August 2, 2018

G110: Red Sox 15, Yankees 7

Yankees - 310 010 101 -  7  8  1
Red Sox - 011 813 01x - 15 19  1
In October 1981, one of my all-time favourite writers - Robert Palmer - watched the Rolling Stones play a concert in a small theater in Atlanta. Palmer was a veteran music writer and he was completely blown away by what he saw and heard. His review remains a joy to read, even 37 years later.

He had a rare gift for conveying both complex ideas and visceral emotion in an intelligent, direct, and almost conversational, style. More than halfway through the review, Palmer realizes his review is devolving into simply praising the hell out of every single song.
I could go on, but I don't think anyone would be that interested in a list of song titles and a series of notebook jottings that runs increasingly to rows of exclamation points and brilliant musicological analyses on the order of "great guitar solo," "rocks like crazy," "fuckin' A!"
That's how I felt after Steve Pearce's third home run of the game hit halfway up the light tower in left field and Ian Kinsler made a jaw-dropping throw from the left side of the infield in the following half-inning. How in the hell do you summarize a game like this? I have no idea.

All I know is I'm grateful I am not a beat writer on deadline when a game like this comes along. I'm more than content to sit in my chair and just shake my head and laugh and question if what I am seeing is really happening and filling every available blank space on my scorecard with chicken scratches of descriptions of various plays, statistical factoids, shitty umpire calls, bizarre things said by Dave O'Brien, and yes, rows of exclamation points.

Some details, then. As mentioned, Pearce hit three home runs, each one more prodigious than its predecessor. Mookie Betts had four hits and was on base six times. Brian Johnson (5-6-5-2-11, 104) set a career-high with 11 strikeouts in five innings. Four of the Red Sox's seven doubles came during a 13-batter fourth inning that was probably the most entertaining 30-35 minutes of the season.

The first seven batters reached base against Jonathan Holder who did not record an out. And all seven scored, as the Red Sox showcased an awe-inspiring diversity of talents that NESN's Dennis Eckersley rightly called "frightening". As the Red Sox were doing everything right, the Yankees made mistakes, and the Red Sox pounced on those mistakes, taking advantage like a pack of wolves singling out a disoriented straggler from a group of prey.

The Red Sox had 21 at-bats with runners in so-called "scoring position" in the first five innings. It was fucking glorious.

The fact that the Yankees led 4-0 in the second inning only makes what happened thereafter so much sweeter. The score was 4-2 when the Red Sox came to bat in the bottom of the fourth. Manager Aaron Boone had pulled CC Sabathia (3-3-2-4-2, 77) despite having a two-run lead. Sabathia had walked four, including Betts with the bases loaded in the second. As things turned out, Boone probably would have liked to have given CC another inning.

Holder walked Bradley on five pitches. Betts doubled high off the Wall, with Bradley stopping at third. Andrew Benintendi grounded back to Holder. Instead of running Bradley back to the base, Holder threw the ball to third baseman Miguel Andujar. Bradley broke for the plate. Andujar knew he had to avoid hitting Bradley with his throw, so he threw to the first base side of the plate. Catcher Austin Romine went to tag JBJ and somehow Bradley, with a head-first slide, was safe. NESN viewers never saw how he did it because all three replays were horrible. The first one was from about 100 feet away. In the second one, the critical moment at the plate was wholly blocked by the umpire. Because the third replay was at ground level, we had no idea where the plate was. It was one of the most amazing plays of the year - and it was completely botched by NESN. (Maybe a YES replay will be posted online.)

Benintendi stole second, the third of four steals in the first four innings (Betts stole second in the first inning and J.D. Martinez stole second in the third). But Benintendi's theft was more than a simple steal. Holder was more concerned with Betts on third and so Benintendi simply ran to second. Holder had no clue. By the time someone yelled at him and he stepped off the rubber, Benintendi was 80% of the way to the base and Holder still had the ball in his hand!

Holder was likely rattled because Pearce sent his next pitch completely out of Fenway Park for a three-run dong, turning New York's 4-3 lead into a 6-4 Red Sox advantage. Martinez doubled to the wall in left-center and scored on Kinsler's single near the right field line. Then Kinsler stole second. Eduardo Nunez poked a double into the left field corner, to make it 8-4. That was it for Holder (0-5-7-1-0, 25). His ERA rose from 2.06 to 3.50.

