The Boston Red Sox finished off the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium – a special joy to any Red Sox fan. Here are a few snippets from my observation of the series.
Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees fans can certainly agree on one aspect of the series – umpire Angel Hernandez should be employed in another vocation. Having three calls overturned in four innings must be a record. Hernandez currently has a suit against MLB and his “abilities” may quash that.
MLB has made some rather tepid attempts at minimizing the lengths of games. This is one area that will most certainly fail when the Red Sox play the Yankees. Even the blowout 16-1 game bordered on four hours.
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Tolerance is certainly not part of the composite makeup of the fan base of each team. David Price (16-7, 3.58) failed – again – and the Red Sox fans gave Price a nice chorus of disdain as he left the mound. Then there was Luis Severino (19-8, 3.39) getting even more hostility after his national embarrassment.
A missing in action bulletin has been issued for the offensive portion of Mookie Betts‘ game. The most valuable player in waiting disappeared in the series hitting just .188. In the 2013 ALCS, David Ortiz hit .091 against the Tigers but came back with a .688 against the Cardinals. Talent eventually surfaces.
Nathan Eovaldi is going to get some strong attention in the free agent market if he continues his trek through the playoffs similar to game three. I was not exactly clicking my heels when the Red Sox picked up the righty, but that one game made the deal worth it.
Gary Sanchez just got under a Craig Kimbrel pitch a wee too much, otherwise, a Game 5 would be in the works. I can certainly see the critique of Sanchez defensively as his positioning and ball-hawking abilities are in stark need of improvement. But I just consider Sanchez more dangerous against Boston than Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.
For the Red Sox, Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez remind me of Jim Hegan with their defense. Offensively they are not Carlton Fisk or Sammy White or even Bob Montgomery. Both have had one good offensive season and that may just be an anomaly.
Which team has the better future? Both have youth, but New York has more in the prospect bank and their wallet to fund some free agent adventures and potential trades. Next year the winning totals could be reversed.
Kimbrel reminded me in Game 4 of a boxer leading on points in the last round and just trying to hang on. Was it nerves? Seemed that way with his control. Kimbrel came about one foot away from a resurrection of Red Sox failures to the Yankees that have an illustrious place in local and national lore.
Eduardo Nunez made a great, but not spectacular play to end the game. The question is would Rafael Devers have made the same play? One strength I noticed with Devers is his ability to charge a ball – my opinion is Devers would have done so.
The amazing portion of the game-ending play was the extension of Steve Pearce to make the review challenge just an exercise in futility. The Red Sox could have had Mitch Moreland at first if he was 100% and Moreland would have done the same. I doubt that a 5′ 10″ Brock Holt would have accomplished corralling that throw.
The Red Sox had the advantage over New York on the bases with aggressive running and the ability to steal a base. Manager Alex Cora certainly advocates putting the pressure on the defense.
The first and last games of the series were the games that had players and fans on both sides checking pulse rates. The other two games – especially the second game – were forgettable. Having Holt go for the cycle and a position player pitch did cause a stir of interest.
Last season Red Sox Nation was totally behind the Astros in the ALCS and this year expect the same for the Yankee fan base. And those Astros? They are a machine and a very confident machine.
I was not surprised my Cora’s Madison Bumgarner approach to using Chris Sale out of the bullpen. The idea was simply to drive that stake through any Yankees hopes and Sale did just that until Kimbrel made me check my defibrillator batteries.
At the end of May, I had projected Didi Gregorius as the AL MVP. Then Didi fell apart – injuries and just poor performance. His defense suffered and Xander Bogaerts surpassed him although bWAR gives a 0.4 advantage to Gregorius. Of note is Bogaerts having a -19 Defensive Runs Saved.
The Yankees always seem to have this desire to dump Brett Gardner. I would take him in a moment. His bat and speed may have dropped a notch, but Gardner is still a solid player and a Holt like pest with the bat.