99.6%. That was the Red Sox’s win expectancy when Vicente Padilla struck out Andruw Jones to open the seventh inning on Saturday. Freddy Garcia did not make it out of the second inning and rookie southpaw Felix Doubront had handcuffed the Yankees’ lineup through six innings, surrendering only a solo homer to Mark Teixeira along the way. The game was all Boston with eight outs to go, and that’s when the national FOX broadcast cut away to the ninth inning of Phil Humber‘s perfect game.
When the broadcast returned 15 or so minutes later, the Yankees had cut the lead to 9-5 thanks to Nick Swisher‘s grand slam. Boston still had a 94.6% win expectancy, so things really weren’t out of hand. The Yankees’ offense just never stopped, however. Following the Jones strikeout, the Yankees did not make another out until Jones struck out again later in the inning.
Eight batters reached base and seven runs had crossed the plate in between Andruw’s whiffs, shrinking the lead and the Red Sox’s win expectancy to 9-8 and 67.1%, respectively. Eighteen (!) of the next 21 batters New York sent to the plate reached base after Jones opened the seventh with that strikeout. Eighteen of 21. The onslaught went…
1. Russell Martin single. (Boston WE: 99.4%)
2. Eduardo Nunez infield single, Martin to second. (99.0%)
3. Derek Jeter walk, bases loaded with one out. (98.3%)
4. Swisher grand slam, four runs score. (94.6%)
5. Robinson Cano double. Padilla lifted for Matt Albers. (92.1%)
6. Alex Rodriguez safe on error by Mike Aviles, Cano to third. (88.4%)
7. Teixeira homer, three runs score. Albers lifted for Franklin Morales. (72.0%)
8. Curtis Granderson single. (67.1%)
9. Jones strikeout, two outs in the seventh. (72.8%)
10. Martin ground ball, Granderson out at second. Inning over. (77.6%)
11. Nunez single. Morales lifted for Alfredo Aceves. (64.0%)
12. Jeter walk, Nunez to second. (52.0%)
13. Swisher double, two runs score and Yanks take 10-9 lead. (20.9%)
14. Cano intentionally walked, runners on first and second with no outs. (18.7%)
15. A-Rod walk, bases loaded. (12.6%)
16. Teixeira ground rule double, two runs score. (4.0%)
17. Granderson intentionally walked to load the bases. Aceves lifted for Justin Thomas. (3.6%)
18. Raul Ibanez lined into double play, two outs with men on second and third. (8.4%)
19. Martin double to center, two runs score. (2.5%)
20. Nunez infield single, Martin to third. Thomas lifted for Junichi Tazawa. (2.5%)
21. Jeter infield single, run scores and Nunez to third after stealing second. (1.1%)
Swisher then flew out to center to end the carnage and the inning. The Yankees had scored 14 total runs in the seventh and eighth innings, only the second time in team history they’ve score at least seven runs in back-to-back innings. The nine-run comeback — Red Sox were up 9-0 after the fifth inning — tied for the largest comeback in franchise history, done four other times and thrice against Boston. It took seven relievers to get six outs, and the 14 runs allowed by the Red Sox’s bullpen in those two innings are more than the Yankees’ bullpen has surrendered all season (13).
With a 6.68 ERA and a 5.41 FIP, the Sox boast the least effective pitching staff in the league. The bullpen is even worse at 8.44 ERA/6.05 FIP. Mark Melancon‘s ineffectiveness/demotion is surprising but Andrew Bailey‘s injury is not. Aceves is much better than he has been though he did outperform his FIP by nearly a run and a half last season. Morales as a great arm and Padilla looked good in camp, but Thomases and Alberses and Scott Atchisons of the relief world are barely big league caliber, nevermind stalwarts on a contender. The pitching staff, specifically the bullpen, is a very real problem in New England.
The last eight months or so have been nothing short of disastrous for the Red Sox. Last September’s collapse was humiliating and depending on your opinion of rookie GM Ben Cherington and manager Bobby Valentine, may have resulted in some bad decisions. Boston is a talented team and will still win a ton of games, but there are more cracks in the dam right now than at any point in the last five or six years. The Yankees’ comeback win on Saturday was just the latest slap in the face.
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