On “Mozzarella Joint” night in the press lounge at Yankee Stadium, the Bronx bombers made Swiss cheese out of the boys from Beantown. Banging out eight of their thirteen hits and six of their nine runs off of Boston’s starter David Price. The sellout crowd of 46,194 got a mouth full of Yankee baseball 2017 style. Great pitching by a new version Michael Pineda and a home run clinic by an awakening giant in Gary Sanchez, sent the Red Sox home with many questions to answer about their team, that was picked to dominate this year. They have now dropped four of five to the Yankees this season.
Pineda this year has been everything the Yankees thought they were getting back in 2014 from the Seattle Mariners. four hits, two walks and eight strikeouts over seven innings in today’s equivalent of a complete game. It would have been a seven inning shutout if not for a throwing error by Chase Headley, allowing Xander Bogaerts to reach first base with no one out in the fourth inning. Bogaerts would later score on a passed ball by Sanchez. Pineda’s 90 to 96 mph fastballs and 87 to 89 mph changeups, complemented his nasty, deep, late breaking 84 to 85 mph sliders. Leaving the confused Red Sox hitters walking away from the plate shaking their heads and asking the plate umpire if they had swung at a strike.
For the second night in a row, the Sox outfield of Mookie Betts in right and Jackie Bradley Jr., could not communicate, misplaying an out into a single. They looked like a loosing couple on “Dancing with the Stars” as they did the Cha Cha in right center. The second misplayed ball in as many nights by these two normally very good outfielders went along with other sloppy play by the longtime Yankee rivals. They clearly miss Dustin Pedroia in their lineup as well as in the field. Also the absence of “Big Papi” David Ortiz is evident both in the locker room and on the field.
And then there is Aaron Judge and Sanchez. The “Judge” was 3 for 4 tonight. Raising his average to .330. One of his hits almost decapitated Price in the third inning. The sound of the bat hitting the ball when he makes contact, is so loud and different from all the other hitters. Like the cracking of a tree coming down in a forrest. That long third inning saw Sanchez take a flat 87 cutter to deep left center for a three run homer. One of two he would launch off of the $30,000,000 man from Boston. Guess the price wasn’t right for the Red Sox last night.
You could sense the making of Swiss cheese in the first inning when Betts lead off the game with an infield hit, only to be erased by a blistering throw by Sanchez as he caught Betts trying to seal second. I had him timed at 1.76 on that throw. The scouts around me were all comparing their watches to see if they had mistimed the throw. They all concurred that it was off the charts fast. The pro average pop time is 1.85 seconds. Don’t be surprised if you see Sanchez and Judge selling beers between innings soon. They seem to be able to do it all.
This young Yankee team is just getting started and we could be witnessing the beginning of something very special here. I would expect to see Brian Cashman solidify the weak corners in the infield soon and make this team complete. But for now they look like a team that is “for real.” As in legitimate makers of Swiss cheese of other ball clubs!