After getting blown out 16-1 in Game 3, it's all CC Sabathia to save the New York Yankees
Well that went better than expected. The Boston Red Sox blew the doors off the New York Yankees, winning 16-1 and moving one step closer to clinching a spot in the ALCS.
I’ll admit, I was super nervous before this one. Problems are amplified in a five-game series and it appeared as if the Yankees were exploiting all of them. The bullpen struggled mightily, Mookie Betts was nullified at the plate, and David Price was completely obliterated in his start.
As a result, the Yankees split at Fenway Park and secured a chance to clinch at home. With their ace and their most seasoned veteran set to start game 3 and 4, things looked bleak for Red Sox Nation.
I’d like to pretend like I knew better than to buy into this hype, but that’d be a lie. Heck, even if you saw a Red Sox victory coming last night, there’s no way you saw it going down like it did.
I mean, 16-1? Consistent offensive output in nearly every inning? A quality start from Nathan Eovaldi against one of the best lineups in baseball? This was a near-flawless performance by the entire team with some record-breaking moments just for good measure.
So how did we get here?
It all starts with the offense. I know the focus is often on postseason pitching, but early run support can work wonders in giving a starter room to breathe. In game 1 and game 3 of the series, the Red Sox scored first. Suddenly, a base-runner doesn’t induce panic. A pitcher can focus on the batter, knowing that he’ll be okay if said batter puts the ball in play. It changes the entire dynamic of a game.
While the Red Sox were able to squeak out a victory in game one, there were noticeable holes in the lineup as well. Mookie Betts needed to be better than 1 for 7. As Jared Carrabis pointed out on the Section 10 Podcast, “The offense goes when Mookie goes. So I need Mookie to go in Yankee Stadium.”
Well Mookie went, going 2 for 5 with a walk and an RBI. More importantly, the bottom of the order – who had been abysmal in the first two games of the series – put together a great day, collectively. This provided Mookie with ample opportunity to #DoDamage, and that kept big innings alive.
…the fourth comes to mind, when the bottom of the order was able to load the bases, allowing Mookie to walk in a run and Andrew Benintendi to clear the bases with a double...
With no Yankees pitcher able to put together a scoreless outing, New York ultimately settled on catcher Austin Romine to close out the ninth. He actually did quite well, considering. But the biggest moment came when Brock Holt hit a homerun over the right field wall and completed the cycle in the second-to-last at-bat of the game. Holt becomes the first player to EVER hit for the cycle in a postseason game.
Brock Holt was just one of Alex Cora’s lineup changes last night and all panned out beautifully. In addition to Holt’s ridiculous 4-for-6, 5 RBI outing, Rafael Devers and Christian Vasquez delivered as well. Both went 2-for-6, each with an RBI, and three runs between them.
Finally, we have to talk about the performance by Nathan Eovaldi. The former Yankee went 7 innings against the Bronx Bombers and only gave up one earned run. He limited the Yankees to just 5 hits, earning 5 strikeouts along the way. While Drew Pomeranz could have defeated the Yankees with 16 runs-scored by the Red Sox (maybe), Eovaldi’s mere presence seemed to completely silence the opposing fans.
His goal was to get strikes early and he did so beautifully. In fact, he started 0-1 against 21 of the 26 batters he faced. Aaron Judge was limited to just one hit and the Game 2 hero, Gary Sanchez, returned to form, going 0 for 4. Shattering the illusion that these guys are gods at the plate is far more important than simply winning the game. That sort of thing can carry over into the rest of a series.
Tonight, Rick Porcello takes the mound against the veteran lefty, CC Sabathia. Porcello has a 2.31 ERA in four starts against New York this season, but this will be his first postseason start in Yankee Stadium. He’d be wise to copy the blueprint of Nathan Eovaldi and try to get strikes early against this dangerous lineup.
For the Yankees, the focus will be endurance from Sabathia. The Red Sox have successfully knocked CC out of the game early throughout the season and will be looking to do so tonight. With this being a must-win for New York, I’d expect a relatively short leash for the starter. We could always see other starters come out in relief, if necessary, but with a guarantee game 5 at home, digging into this bullpen could be as important as anything else; win or lose.
Tonight’s game is at 8:07pm ET on TBS. All other series are decided with the Houston Astros waiting for the winner and the LA Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers set to square off in the NLCS. You don’t want to miss this.