The New York Yankees headed up to Boston for a crucial three-game series against the Boston Red Sox this weekend. While the Tampa Bay Rays already clinched the division, the Yankees could have still taken home-field from the Red Sox in the wild-card game with a sweep.
Game 1: Yankees Win 8-3
The bats wasted no time getting the Yankees ahead. They jumped ahead with three runs in the first inning and the Yankees would not surrender the lead for the rest of the game. The biggest contributors were Anthony Rizzo, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, and Brett Gardner, who each had multi-hit games. Their victim was Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi, who lasted only 2.2 innings and gave up seven earned runs.
On the other side, the Yankees sent out their ace, Gerrit Cole, to pitch the opener. He was his usual brilliant self for five innings, but Rafael Devers got to him in the sixth with a 3-run home run. Cole’s final line was an underwhelming 6.0 innings pitched, three earned runs, and six strikeouts. The Cy Young award is slipping away at this point. He will need to be near perfect in his final two starts and Robbie Ray, the current frontrunner, would need to get lit up.
Game 2: Yankees Win 5-3
The Yankees offense struggled to get anything going against Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta. Finally, they were able to chase him in the sixth when they scored on a wild pitch. Thankfully, Nestor Cortes Jr. and the Yankees bullpen were able to keep it a one-run game heading into the eighth inning. Then, with two outs, Giancarlo Stanton crushed a 452-foot grand slam over the green monster. Not only was the home run extremely clutch, but the dramatic nature of such a mammoth shot made for quite the spectacle. This is definitely in the running for the most exciting moment of the Yankees’ 2021 regular season.
As great as the Stanton grand slam was, perhaps just as great was seeing Luis Severino pitching meaningful innings. He pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth inning which was instrumental to the Yankees win. His last appearance left some questions about his velocity because his fastball sat at only 94 MPH and topped out at 95. But, in this game, his fastball peaked at an encouraging 98 MPH. Furthermore, he’s been featuring his changeup more than he used to and is getting great results. All in all, it just feels good to see Severino back on the mound.
Game 3: Yankees Win 6-3
The final game was yet another thrilling, comeback victory for the Yankees. Like the second game, the score was tight through the middle innings. The Red Sox took a 3-2 lead in the seventh after a weird sequence of events in which the Yankees dropped two routine pop-ups.
The breakthrough inning would once again be in the eighth. Aaron Judge smoked a double that plated two runs and gave the Yankees the lead. However, there was quite a controversial moment in Judge’s at-bat when a dropped third strike was called when it appeared that the ball was only dropped on the transfer. Nonetheless, Judge got another chance and he did not waste it. Stanton followed up with a tack-on home run to make it a 6-3 ballgame and they would go on to win by that score. Stanton showed up in a big way this series as he homered in every game.
You couldn’t have scripted a better weekend for the Yankees. The sweep puts them a game ahead of Boston for the first wild card spot. The Yankees will try to stay hot in their final two series, against the Jays and Rays respectively.