I have seen a lot of bad Yankees games at Fenway Park. A lot of bad games.
May 18, 1999: Joe Torre returns to the Yankees after missing the beginning of the season to battle prostate cancer. David Cone and Pedro Martinez go toe-to-toe, but trailing 3-2 late, Jason Grimsley can’t keep it close as he gives up three runs in the bottom of the eighth.
Oct 18, 2004: Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS, which also happens to be the third-worst night of my life. The second being Game 6 and the first being Game 7.
April 14, 2005: Randy Johnson gets lit up for five runs and Tom Gordon turns a 5-5 tie into an 8-5 loss with an embarrassing eighth inning. And to top it all off, Gary Sheffield brawls with some fans in right field.
May 1, 2006: Johnny Damon returns to Boston as Friendly Fenway’s center field gets littered with money. Tied 3-3 in the eighth, Tanyon Sturtze gives up the go-ahead run. With two men on and David Ortiz due up, Joe Torre calls for the Mike Myers, the lefty specialist and the man the Yankees acquired for the sole purpose of facing Ortiz. Ortiz cranks a three-run home run into the New England night.
April 22, 2007: After losing the first two games of the series, the Yankees take a 3-0 lead in the rubber match on Sunday Night Baseball. But after holding the Red Sox scoreless for the first two innings, rookie Chase Wright allows Manny Ramirez, J.D. Drew, Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek to go back-to-back-to-back-to-back on him to take a 4-3 lead. The Yankees would take the lead back in the sixth only to have Scott Proctor give up a three-run home run to Lowell in the seventh.
April 24, 2009: The Yankees lead 4-2 in the ninth with two outs and Mariano Rivera on the mound and Kevin Youkilis on first base. Jason Bay hits a 1-0 pitch over the wall in center to tie the game. In the 11th, Damaso Marte gives up a home run to Youkilis that landed just yesterday.
April 26, 2009: Hoping to salvage the final game of the series, Andy Pettitte falls apart in the fifth. Tied 1-1, Pettitte wakes David Ortiz up by allowing Ortiz to double home the go-ahead run. With Jacoby Ellsbury on third and Ortiz on second following the double, Ellsbury steals home on Pettitte and Jorge Posada and steals Pettitte’s pride, dignity and self esteem in the process.
(A period of a lot of Yankees wins.)
April 29, 2016: The Yankees have a 2-0 lead in the seventh inning. With two on and two outs, Masahiro Tanaka gives up a two-run double to Jackie Bradley Jr. to tie the game. In the eighth inning, Dellin Betances gives up a two-run home run to David Ortiz as the Yankees lose 4-2.
April 30, 2016: The Yankees lose 8-0 and Rick Porcello pitches seven shutout innings.
You can add April 10, 2018 to the list.
Thankfully, I’m up in Boston for all three games of the series because I was inside Fenway Park for a total of about 30 minutes on Tuesday night.
Last year on April 26, Luis Severino pitched a seven-inning shutout at Fenway. Then on July 15, he gave up one earned run over seven innings at Fenway. This start looked like his Aug. 12 start against the Red Sox at the Stadium when eight earned runs in 4 1/3 innings.
Severino didn’t have it from the start. Mookie Betts doubled, Andrew Benintendi walked and Hanley Ramirez singled. After three batters and 10 pitchers, it was 1-0 Red Sox with runners on first and third and no one out. With Chris Sale going for the Red Sox, the game was most likely over already. But just incase anyone thought the Yankees might still win, Severino made sure to erase those thoughts in the second inning.
Four more hits, including a two-run Benintendi triple and the Red Sox had a 4-0 lead. I knew it was game over, but I stayed anyway as I watched Brittni’s teeth chatter as she was somehow cold inside her long-sleeved shirt and two coats and hood. Two innings later when the Red Sox added a fifth run and the “Yankees suck” chants started to build with intensity, I had seen enough. I said, “Let’s go,” to Brittni and she moved like they were giving away puppies outside the park.
In the cab on our way to our friend’s apartment to catch up and drink away the pain of a loss to the Red Sox, I watched Aaron Judge homer (thanks to the FOX Sports Go app, which is the best invention of all time), and I thought it would really suck if I left this game early and the Yankees somehow come back. But I was frozen from my short time at the game and I knew better than to think the Yankees were going to mount a five-run comeback against Sale. I made the right decision.
At my friend’s apartment, I watched the bottom of the sixth inning unfold, which will hopefully go down as the worst inning of the 2018 season for the Yankees. If it doesn’t, then that’s going to be quite an inning.
Tommy Kahnle relived Severino to start the six. Here is how his performance went:
Double (two runs)
Sacrifice fly (one run)
Then the always reliable Chasen Shreve came in to get the last out of the inning. It took him a while:
Hit by pitch
E5 (one run)
Walk (one run)
Home run (four runs)
That’s nine runs on three hits (all extra-base hits), four walks, one hit by pitch and one error. The Red Sox were up 14-1 and I was so pleased with my decision to leave the game in the bottom of the fourth inning for warmth and cheaper beer.
The loss put the Yankees back under .500 at 5-6 and 4 1/2 games out in the AL East, but at least it wasn’t a heartbreaking loss. Sure, this game is now on my list of Fenway Park disasters, but it wasn’t like the two losses to the Blue Jays or the Sunday loss to the Orioles. It was just a good, old embarrassing rout, and those are easier to shake off.
Part II of my three-day, three-game trip to Boston coming tomorrow.