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Hope fading for Bronx Bombers

  • Boston’s Steve Pearce celebrates after hitting the second of three home runs during a 15-7 win over the Yankees Thursday ap photo

  • Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone, left, comes to the mound to relieve Jonathan Holder during the fourth inning Thursday after Holder was unable to get an out. AP PHOTO



For the Recorder
Thursday, August 02, 2018

Going into last night’s four-game series against the Yankees, the Red Sox were piling up wins like no team since the 2001 Seattle Mariners that finished 116-46 under manager Lou Piniela.

According to baseball-reference.com, the M’s lineup included four .300 hitters — Ichiro Suzuki (.350), Bret Boone (.331), Edgar Martinez (.306) and John Olerud (.302) — and the five-man rotation of Jamie Moyer, Freddy Garcia, Aaron Sele, Paul Abbott and John Halama was an astounding 80-28.

That ’01 squad and this year’s Red Sox team both had 75 wins on August 1, yet the Mariners would lose to Joe Torre’s Yankees in the ALCS. 

That’s the only hope Yankees fans have to hang their hats on, because Boston appears unstoppable. This week, Boston general manager Dave Dombrowski kept piling on by trading two minor leaguers to the Angels for Ian Kinsler.

Kinsler was batting .239 this season, but with enough pop in his bat to put 13 pitches out of the park. In his first game for Boston on Tuesday, he batted sixth and singled and struck out twice in four at-bats.

The acquisition confirmed that second baseman Dustin Pedroia is done for the season with a bad knee. Indeed, the Red Sox have moved from using utility players Brock Holt and Edwin Nunez to a bona fide position player in Kinsler, a steely vet who’s started 1,721 games at the keystone corner.

This is the third team in a year for the 36-year-old Kinsler, who was fined $10,000 last season for telling an MLB.com reporter that umpire Angel Hernandez “needed to find another job.”

He’s a hired gunslinger with nearly 2,000 hits and 247 home runs (nearly double Pedroia’s output) in more than 7,000 at-bats. He broke into the big leagues in 2006, the same year as Pedroia, and it’s an odd turnaround. The New York Post reported this week that in 2002 Pedroia beat out Kinsler for the second base job at Arizona State, forcing Kinsler to transfer to Missouri.

Meanwhile, Boston’s move to put Chris Sale on the 10-day DL with a sore shoulder may be pre-emptive considering his 15-21 record in August and September the past four years.

They need him healthy and able to win the ALDS opener, thereby preventing David Price from fretting over his 2-8 record in the postseason.

The Yankees will need a fast turnaround this weekend to stay in contention. Going into last night, they trailed Boston by 5½ games and were barely hanging on in the AL East. On Wednesday, Yankees hurler Sonny Gray was booed off the mound after allowing seven runs in fewer than three innings against a woeful O’s team at the Stadium.

What’s worse, rookie second baseman Gleyber Torres failed to cover first base on a bunt and second base on a ground ball to shortstop. Afterward, the camera caught coach Phil Nevin yelling in Torres’s direction in the dugout.

Last week, catcher Gary Sanchez loafed after a passed ball, and the lazy play of late has rekindled arguments about whether the Yankees were right to fire manager Joe Girardi for reportedly being too rough on the players.

Everything is magnified in pinstripes, and after Wednesday’s game Gray was confronted about a Tweet he sent to Rashun Dixon when they were minor league teammates. Responding to an unknown Dixon tweet, Gray wrote, “1. You didn’t go to college 2. You are black.”

Gray said the meaning of his comment was twisted, probably none more so than by the headline in bleacherreport.com that said: Gray’s Deleted Racist Tweets Cause Stir.

Gray has reportedly deactivated his Twitter account. No wonder.

Yankee fans might be expecting too much from a team that went from rebuilding to within one win of reaching the World Series last season. Despite landing Giancarlo Stanton in the offseason, four of their nine Opening Day starters are either injured or gone — Aaron Judge and Sanchez are on the disabled list, and Tyler Austin and Brandon Drury were both traded last month. 

Austin’s the batter who charged the mound after Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly hit him with a pitch in April, nearly causing Kelly to have a bad hair day.

Bad luck and breakdowns like Jordan Montgomery’s in May have hounded the Yankees all season. A week after GM Brian Cashman acquired J.A. Happ from Toronto, he was diagnosed with hand, foot and mouth disease. The 35-year-old southpaw is 7-4 lifetime against the Red Sox, but might miss his scheduled start in Boston on Saturday.

Cashman’s frantically moving pieces, trading for lefty reliever Zach Britton and right-handed starter Lance Lynn, but New York is 7-7 since last Friday the 13th. Barring a turnaround this weekend, Cashman will be gearing for a one game playoff that could cash him out before the fun begins.