Nothing like a four game sweep of your archrivals and to virtually knock them out of the playoff race. It wasn’t a pretty sweep but the wins came in and the BoSox now lead the division by 3 games over the Orioles.
Game 1. Our starting pitching dug another hole to climb out of. Eduardo Rodriguez was chased early after going only 2.1 innings, and giving up 4 runs on 8 hits. The bullpen showed up to work again, over the remaining 6.2 innings, only 1 run was allowed, and this included 3 shut out innings from new guy Robby Scott. Yankee starter Masahiro Tanaka had Boston bats baffled, going 7 innings allowing just one run to lower his ERA to 2.97. As soon as Tanaka left however Red Sox bats woke up. In the 8th David Ortiz did what he always does and brought the game within 3 by launching his 537th career home run into the center field bleachers, which also helped him pass Yankee great Mickey Mantle on the all-time list. Then the 9th came, down by 3 the Sox rallied at the perfect moment, Ortiz came up big once again smacking a single up the middle to score Dustin Pedroia. Then Mookie “MVP” Betts stepped up and hit a single to left to bring in Xander Bogaerts and bring the game within one. Then stepped up Hanley Ramirez, a passed ball allowed the runners to advance, and with the tying run now 90 feet away, Hanley took the easy route and launched a walk off rocket to the center field seats. Fenway Park errupted as they witnessed Boston’s first walk off home run of the season, and the first act of The Hanley Show
Game 2. Clay Buchholz really stepped up and delivered a quality start when needed most, he went 6 innings of just 2 run ball. At the most crucial time of the year, Sox Nation couldn’t have asked for anything more of Clay. This was a much easier win with bats finally waking up and being reliable in the earlier innings. Hanley started act 2 of his show, by collecting a pair of RBIs off 2 hits, where one was another rocket shot to center field. Mookie snatched his 24th base of the year, leaving only 6 left to get to 30, and Jackie Bradley Jr hit his 25th homer of the year. The bullpen was great again with the exception of Feliz Abad’s poor third of an inning in the 9th, where he gave up a 2 run shot to Billy Butler. Craig Kimbrel then came in however and put an end to any threat, by stiking out both batters he faced.
Game 3. David Price took the mound and he was not impressive. Had 7 strikeouts over 6 innings, gave the pen somewhat of a break, but he gave up 5 runs. So the Sox had to come from behind again, Xander sure helped on the journey back going 3-4 with 3 RBIs, 3 Runs, and a home run. The Hanley Show’s 3rd act wasn’t as impressive as the first two only going 3-4 with a double. The Sox took the lead in the 7th, off a single from Mookie Betts that brought in Xander, then some wackiness occured, after Hanley got a hit to move Mookie to third, Yankee pitcher Adam Warren then threw a wild pitch passed Sandy Leon to allow Betts to score. Hanley tried to get sneaky and bring himself in but was thrown out almost instantly at the plate ending the inning, but the lead was now theirs to lose. Kimbrel closed things out going 1.1 strking out all four batters he faced, if you’ve been paying attention, that made 6 straight Ks over two appearences, let’s hope this Craig is the won we get in the playoffs.
Game 4. We got to see yet another starter chased early. Drew Pomeranz’s problems in a Boston uniform continued going only 3.2, giving up 7 hits, 4 runs and a home run. There would have been even more problems for Drew, if it weren’t for my man Mookie making an amazing diving catch going to his left in right field. So once again here we were, behind, and ready for another comeback. The final act of the Hanley show was not one to be missed. It started in the 5th, Boston being down by 4 runs Hanley stepped up to the plate, with Bogearts and Bryan Holiday on base, he launched a 3 run line drive into the monster seats that left a dent in someone’s chair. JBJ tied it up in the 6th when he hit a line drive single to right, scoring Travis Shaw. Then the 7th came, Hanley once again stepped up to the plate, the game tied this time. Ramirez then went on to hit a ball so freaking hard it cleared the Green Monster and continued all the way to Medford, the park exploded in cheers, and as one would expect Hanley took his curtain call. Koji closed things out to give Kimbrel a break, and he also got some help from Betts, when Mookie went on to make another diving catch to his left to preserve the lead, after the play he was greeted by chants of “MVP” by the Fenway Faithful. What a 4 game show Hanley put on, batting .562, with 9 hits, 4 home-runs, and 9 RBIs. By far one of the best performances against the Yankees in history, and it couldn’t have happen at a better time in the season.
The series was stressful to watch, but the sweep was all worth it. What was even more fantastic was how well the bullpen pitched, three bad starts and they bailed out all three of their starters, over 4 games the Sox pen went 18 innings, allowed 12 hits, had 18 Ks and only gave up an amazing 3 runs. Just brilliant, and with a very important 4 game series starting tonight against the Orioles in Baltimore. The Red Sox would love for their relievers to keep it up.