The Red Sox have been an absolute force this season with a 78-34 record that is by far the best record in baseball. Boston’s .696 winning percentage is .065 percent higher than the second place Astros in the MLB standings.
The Yankees came into the four game series 5.5 games back of Boston with a chance to put themselves on the precipice of first place. The Yankees came to town Thursday with Brain Johnson on the mound, who had one of the stranger outings you could have. Johnson went 5 IP with 6 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BBs, gave up 3 HRs yet had 11 Ks. While this outing wasn’t great, he did just enough to have a decent start keeping the Red Sox in the game. C.C Sabathia would get the start for the Yanks and did not look sharp. He threw 77 pitches in just three innings, with two earned runs, four walks, and two strikeouts. Once C.C. departed with a fairly quick hook the Red Sox offense exploded and never looked back. Jonathan Holder came in and got obliterated allowing seven earned runs without recording an out. That’s a living nightmare for a pitcher and the Red Sox walked away from a strange game with a 15-7 victory. (Also Steve Pearce had a decent game)
Night two was the turning point for the series. Porcello plunked Brett Gardner the lead-off hitter in the right tricep. The count was 0-2 and there was clearly zero intent to hit Garnder, yet Severino threw high at Mookie Betts with a 96 MPH fastball on the first pitch of his outing. Cora was not thrilled, came out of the dugout and got ejected before he could even get a word in. This would seemingly ignite the Red Sox offense as Andrew Benintendi would hit a ground-rule double which would be followed up by Steve Pearce’s fourth homerun of the two-game series. Ian Kinsler would later walk, steal his eleventh base of the season, and score on an Eduardo Nunez well placed pop-up. Boston’s three-run first was enough to get the job done as Rick Porcello threw a one-hitter, allowing one run and striking out nine, for a 86-pitch complete game masterpiece. Final: Red Sox 4, Yankees 1
Game three was more of the same from the Red Sox pitching staff as Nathan Eovaldi threw eight scoreless innings, allowing only three hits, one walk, and struck-out four. Eovaldi has now thrown fifteen scoreless innings as a member of the Red Sox, dropping his season ERA to 3.38. As a team, the Red Sox have a league leading 2.44 ERA since the All-Star break, the Dodgers are second with a 3.23 ERA. Mitch Moreland opened the scoring with a two-run homer (13th) in the first inning. J.D. Martinez would follow suit with his league leading 33rd homerun in the 4th inning to make it 3-0 early. Leon hit a controversial ground-rule double to make it 4-0 in the 7th. The only sore spot for the Red Sox was the play of Craig Kimbrel who gave up two hits, two walks, and allowed a run. He did get two strikeouts but looked extremely shaky and needed 32 pitches to complete the inning. Final: Red Sox 4, Yankees 1.
Tomorrow the Red Sox will come into the series finale with a 8.5 game lead and a chance to sweep their division rival. We will see Masahiro Tanaka (9-2, 3.84 ERA) vs David Price (11-6, 3.97 ERA) on Sunday Night Baseball. This will be a big game for the Yankees as they are digging themselves into a hole late into the season. It will also be a huge game for Price who needs to prove that he can compete against the Yankees after getting shelled in Yankee Stadium last time he squared off against the Evil Empire. The playoff race is starting to really heat up and the Red Sox are staying hot.
Scott Neville – Head Baseball Writer – WTF Sports