving to 3rd on Chase Headley’s single and then scoring on the pitcher’s balk to tie up the game.

In the 6th, Brett Gardner led-off with a single and then scored on Alex Rodriguez’s double. Rodriguez then scored on Chris Young’s 1-out double, which forced the Red Sox into their bullpen. Young would then score on Headley’s 2-out double before the inning was over, effectively doubling the Red Sox score in a single inning.

Going into the bottom of the 6th, Eovaldi’s day done, it was on to Adam Warren, who really didn’t have a much batter day than his last outing (and I’m guessing he’s looking forward to the break to regroup). His lead-off double scored on a 1-out single before it was on to Justin Wilson, who did what he does best — get out of the jam and just keep plugging away. Dellin Betances got some time on the mound as well, keeping the Red Sox from scoring.

Rob Refsnyder played in his second MLB game today with the Yankees, and after going hitless last night, he was due for something good. Especially as his family drove all the way from California to see him play this weekend at Fenway. He reached base safely in the 5th on a fielder’s choice and then got his first ML hit, a lead-off single in the 7th. And then he was due up in the 9th inning.

Headley led-off that inning with a walk, and after one out, Refsnyder stepped into the batter’s box. On the 5th pitch of the at-bat, he sent the ball flying into the last row of the Green Monster seats for a big 2-run home run his first ML home run. (Yes, he got the ball back for his new collection of great MLB milestones.)

And into the 9th inning, the Yankees went with a nice lead. And though it wasn’t a save opportunity, they sent Andrew Miller in for the close of the game. he promptly gave up a lead-off walk and a strikeout, and then the Yankees defense got messy (as if they were suddenly possessed by the, well, Red Sox). The a batter reached 1st safely on a throwing error. Then another batter reached safely on a catch error (by Refsnyder, his first ML error, but I’m guessing he didn’t keep that ball); a run scored on that error. A sacrifice fly scored the final Red Sox run before Miller got the final out and ended the game and the inning with yet another exhale. I’m guessing he’s looking forward to the break for his own re-grouping process as well.

Final score in Boston: 8-6 Yankees, Yankees win series 2-1.

Several events happened this weekend in anticipation of the All-Star Game this Tuesday. The Fan Fest has been is in full swing at the convention center there in Cincinnati, and today there were two exhibition games — the celebrity softball game and the Futures’ Game. The Yankees were well-represented at the Futures’ Game by minor league prospects Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. Judge, representing on the US team as the DH today, batted 6th, went 1-for-4 with a run scored; Sanchez was the starting catcher for the World team, batted 5th and hit a solid double. The US team outplayed the World team, with a final sore of 10-1.

Onto the All-Star Game updates…

First, the winners of the Fan Vote were (no surprise, really) 3rd baseman Mike Moustakas (KC) and pitcher Carlos Martinez (STL). This just goes to show you that when Missouri’s teams are winning, their fans are passionate to make sure the rest of the country is aware of that fact.

Second, for those of you who voted for one of the other guys, several of those final fan vote candidates were selected to replace some injured or unavailable players previously selected.

  • Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (COL) was selected to replace the injured infielder Dee Gordon (MIA), who is out due to a dislocated thumb injury.
  • Fan-selected outfielder Matt Holliday (STL) is still on the DL due to a lingering quad strain and will still be inactive this next week and therefore will be replaced in the starting roster by player-selected outfielder Joc Pederson (LAD). Outfielder Ryan Braun (MIL) was selected to fill his place on the reserves. (Fun fact: a left fielder will be replaced by a centerfielder who is replaced by a right fielder.)
  • Due to the rule (for the safety of pitchers) that any starting pitcher who throws on the Sunday before the ASG is thus unavailable to pitch in the ASG, two pitchers are unavailable to play in the ASG. Max Scherzer (WAS) will be replaced by Clayton Kershaw (LAD), and Sonny Gray (OAK) will be replaced by Hector Santiago (LAA).
  • And 2nd baseman Brian Dozier (MIN) was chosen to replace Jose Bautista (TOR), out due to a sore shoulder.

And finally, the Home Run Derby brackets are officially set. In the first bracket, Albert Pujols (LAA) will face Kris Bryant (CHC); that winner will face the winner of the Joc Pederson (LAD) and Manny Machado (BAL) bracket. Josh Donaldson (TOR) will face Anthony Rizzo (CHC); that winner will face the winner of Todd Frazier (CIN) and Prince Fielder (TEX). The final two will face each other for the title. What’s interesting about this line-bracket is the variety of rookies and veterans and past Derby winners and really amazing overall players will be on display tomorrow night. Sometimes, it’s really obvious which players are just going to run away with this competition, but I really think it’s anyone’s title to win. Watch tomorrow on ESPN at 8:00 pm EST.

Can’t wait to see Gardner and Teixeira and Betances represent the Yankees on Tuesday (and at all the events leading up to the game)!

Go Yankees!

{Media note: You guys are going to have so many great videos to watch from this weekend over the All-Star Break!}

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