Fickle Finger of Blame All Around. Boston 3 NY 2 in 10

Billy McKinney makes spectacular, on-the-run catch at the wall with 2 outs and a runner on in the top of the 10th, keeping the score 3-2 and giving Yanks a final chance.

Michael King blew another save — allowing a run in the 8th to tie the score 2-2, and send the Yanks into extra innings, where Boston scored their inherited runner, and the Yankees did not. On a nationally televised Sunday night game at Yankee Stadium.

Some pointed the finger of blame at Gleyber Torres, who muffed the throw back into the infield after the leadoff batter of the 8th, Enrique Hernandez, singled. But King walked the next batter so Hernandez would’ve been on 2nd with nobody out anyway. So the finger pointed back at King. Others like reporter Bryan Hoch invoked “Michael Kay‘s fallacy of the pre-determined outcome” — saying if the runner was still on 1st there could’ve been a double play. Finger of blame back on Gleyber.

In reality the Yankees didn’t score enough runs. Their only 2 runs came in the 2nd on a 2-out grounder up the middle that hit the 2nd base bag and bounded over the 2nd baseman’s head into the outfield.

And so the finger of blame pointed at manager Aaron Boone — who rested Giancarlo Stanton this evening, bringing him up as a pinch hitter late. But Boone was playing the pretty-hot hitting Josh Donaldson at DH, DJ LeMahieu at 3rd, and Gleyber at 2nd — giving Stanton the night off after being hit on the thigh with a pitch the game before.

And so the finger of blame kept swirling all over the place — GM Brian Cashman, for assembling this feeble hitting team. ESPN, for mic-ing the catcher Jose Trevino one inning.

Red Sox fans privately mused it was because of Brayan Bello, their terrific young right hander, who threw 7 innings of 3-hit ball. But Schmidt matched him.

“Clarke was really good again,” said manager Aaron Boone on Schmidt afterwards. “They overloaded him on lefties. He navigated really, really well. There were a lot of at bats in there where — he really controlled every situation really well. I thought it was another great step in his growth.”

The Yanks lose 2 of 3 in the 3-game set, fall to 38-29, and are now 9.5 behind Tampa and 4 behind Baltimore. The Red Sox improve to 33-33.

1. Schmidt Pitched Great Again

One thing for sure it wasn’t Clarke Schmidt‘s fault. He threw another great start — they’ve been getting better and better. This one, enthused Suzyn Waldman on the radio, may have been his best yet, since he did it against the good-hitting Red Sox in an important game with all lights on.

Schmidt’s one mistake was a homer allowed in the 2nd to Justin Turner on the 8th pitch. He got Turner out on a 9-pitch at bat in the 4th. After 4 innings, Schmidt was at 65 pitches; 17 had been to Turner.

Schmidt was given a 2-1 lead in the 2nd and made it stand up — limiting the Red Sox lineup into the 6th. He left after getting the first of 4 straight lefties due up in the 6th. His final line: 5.1 innings, 4 hits, 1 run, 4 K’s, 0 walks. He lowers his ERA to 4.70.

2. Trevino Gives Yanks Early Lead

The Yanks were up against Brayan Bello — the elite, 24-year-old pitching prospect for Boston whom Pedro Martinez has taken under his wing. Pedro has said Bello is more talented than he was.

Bello pitched 7 innings of 3-hit ball.

The only time the Yanks got to him was in the 2nd, when Josh Donaldson led off with a walk, and with 2 outs, Billy McKinney doubled, and then Jose Trevino hit a grounder up the middle that hit the 2nd base bag and bounded over the head of 2nd baseman Enrique Hernandez for 2 runs.

Willie Calhoun hit a homer just foul in the 5th off Bello — but it went to the wind because it was just foul.

3. Nice Job Ramirez

The Red Sox loaded their lineup against Schmidt with 4 lefties at the top — centerfielder Jarren Duran (batting .281), Alex Verdugo (batting .280), Masataka Yoshida (batting .301), and Rafael Devers. And then came Justin Turner the tough righty.

Schmidt navigated that lineup all night — and then after getting Duran to lead off the 6th, was removed for lefty Nick Ramirez who got lefties Verdugo and Yoshida on groundouts. Ramirez got lefty Devers on a groundout to start the 7th — doing a Nestor Cortes head-first dive to 1st to get him — before yielding to Michael King.

King walked Turner but got a double play to end the inning on a terrific play by Oswaldo Cabrera who stabbed the ball and took it himself.

All was looking good — all of Boone’s decisions (like playing Oswaldo at shortstop giving Anthony Volpe the night off) seemed to be working. Yanks up 2-1 going to the 8th.

4. King (and Gleyber?) Blows Save

But leading off the 8th, Hernandez singled to left — and went to 2nd when the throw back in was mishandled by Gleyber Torres.

King walked Reese McGuire — then a sacrifice moved the runners, and a groundout by Duran tied the game 2-2.

“Fallacy of the Pre-Determined Outcome”

Some blamed Torres, but King walked the next batter so it seemed moot. “Michael Kay‘s fallacy of the pre-determined outcome” is usually reserved for a scenario where the Yanks are down a run, an error or pitcher screwup allows additional runs to score putting the Yanks 2 or more down, then next inning someone on Yanks hits a HR that would’ve tied the game if they were still only down X. But you can’t assume the pitcher would’ve thrown the same pitch to the batter if only up X runs, and maybe the other team brings in another pitcher, etc. Many variables. Here the next batter walking came within the flow of the inning.

“We walked the next batter so. Does it change it? Maybe. We just have to be more careful with the ball. Period. Everything effects everything. We walked the next hitter, so,” said Boone afterwards. “Would that have happened, none of us know. So if you look at it through that lense not really but we have to be more careful with the ball.”

5. McKinney’s Great Catch

Clay Holmes pitched a shutout 9th, but the Yanks went out 1-2-3 against Kenley Jansen in the bottom of the 9th.

Hernandez singled with 1 out in the 10th off Ron Marinaccio to plate Boston’s inherited runner and put Boston up 3-2.

With 2 outs, Pablo Reyes hit a drive to left that had 2-run homer or extra base hit written all over it — which would have finished the Yanks off. But Billy McKinney made a Great running catch at the wall to end the inning.

6. Yanks Come ‘This’ Close in 10th

Boston pitched former Yankee Chris Martin — the big 6’8 righty — in the bottom of the 10th. After just having made the great catch to save additional runs and the game in the top of the 10th, Billy McKinney led off and did his job — hitting a 1-2 cutter for a sac fly to move the Yanks’ inherited runner to 3rd.

But Jose Trevino struck out, and then Anthony Volpe struck out for the old ballgame.

The Boxscore

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