And just like that the undefeated season is over for the Boston Red Sox. Forty-year old Andy Pettitte was the youngest pitcher in pinstripes for the New York Yankees‘ 4-2 win over the Red Sox, preventing a crushing season opening sweep at the hands of their archrivals.
The Red Sox did a lot of things wrong that we didn’t see in their first two games. The bats connected for eight hits, but only walked once. They didn’t work the counts against Pettitte, enabling him to throw a mere 94 pitches in eight innings.
Not one Red Sox player saw more than 20 pitches, which was in sharp contrast to their first two games when nine players did so. Not surprisingly, only Dustin Pedroia could work a walk. Their fastest players, Jackie Bradley Jr., Jose Iglesias, and Jacoby Ellsbury, hit into double plays in preventing any sort of response to the Yankees’ quick 2-0 lead. Since the Red Sox obviously will not hit for power this year (no home runs so far this year) they need to play more of a National League-style baseball. They have to work counts, tire out pitchers, get on base and advance runners.
Surprisingly there were almost as many positives to take out of this game as there were in the first two wins. Will Middlebrooks finally broke out of his hitless start, going 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run. Ryan Dempster wasn’t great but did strikeout eight Yankees in just five innings. His problem was control, throwing a total of 43 balls. Iglesias continues to be serviceable, collecting two more hits. Going into this season Iglesias was hyped for his defense but has collected multiple hits in every game.
The most important thing the Red Sox did yesterday was show that they will fight to the bitter end in every game. Yes, 43-year-old Mariano Rivera picked up the save, but the Red Sox made it difficult by scoring a run. When Bradley came to the plate representing the tying run, visions of JBJ hitting a statement home run were running through my head. Unfortunately it was not to be as Rivera caught him looking on a pitch he had no business looking at to save the Yankees from a crushing opening series sweep.
What does this loss mean for the Red Sox? Feel free to leave your comments to continue the conversation.
Follow Aidan Kearney on Twitter @aidanfromworc