Garrett Whitlock faced yet another high-leverage situation Sunday, and the Red Sox right-hander responded by shutting down Yankees slugger Aaron Judge in a crucial spot.
Whitlock’s seventh-inning performance was one of the many factors Boston earned a 9-2 win at Fenway Park.
Whitlock took the mound in the seventh after Darwinzon Hernandez allowed runners on first and second with one out and the Red Sox holding a 6-2 lead. Whitlock walked Gary Sanchez, the first batter he saw, to fill the bases with one out and New York’s top of the order coming to the plate.
Whitlock bounced back by striking out lead-off batter DJ LeMahieu for the second out of the seventh and induced bases-loaded fly ball as Judge was responsible for the last out of the inning.
Whitlock spoke about his mindset and approach heading into that at bat against the 6-foot-7, 282-pound Silver Slugger. Judge, of course, has the power to completely change the game with one swing of the bat best depicted by his 16 home runs this season and two career grand slams.
“I was trusting (Christian Vázquez),” Whitlock said during a postgame video conference. “During our meetings we knew exactly how we were going to attack him and so I trusted (Vazquez). We stuck to the approach, got some executed pitches and luckily he got out.”
Whitlock’s seventh inning shutdown obviously was his most impactful, but he came out for the eighth inning to retire the side, as well.
“I was just trying to get outs and throw quality pitches,” said Whitlock, who pitched 1 2/3 innings with one hit allowed.
It was quite the performance against the team who didn’t put him on the 40-man roster. Whitlock, as you may remember, became a Rule 5 Draft pickup by the Red Sox. It was a decision that now doesn’t look great for Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.