They did it again Friday night at Yankee Stadium, beating the Yankees, 5-4, in 11 innings and scoring the winning run when team manager Xander Bogaerts (why not keep him, Chaim?) made an excellent Reading and scored from third on a wild pitch that bounced past Yankee receiver Jose Trevino.
The Sox also got homers from Rafael Devers, Christian Vazquez and Bobby Dalbec.
Yes, Bobby Dalbec.
Boston hits well against the Yankees’ top pitchers, including Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes, and once-closer Aroldis Chapman, who spit the bomb at Dalbec. The Sox even managed to get frustrated Yankees manager Aaron Boone kicked out for the second time in two Boston-New York games. The Yanks have lost five of six.
All of this is a positive way to look at a Sox team that was dismal in July and nearly hopeless against American League East teams in 2022.
The Red Sox entered Friday night with a 5-12 record since June 27 and an 11-24 mark against the AL East. In 10 series against divisional opponents this year, the Sox are 0-9-1.
And even . . . with Nathan Eovaldi, Chris Sale and Garrett Whitlock (six up, six down, three strikeouts Friday) back on the injured roster, how would you like the Red Sox to beat the Yankees in a best-of-seven?
Ask a friend.
The Sox took an early lead over Jordan Montgomery with four straight hitters reaching base to start the game. Unfortunately, Boston failed to score after taking a two-point lead and having men in first and third with no one coming out.
With reduced speed, Eovaldi regained the lead in third, giving up a three-run homer to Giancarlo Stanton. Big Nate had not pitched since June 8 due to back inflammation. Spending several weeks on the injured list is an unfortunate part of Eovaldi’s CV. Last year’s All-Star season marked the first time since 2015 that Eovaldi was not on the injured reserve list.
Eovaldi’s injury history and contract means he’s unlikely to be a Red Sox in 2023. Along with Bogaerts, JD Martinez, Vazquez, Kike Hernandez and Jackie Bradley Jr., Eovaldi can leave the Sox for a bigger contract after this season. . You can expect most of them to disappear next year. This is the way to Tampa Bay.
Count this watcher as one disheartened by New England’s lack of media presence in the Yankee Stadium press box on Friday. Only the Globe (three reporters) and MassLive bothered to cover the Sox in this “big” series before the All-Star break. It made me wonder when was the last time a single Boston newspaper covered the Red Sox in New York. Probably never.
The Sox-Yankee games were certainly entertaining when they played at Fenway last weekend. Boston’s comeback wins in Game 3 of this series might have been the highlights of the Sox’s odd season.
Cora’s men chased the feel-good moment by traveling to the Trop Dome and losing four in a row to their Tampa cousins. Boston played incredibly sloppy baseball in the Citrus Circus tent, though Cora said Thursday’s 5-4 loss was better than the clown shows we watched on Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Friday, Bloom’s short-handed manager went to war with his usual salami bats at the bottom of his order. Poor Dalbec (.204), JBJ (.206) and Jeter Downs (.200) beat seventh, eighth and ninth for Boston. The trio entered the match averaging .071 (3 for 42) on the road trip. Do any of you remember Butch Hobson hitting 30 homers and batting in 112 runs while spending 142 of his games hitting in the bottom three spots of the order?
Dalbec had a good at-bat to finish first, fouling several two-pitch before scrambling to hold off two runners. Late in the second, he saw Matt Carpenter’s one-jump rocket pass between his legs. Incredibly, the ball was scored with a hit. These eyes have never seen a major league “base hit” that jumped between the first baseman’s wickets. Such is the state of modern official notation. It’s always easier to please two guys (the defender, the batter).
Then came the seventh when Bobby D chipped in against Chapman at 100 miles per hour and homered a left-hand homer.
Bogaerts was the hero of the 11th, making a bold run home on a ball which was conceded by Trevino. Ryan Brasier clinched it with a 1-2-3 11th.
There is hope for these deceptive Red Sox. They just need to stay in the wildcard pool and then try their luck in October against the division-winning, 100-plus Yankees. In the immortal words of Kevin Garnett, “anything is possible!”