Scott makes fixes while Chapman flounders in Red Sox walk-off win

Scott makes fixes while Chapman flounders in Red Sox walk-off win

BOSTON — It’s a weird time when Robby Scott looks better than Aroldis Chapman, but here we are.

Good for the Red Sox. And very, very disappointing for the Yankees.

“Two big innings by [Matt Barnes] and then Robby Scott who throws a quality inning,” Sox manager John Farrell said Friday night after a 5-4 walk-off win at Fenway Park, where Chapman walked in the winning run. “And both guys have [scuffled a little] the last few times on that last road trip. So to be able to put up zeros, three zeroes, that was the difference in this one.”

Boston’s strength has been New York’s pitfall, and may perhaps be its downfall in the division race. The Yankees’ relief corps has Aaron Judge’s group of mashers sliding in the American League East. The deficit is 4 1/2 games.

What’s Aroldis Chapman doing walking in Andrew Benintendi with the winning run? What’s he doing with a 4.35 ERA?

It was not long ago that Craig Kimbrel and Chapman were comparable elites. Now, a Red Sox bullpen with upstarts like Scott — who had a rough end to the first half but rebounded in his first chance after the break — is making a back-end duo of Dellin Betances and Chapman look second-rate.

From the start of June, the Red Sox have had the best bullpen ERA in the majors. The Yankees are in the middle of the pack, 14th, at 4.30. 

“Look at the way Matty’s been throwing the ball pretty much all year. Not just Matty and I, the whole pitching staff,” Scott said. “Bullpen’s been throwing the heck out of the ball.”

Betances rebounded on Friday night to strike out the side in the eighth inning. The Yanks’ normally dominant righty has a respectable 3.07 ERA, but he arrived at the All-Star Game with five runs and eight walks allowed in three July innings.

Things were rough for the lefty Scott to end the first half too. Pitching in his first full big-league season, he gave up seven runs in his final 4 2/3 innings.

Then he went to the tape.

“Yeah I mean just kind of started, just kind of going back and looking at some video from the beginning of the year and going back and looking at when things are going well,” Scott said. “There was a couple little things but nothing major. … Everything that we’ve kind of worked on his having the same delivery from pitch to pitch.

“Just keeping my hands a little bit lower as I’m coming up. Just kind of getting back to what I was comfortable doing. It just helps with the separation, keeping everything [in time]. I was kind of raising my hands a little bit higher during that stretch for whatever reason. If we knew the reason we would never do it type thing. Just kind of staying compact, and you know, working with everything.”

Scott in the ninth inning Friday got a ground out (Didi Gregorious), a strike out (Garrett Scott} and a foul pop up (Jacoby Ellsbury), keeping the score 4-3 and setting up the Sox’ two-run rally in the bottom of the inning.

A ball didn’t leave the infield in the bottom of the ninth, and Chapman wasn’t helped by his defense. But where Scott was before the break, Chapman might be now. He's allowed five earned runs in his last four innings pitched.

“Actually, that’s a good question,” Chapman told reporters, including NJ.com's Brendan Kuty, about his lack of swings and misses. “I’m going to go back and try to see footage and see why because I honestly don’t know.”

Sale on the latest JBJ spectacular catch: 'What's wrong with that guy?'

Sale on the latest JBJ spectacular catch: 'What's wrong with that guy?'

The catches are becoming routine but that doesn't make them any less spectacular.

"'What's wrong with that guy?'" is what Chris Sale asked third baseman Brock Holt after they watched Jackie Bradley Jr. turn what surely looked like an extra base hit off the bat by the Angels' Yunel Escobar into another highlight-reel grab in the first inning of the Red Sox' 6-2 victory over the Angels in Anaheim on Friday night. 

"I literally, I looked at Brock and said, 'What's wrong with that guy?'" Sale told reporters, including MassLive.com's Jen McCaffrey. "It just seems like once he makes a great catch, it's like, all right, that's the best one. And then he makes another one, and ok, that's the best one now. It just seems like he's always raising the bar. It's fun to watch."

Less than a week after robbing the Yankees' Aaron Judge of a home run with his catch in the triangle at Fenway (below), Bradley explained yet another spectacular catch, this time to NESN's Jahmai Webster.  

“Off the bat, it was well hit,” Bradley Jr. told Webster “Head[ed] towards the gap, I believe he had two strikes on him, so I was playing him toward the opposite field a little bit. I took off, tried to gauge as much as I possibly can, tried to time up my steps to try to make a leap...I wanted to go for it.”

"That's a big-time play by a big-time player," Sale said. 

"I don't know if you expect it, but I guess we're starting to, especially with what they're doing out there," Sale said. "Those guys, all four [outfielder, Bradley, Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi and Chris Young], they work as hard as anybody, and they cover a lot of ground. I've said it before, it feels like we have four outfielders out there sometimes playing in the same game. It definitely doesn't go unnoticed by us as pitchers, and I think our whole team appreciates the effort all the way around."

On Twitter, JBJ's play drew an "Angels In The Outfield" comparison from fellow center fielder Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles.