I was about 95 percent over that under disaster in Cincinnati last week. Hanley Ramirez gave me closure last night. Sometimes it takes a win like that to get you even after a real bad beat. Even more important might be what the loss did to the Yankees’ morale and the chances of our four-game sweep coming to fruition.
Joe Girardi is catching some heat this morning for his use of the bullpen in the ninth on Thursday night. Tommy Layne started the inning and got the first out, but Girardi had a short leash for the former Boston lefty. Instead of letting Layne work with a man on and a three-run lead, the skipper went back to Dellin Betances, who had thrown the last two days and got hit with the loss on Wednesday against the Dodgers. He imploded and threw another 21 pitches in the process, which all but guarantees that he won’t see the mound tonight. That could spell trouble for New York, who doesn’t have a whole lot of depth out there in the ‘pen after the trade deadline fire sale.
Boston’s bats are aware of the Yankees’ problems in the bullpen and will make 24-year-old rookie starter Luis Cessa throw lots of strikes. Cessa joined the starting rotation at the end of August and the first five starts of his career have been good. He’s thrown into the sixth inning or through six exactly in each and he’s seen good results, beating the Angels and Orioles before his first career loss to Tampa Bay last time out. In between those decisions came two solid no-decisions against Kansas City and Toronto. Aesthetically though, he resembles fellow countryman Esteban Loaiza, which could bring back fond memories for David Ortiz, who started it all with a solo homer in the eighth last night and then came up with a two-out, RBI single to get Hanley to the plate in the ninth. Papi still wants to get every young one he can before bidding farewell.
So if the kid can’t get the Yankees through six innings tonight, Boston could put the bullpen through the wash. Expect the Sox to approach this one like one of great mid-2000s matchup, working the count to bounce the starter as early as possible. With Mr. Buchholz on the other side, the fans might leave Fenway in time for last call.
Gut Says: Boston -1 (-121) *combining -160 ML and +115 RL
YTD: 34-23-1 +5.38
2015: 31-25-5 +1.09
2014: 45-28-3 +9.02