By Stephen Nover

Friday, July 23

Yankees minus $1.05 at Red Sox

We’re about to find out what the Yankees are made of.

The Yankees have suffered a number of gut punches caused by their erratic bullpen, none worse than their 5-4 extra inning loss to the Red Sox on Thursday. Boston came back down two runs in the ninth inning with two out against Chad Green to pull out the extra inning victory. The Red Sox also trailed, 4-3, entering the bottom of the 10th before taking advantage of four wild pitches by Brooks Kriske to win.

No Yankees pitcher ever had thrown four wild pitches in an inning before. Not even Ryne Duren, who was nearly blind and an alcoholic.

Kriske is back in the minors – probably where he belongs – and the Yankees’ chances of getting back into the AL East race depends a lot on this game. Aaron Boone has a tired bullpen. But he also has his ace today – Gerrit Cole – along with closer Aroldis Chapman. Boone likely regrets not using Chapman a third straight game following Thursday’s excruciating loss.

This was Boston’s eighth win in 10 games against the Yankees this season. However, one of New York’s victories came six days ago when Cole beat the Red Sox by allowing only one run on six hits in six innings with 11 strikeouts. Cole had thrown a complete game shutout of the powerful Astros prior to that start with 12 strikeouts. So it can safely be assumed Cole is past any initial problems caused by baseball’s renewed crackdown rule on foreign substances.

Boston is pitching lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, who has a 5.19 ERA. Rodriguez has looked much better lately, but even at his best he’s not nearly in Cole’s elite class.

So getting Cole in the pick range holds interest for me. The Yankees are 9-4 in their last 13 games despite Thursday’s loss. They are 50-45, own a winning road record and have the second highest on-base percentage against lefties in the American League. We’re not exactly talking about a bottom-feeder here.

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