What is the best medicine for losing 2 of 3 to the first-place Tampa Bay Rays for the Boston Red Sox? The answer is simple: a second straight sweep of the hated New York Yankees! Sit back and relax review the three biggest storylines from the two series against Boston’s two biggest rivals in the AL East.
#1: A No-Hitter Vanishes at the Trop:
After the Rays and Red Sox split the first two games, the real show stopper came in the series finale. Nick Pevatta pitched 6 ⅔ innings of no-hit ball before being lifted after throwing 100 pitches. The no-hitter would be carried into the 8th before Kevin Kiermaier broke through with a double off of reliever Darwinzon Hernandez. The Rays were held to just two hits all night and went 0 for 3 with runners scoring position, stranding seven base runners.
Unfortunately, that all came apart in the 9th inning thanks to some poorly timed bad defense. With two outs in the inning, Manuel Margot singled. He followed that up with a steal of second and before reaching third on an error by Christian Vasquez who was attempting to throw him out at second. Following an intentional walk to Joey Wendle, closer Matt Barnes uncorked a wild pitch, which allowed Margot to sprint home, just barely avoiding the tag from Barnes to complete an unexpected walk-off win. While Sox Nation could only shake their heads in disgust, the Rays finally were on the right side of a walk-off after suffering four walk-off losses in Chicago and Seattle.
#2: Eovaldi’s Dominance of the Yankees Continues
Nathan Eovaldi has mastered the art of shutting down the mighty Yankees. I was shocked to learn that he had surrendered one run or fewer seven of his eight starts against the Bronx Bombers since arriving in Boston. That trend was on full display on Saturday, as he tossed 7 ⅔ innings of one-run ball, while allowing seven hits, walking none, and striking out six. His only mistake came on his final pitch, where DJ LeMahieu smacked a 86 MPH hanger into the Sox bullpen.
The offense did all of its damage using the art of small ball: three sac flys and one infield hit. Boston finished with five infield hits, which accounted for half of the hits all night by their offense. What is even crazier about that stat, is the second sac fly was a foul popup to first baseman Luke Voit, where the Sox benefited from smart base running by Rafael Devers. That’s the first time I have ever witnessed that and I could laugh at the insanity of that type of play.
Speaking of usual, Hunter Renfroe, who is more commonly recognized for his ability to crush pitches into orbit, had three by himself. At the end of the day, I do not care how the Red Sox win, I will take any type of win against their biggest rival.
#3: Gerrit Cole Melts in the Heat
Gerrit Cole’s Sunday afternoon nightmare began on the game’s first pitch of the game. Kiki Hernandez deposited the first pitch into the front row of monster seats to Boston a quick 1-0 lead, but they were far from done. Four batters later, Rafael Devers smacked Cole’s 100 MPH fastball for an absolute moonshot three-run homer that landed 451 feet away from home plate. The ball was hit a blazing fast 113.7 MPH for anyone keeping track.
Cole would surrender one more home run to JD Martinez two innings later and would depart after 5 innings surrendering six runs on eight hits. Nothing better than ruining the Yankees’ series finale by knocking around their best pitcher on the way to punctuating a monumental sweep. They had a comfortable 6-0 lead through six innings and Sox Nation was smiling ear to ear. Just for good measure three more runs in the final two innings, which was highlighted by a Christian Vasquez solo homer in the eight. Four long balls in one day is never something I will complain about but wow.
Eduardo Rodriguez did the rest as he pitched six solid innings, surrendering two runs on five hits while striking out eight. His only mistake was leaving a 92 MPH sinker up and over the middle of the plate to Aaron Judge who promptly launched it into the Green Monster. The only other nerve-wracking moment came when the Yankees loaded the bases off of Darwinzon Hernandez with one out in the seventh. Whitlock quickly put my mind at ease striking out DJ LeMahieu and inducing a pop-out off the bat of Aaron Judge. The Yankees would only produce two more base runners the rest of the game and the combination of Whitlock and Yacksel Ríos closed out the game. The 9-2 win in the series finale with a loss by the Rays at Tropicana Field catapulted the Red Sox back into first place, right where they belong. More importantly, they have improved to 6-0 against the Yankees this season.
Thank you, Dustin Pedroia!
I cannot talk about the Yankees series without acknowledging the Retirement Ceremony of Dustin Pedroia that occurred before Friday night’s series opener. As a passionate Red Sox fan, who started watching this team since 2003, Pedroia was clearly a key part of the success of this team since 2007. His accomplishments include the AL Rookie of the Year in 2007, the 2008 AL MVP, a four-time All-Star, and a four-time Gold Glove winner. Oh yeah, and being a key cog in the lineup for the 2007 and 2013 world series championship squads.
Besides saying thank you to Pedroia, I will conclude this article by leaving the video of my favorite hits ever launched by Pedroia in his time in Boston. Get ready to hop into the time machine and set it to game seven of the 2007 ALCS. Look no further than those two hits to see why he was nicknamed the “Laser Show.” That is the perfect way to send your team into the world series and complete a comeback from a 3-1 deficit. Enjoy retirement Dustin and thanks for all the memories!
By: Whitney Dowds CruelFan.com