Facing his former team, Garrett Whitlock came on to pitch in the top of the seventh inning Sunday afternoon, with two on and one out and the score sitting at 6-2.
His first task was facing the Yankees’ number nine hitter, Gary Sanchez. Whitlock, facing a full count, walked the Yankees catcher to bring up the tying run, D.J. Lemahieu, with the bases loaded and one out.
Whitlock set down Lemahieu on strikes, looking, with a high sinker. But, the side wasn’t retired yet, as Aaron Judge would step up to the plate. On a 1-1 delivery, Judge hit a high popup to first baseman Danny Santana, and after struggling to track it at first he squeezed it for the third out and to retire the side.
“I was trusting Vazqy (Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez). During our meetings, we knew exactly how we were going to attack him,” Whitlock said postgame Sunday about facing Judge. “I trusted Vazqy and we just stuck to the approach – we got some executed pitches and luckily he got out.”
The right-hander would toss a 1-2-3 eighth inning, and the Red Sox would go on to win 9-2 to complete the series sweep.
“It was a lot more fun today because this time the crowd was behind me, and not cheering on me to not do good,” he said after Sunday’s outing. “Got to love the Red Sox faithful – that’s for sure.”
The former 18th-round pick also tossed two one-hit innings on Friday against New York in the Red Sox’s 5-3 win. Weeks ago he tossed 1.2 one-hit innings against the Yankees in the Bronx, as Sunday’s performance made it 4.2 scoreless innings against his former team.
“Anytime you get a win against anybody it’s great – but then obviously with the history of the Red Sox and Yankees you love to beat the Yankees it’s great,” the Georgia Native said about sweeping the Yankees for the second consecutive time this season. “To take six of ’em so far this year, hopefully, we take a lot more than six.”
The Red Sox are now 6-0 against Whitlock’s former team, and regained first place in the division after Sunday’s win.
“I think the statement is, we’re here to win,” said Whitlock. “This isn’t just another year for the Red Sox. We got a competitive team and we’re trying to go out there and win every single day and we believe we can win every single day.”
Whitlock was selected by the Red Sox this past offseason in the Rule 5 Draft after the Yankees didn’t place him on their 40-man roster. Any Rule 5 pick has to stay on the major-league roster of the team they were picked by, which implies the risk of the draft. Clearly, Chaim Bloom has found a gem, and he’s been debatably the best arm on the Sox’s roster this season.
Through 22 appearances this season, the righty has posted a team-best 1.42 ERA. Across 38 innings, he’s surrendered 33 hits, 10 runs (six earned), three home runs, 11 walks, while striking out 40 batters.
The 6-foot-5 hurler has been a massive part of the Red Sox’s impressive 47-31 record, which has them sitting first in the AL East — that’s compared to last season, where they finished last in the AL East during the shortened 60-game season, with a record of 24-36.
(Photo: Billie Weiss / Boston Red Sox / Getty Images)