Mitch's Sports Report: Red Sox Can't Complete Texas Sweep; Four Free Betances Passes Sink Yankees
The Boston Red Sox couldn't complete a season series sweep of the Texas Rangers, falling 8-2 in Arlington last night. Andrew Cashner flirted a bit with a no-hitter for Texas, keeping the Red Sox hitless into the sixth inning before Xander Bogaerts ended that hope with a two-run homer.
Rougned Odor got the Rangers on the board early with a two-run shot of his own in the second inning, and it wasn't a great night for Doug Fister, who couldn't get out of the fourth inning and gave up six runs, four of those earned, in what may have been his last start before the return of Eduardo Rodriguez to the rotation. The young lefty is scheduled to join the team in Florida for the four game series against Tampa Bay that starts tonight, with Chris Sale getting the start for Boston before he pitches in the all-star game, and he won't have to travel far to get there, with the game being played at Marlins Park in Miami.
If the NY Yankees want to accentuate the positive they can look no further than the franchise record rookie Aaron Judge tied yesterday, putting him in some pretty impressive company. Judge hit his league-leading 29th home run of the year at Yankee Stadium, joining Joltin' Joe Dimaggio for the most home runs in a season by a Yankee rookie, and Judge will shatter that record easily, potentially as early as tomorrow tonight when the Yanks host the Milwaukee Brewers.
But there is negativity in the Bronx as well, and it was on display in the eighth inning yesterday when Dellin Betances issued his fourth walk of the inning, throwing a not even close breaking ball to Russell Martin with the bases loaded, and that walk allowed the Toronto Blue Jays to snap a 6-6 tie and go on to a 7-6 win over the Yankees.
A Bronx cheer greeted Betances as manager Joe Girardi trudged to the mound to take the ball from his beleaguered reliever, a Bronx cheer being a chorus of loud boos peppered with some of the words the late George Carlin informed us we couldn't say on television, much less on the radio. It's a bit of a mystery and a problem what's going on with Betances this season, as he's been one of the better relief pitchers in baseball over the last few years, and closer Aroldis Chapman has also struggled, perhaps not 100% himself since coming off the disabled list. The Yankee line-up is still to be feared, and indeed the offense fought back from a 5-0 deficit yesterday after starter Michael Pineda gave up home runs to Justin Smoak and Kendrys Morales and another to Kevin Pillar. Judge's two-run homer started the comeback and yet another rookie making his Yankee debut, Ji-Man Choi, put New York ahead 6-5 when hit a two-run shot in the fifth. But a leaky bullpen can sink even the sturdiest of vessels and Russell Martin's homer in the sixth off Chad Green tied the game before Betances sank the ship with his four free passes in the eighth. The only good news for the Yanks yesterday, other than Judge joining Dimaggio in the record books, is that they didn't fall any further behind the Red Sox, still four games back and in second place in the A.L. east.
I've finally got good news for Mets fans. They were rained out against the Washington Nationals last night, so they did not suffer what could have been their fourth loss in a row. All snark aside the Mets are limping toward the all-star break, in fourth place in the N.L. east, 11 1/2 games behind the first place Nationals, and it'll be interesting to see which Mets players are up for grabs to teams looking to add pieces rather than sell them off after the all-star break.
With a 6-4 win over the Connecticut Tigers in Norwich last night, the Vermont Lake Monsters now find themselves tied for first place in the Stedler division with those same Tigers. Aaron Arruda was 2-for-5 on the night with a double and two RBIs for Vermont, and the Monsters got a great relief effort from Ivan Andueza, who pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on five hits for his third win of the year. At 9-6, the Lake Monsters are three games above .500 for the first time in five years and can sweep the Tigers with a win tonight in the series finale.
In the NECBL, the Vermont Mountaineers scored three runs in the second inning and then held off a late rally by the New Bedford Ray Sox to win 5-4 in Montpelier. Brett Malm doubled in two runs in the second and scored himself on an RBI single by Bryce Aldridge. Michael Koltak picked up the win, his first of the season and Reese Robinson got the save, preserving the one run lead by pitching two innings of scoreless ball. The Mountaineers are making the climb back to .500, now 9-11 on the season.
The Upper Valley Nighthawks brief two game losing skid is over after they pounded the Winnipesaukee Muskrats 15-3 in New Hampshire last night. Cam Alldred went six innings for the Nighthawks to cruise to the win, and the Nighthawks continue their hot season, now 14-7 on the year and in first place in the northern division.
At Wimbledon, it took three sets after she dropped the first, but Venus Williams defeated China's Qian Wang yesterday to make it into the third round of play. On the men's side second seed and number four ranked world player Novak Djokovic is in action about an hour from now.