BOSTON – (Staff Report) – The Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees play a total of 19 games against each other in this 2018 Major League Baseball season. After three of those games, there’s a lot to be said of a rivalry re-heating on a long, low boil:
Boston’s Rick Porcello (r) and catcher Sandy Leon
No. 1 – After a brawl game that saw both Red Sox relief pitcher Joe Kelly and Yankees 1B/DH Tyler Austin ejected and suspended, tonight’s game had only minor sparks and a few batters hit by pitched balls.
No. 2 – The Red Sox have an early season (2-1) lead in the season series and an impressive (10-2) start on the season.
No. 3 – The Yankees leave Fenway Park at (6-7) and 4.5 games back in the AL East with a long, long way to go before there’s anymore scoreboard watching.
No. 4 – Most importantly for the Red Sox was the 7 inning, two hit, zero runs, zero base-on-balls and six strike-out performance by Rick Porcello who threw 99 pitches and 69 strikes on his outing which was interrupted by a 45-minute rain delay in the 6th inning.
Porcello returned to allow an Aaron Judge double and a Giancarlo Stanton single in the 7th before he returned to form and retired New York’s Didi Gregorius on a fly ball to right, and then struck-out both Gary Sanchez and Aaron Hicks.
To back Porcello’s outing, the Red Sox scored four times in the 2nd inning, stringing together infield hits (Eduardo Nunez), walks (Jackie Bradley Jr and Brock Holt), an RBI single by catcher Sandy Leon, a sacrifice fly RBI by Mookie Betts, an RBI ground-out by Andrew Benintendi and an RBI single by Mitch Moreland who had come in as a reserve when starting 1B Hanley Ramirez was beaned in the 1st inning and had to be removed because of a right wrist contusion.
X-rays on Ramirez’ hand were negative but the HBP did fuel some more sparks from the volatile Boston vs. New York rivals, but nowhere near the two altercations from a night ago.
Hanley Ramirez was removed in the 1st inning
On the night, Nunez went 2-for-3, scoring twice and doubling while Sox right fielder Mookie Betts went 0-for-4 but had two RBI with his SAC fly off NYY starter Sonny Gray who pitched 3 innings+ but allowed seven hits and six earned runs, along with three wild pitches.
Boston reliever Craig Kimbrel earned his fourth save of the young season when he was called upon to put out a small three-run 9th inning brush fire at the hands of Sox middle reliever Marcus Walden who was chased after pitching only 1 (plus four batters) and allowing three runs, two earned as he threw only 25 pitches and 12 strikes tonight.
The Sox matched their best start in franchise history, tying efforts in (1904, 1918, and 1952). The strong start results from Boston scoring six or more runs in each of their last five games. They are 81-4 in their last 85 games when they’ve scored six-plus runs.
The Yankees depart from Fenway Park along with a crowd of 36,341 slightly damp fans. New York will head to Detroit for a weekend series against the Tigers. LHP Jordan Montgomery will take the mound for NYY to face Detroit’s Mike Fiers. Meanwhile, Boston remains at Fenway for a four-game holiday weekend series against the Baltimore Orioles. LHP Eduardo Rodriguez will throw for the Sox against Baltimore’s (0-2) righty, Chris Tillman Friday night. The holiday, Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts, falls on Monday when the famed Boston Marathon weaves its way from Hopkinton, Mass to Boston and the Red Sox play their traditional 11:00am start Monday.
While Chris Sale is scheduled to pitch for Boston on Sunday, the starters for both Saturday and Monday remain as TBD by Boston’s new manager Alex Coro.