The 2022 season got off to a fairly auspicious start for the New York Yankees. Facing their arch-rival, the Boston Red Sox, who knocked out the Bombers in last year’s AL Wild Card Game, New York took two out of three games this weekend. Although they couldn’t complete the sweep Sunday by virtue of stranding too many baserunners, the Yankees showed off strong pitching all weekend. Timely hitting also helped them in the first two games, especially from Giancarlo Stanton and Anthony Rizzo, who were the standouts in these three contests. Here’s a recap of the opening Yankees-Red Sox series.
Yankees-Red Sox Series Recap
Game 1 (4/8) – Yankees 6, Red Sox 5
Opening Day took place on Friday after a washout the previous day. The game got off to a rough start for the Bombers. Ace Gerrit Cole, who struggled in the Wild Card Game loss last year, went through more of the same in the first inning Friday. After issuing a four-pitch walk to Kiké Hernandez to open the game, Cole surrendered a towering second-deck shot to Rafael Devers, staking Boston to a two-run lead. Xander Bogaerts followed with a single, then J.D. Martinez doubled Bogaerts home. The Yankees were in a 3-0 before an out was recorded. Luckily, Cole recovered and incurred no further damage in the inning.
The Yankees needed a quick answer at the plate, and Anthony Rizzo provided it. Following a one-out single by Aaron Judge, Rizzo hit a mammoth two-run homer to right-center. Just a few minutes earlier, it had seemed the wheels were coming off already. Luckily, this homer changed the tenor of the game. Once Cole escaped the first inning, he settled in nicely. He was pulled after the fourth inning due to a rising pitch count, but he pitched three scoreless innings after the rocky first.
Giancarlo Stanton led off the fourth with a solo shot to tie the game. Two innings later, an RBI single by Alex Verdugo put Boston back in front 4-3. The Yankees answered in the bottom of the eighth with a DJ LeMahieu homer to tie it. They then put together a two-out rally in the bottom of the ninth, but Stanton struck out with a chance to win it.
In the 10th, the Red Sox took advantage of the dreaded “ghost runner” rule. Bogaerts singled in Jonathan Arauz, putting Boston back in front 5-4. Michael King recovered to end any further threat. The Yankees followed suit in the bottom half with a bases-loaded sac fly from Gleyber Torres. In the 11th, King retired the side to strand the ghost runner at second. In the bottom half, new Yankee Josh Donaldson became the hero with a single up the middle to score Isiah Kiner-Falefa. The Yankees walked off with a 6-5 win.
Game 2 (4/9) – Yankees 4, Red Sox 2
The Red Sox jumped back in front for the second consecutive day. In the top of the second, Verdugo launched a two-run shot to right field off Luis Severino. Two innings later, the Yankees answered. Donaldson led off the inning with a single. Two batters later, Rizzo hammered yet another two-run homer to tie the game. In the sixth, Aaron Judge led off the frame with a walk. Following a Rizzo popout, Stanton came up and crushed one over the left-field bullpen to put the Yanks in front 4-2. This made six straight games against Boston in which Stanton homered, which is a major league record. The score held steady after that, and Aroldis Chapman came on to close out the victory.
The real story in this game was the Yankee bullpen. Following Severino’s removal after three innings, six New York relievers combined to shut out Boston the rest of the way. Ron Marinaccio (in his major league debut), Miguel Castro, Lucas Luetge, Chad Green, Clay Holmes, and Chapman each pitched a scoreless inning. Notably, none of them surrendered a hit, either. Despite a relatively quiet offensive day besides the two homers, the bullpen made sure to lock the game down.
Game 3 (4/10) – Red Sox 4, Yankees 3
Once again, Boston got out to a quick lead. In the top of the first, Devers and Bogaerts hit back-to-back one-out singles. The latter was a liner that went off starter Jordan Montgomery’s ankle. Montgomery was in obvious pain, but miraculously stayed in the game. J.D. Martinez then ripped a double to left to score Devers. Two batters later, with the bases loaded, Christian Arroyo hit a sac fly to score Bogaerts and put the Sox up 2-0. Montogomery recovered to escape further trouble.
In the Yankee third, Rizzo and Judge walked, and singled, respectively, to start the inning. Stanton then came up and ripped an RBI single to get the Bombers on the board. In the fourth, after Montgomery was pulled with runners on second and third, Arau hit a sac fly off reliever Clarke Schmidt to restore Boston’s two-run lead. In the bottom half, Rizzo came up clutch once again with a two-run single to tie the game. Boston reclaimed the lead in the sixth when Bobby Dalbec led off the frame with an opposite-field solo shot. The slim lead would hold the rest of the way. In the bottom of the ninth, Jake Diekman struck out the side against the heart of the Yankee order: Judge, Stanton, and Gallo, to finish things off and avoid the sweep.
The Yankees struggled with runners in scoring position all night, with the exceptions of Stanton and Rizzo, who had three outstanding games at the plate to start the year. New York failed to cash in on several scoring chances, leaving 11 runners on base for the game.
To recap, this Yankees-Red Sox series had a little bit of everything. Both teams pitched well, although there were no real pitcher’s duels given the mid-range scoring in all three games. Each bullpen was stretched quite a bit, since not too many starters are going deep yet with the abbreviated spring training. Both teams also got some timely hits. Stanton and Rizzo were the main contributors for the Yankees. While Devers, Verdugo, and Martinez each contributed early in games for Boston, Dalbec’s homer ended up being their most important hit of the weekend, as it was the key to them salvaging one game.
The Yankees’ homestand will continue with a four-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays and their high-octane lineup starting Monday night. The Red Sox are starting a three-game set Monday at Comerica Park against the Detroit Tigers before they head to Boston for their home opener Friday.
Giancarlo Stanton, Anthony Rizzo, Gerrit Cole, Kiké Hernandez, Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, Anthony Rizzo, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Alex Verdugo, DJ LeMahieu, Jonathan Arauz, Michael King, Gleyber Torres, Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, Aroldis Chapman, Ron Marinaccio, Miguel Castro, Lucas Luetge, Chad Green, Clay Holmes, Jordan Montgomery, J.D. Martinez, Christian Arroyo, Clarke Schmidt, Bobby Dalbec, Jake Diekman