Chad Green took over and got two outs, but the Red Sox were not done. Bradley doubled to left-center, scoring Nunez. Betts and Benintendi both singled, bringing in another run. The Yankees brought in their third pitcher of the inning, Luis Cessa, who had been listed as Saturday's starter. He ended up pitching 3.2 innings, allowing seven hits and five runs.

The Red Sox's 15 runs tied a season-high (Royals, July 7) and the 19 hits was one fewer than their total against the Mariners on June 22. In addition to the eight-run explosion tonight, the Red Sox scored nine runs in the sixth inning against the Yankees back on April 10.

Pearce became the third Red Sox batter to hit three home runs in a game against the MFY, joining Mo Vaughn (May 30, 1997) and Kevin Millar (July 23, 2004). Both Vaughn and Cabin Mirror hit three solo shots, however.

The top five hitters in the Red Sox's lineup all had at least three hits and at least two runs scored. The last time any top five of a lineup did that was on September 19, 1943, when the Red Sox did it in a 14-0 win over the Philadelphia A's. (And tonight's impressive display came only two games after Boston's top five hitters went 0-for-24 with one walk on Monday.)

Betts is one of five Red Sox players who have reached base six times in one game against the Yankees. The others are Dom DiMaggio, Vern Stephens, Carl Yastrzemski, and Cecil Cooper. Only DiMaggio, Cooper, and Betts did it in nine innings, though.

The Red Sox lead the AL East by 6.5 games, their largest lead of the season and the biggest division lead they have enjoyed since 2013.

When Ian Kinsler batted in the third inning, Dave O'Brien blurted out "The son of a prison warden ..." (which was not the name of a Dusty Springfield tune (I checked)). When Kinsler came to the plate in the fifth, OB insisted "Kinsler does have World Series experience." It was unrelated to anything that was going on and I promptly replied: "I never said he didn't."

The entire fourth inning was great. In the top half, Jerry Remy talked at length about berating umpires for strike calls that he knew were correct. He was extremely adamant that he never apologized to an umpire, and seemed mildly annoyed that anyone would even suggest such a thing. He also talked about how he was sometimes apprehensive about coming back to Fenway after a bad road trip, knowing the fans were going to boo the hell out of all the players. Eckersley said he was never booed at Fenway, though he could not keep a straight face for very long. (I do wish Remy would stop referring to runs as "points" because they are not points.)

Here are the less-than-revealing replays of Bradley's amazing slide:

Too far away.


Where is the plate?

CC Sabathia / Brian Johnson
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Pearce, 1B
Martinez, DH
Kinsler, 2B
Nunez, 3B
Swihart, C
Holt, SS
Bradley, CF
The Yankees are in Boston for a four-game series. They are 5.5 games behind the Red Sox, who have the best record in baseball, at 75-34.
Friday: Luis Severino / Rick Porcello, 7 PM
Saturday: J.A. Happ / Nathan Eovaldi, 4 PM
Sunday: Masahiro Tanaka / David Price, 8 PM
Since May 18, the Red Sox are 45-19 (.703). They have won 19 of their last 24 games.

The Yankees put J.A. Happ on the disabled list (hand, foot, and mouth disease) this afternoon.

Chad Jennings, The Athletic:
"I keep telling y'all to get me some clips, and I'll put some numbers beside them for you."

Sounded good to us.

For 45 minutes on Tuesday, [Jackie] Bradley sat at his locker and watched video clips of 10 plays from throughout his career. He broke down each one in terms of its inherent difficulty and his own approach. He stood up, moved chairs, and gave a full demonstration of proper outfield defense.

And when it was over, he pulled out his phone to show us the one play we'd left off the list.


Benjamin said...

This video has a few more angles of JBJ's slide.

allan said...

Near end of T1, Remy says "The Yankees have come out swinging at the first pitch in this game."

1 of 7 batters swung at the first pitch.

4 of 7 batters did not swing at either first or second pitch.