After momentarily losing home field advantage in a disappointing 6-2 loss at the hands of the Yankees at Fenway Park on Saturday night, the Red Sox headed down to the Bronx and looked to get back on track in the first of two at Yankee Stadium.
Making his postseason debut for Boston last night was Nathan Eovaldi, who was originally slated to be the starter for Game Four. But, given the rate of success the hurler has had against a former club of his since he joined the Red Sox in July, Alex Cora made the first of many right decisions by moving Eovaldi up to pitch on Monday.
Tossing seven full innings this one, the right-hander surrendered just one earned run on five hits, all singles, and no walks to go along with five strikeouts on the mist-filled night.
That lone run for New York came in their half of the fourth inning, when with no outs and runners on the corners, Didi Gregorius grounded into an RBI force out at second base that plated Luke Voit from third.
Other than that though, Eovaldi get the job done by consistently hitting 100 MPH with his fastball and limiting the quantity of traffic base paths.
Retiring nine of the final 10 hitters he faced, the Texas native’s night would come to a positive end after he got Gleyber Torres to ground into a 4-3 putout to retire the side in the seventh.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 97 (72 strikes) with Christian Vazquez behind the plate, Eovaldi threw 46 four-seam fastballs, 30 cutters, 14 sliders, five splitters, and two curveballs, which induced 17 total swings and misses from Yankee hitters. He also topped out at 101 MPH with that four-seamer in the second inning while reaching 100 MPH seven times.
Not too shabby for a postseason debut if you ask me. As for whether Eovaldi will pitch again in this division series, I believe that is dependent on how long it continues. He obviously would not be available for Tuesday’s game, but I could see him coming out of the bullpen if needed for a potential Game Five on Thursday.
Speaking of the Red Sox bullpen, Alex Cora needed to turn to just two pitchers in relief of Eovaldi on Monday night with the game already well out of reach for the Yankees.
Both Heath Hembree and Eduardo Rodriguez worked a scoreless frame each in the eighth and ninth to wrap this blowout win up.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees ace right-hander Luis Severino, and they had some fresh faces in their who made their presence felt.
Brock Holt, Christian Vazquez, Rafael Devers, and Steve Pearce, all of whom had four total at bats between them prior to Monday, all made their presence felt in this one.
Starting the scoring right away in the second, a Rafael Devers leadoff single would later result in Boston’s first of many runs on the night on a two out infield RBI single off the bat of Christian Vazquez.
An inning later, back-to-back singled from Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi led to JD Martinez notching his fourth RBI of this postseason on a sac fly to left field.
Two batters and one Xander Bogaerts single later, Rafael Devers gave his team a three-run advantage by driving in Benintendi from third on an RBI ground out to second.
In the fourth, the Red Sox would chase Severino from this game without recording an out by loading the bases on a pair of singles from Brock Holt and Christian Vazquez followed by a four pitch walk of Jackie Bradley Jr.
With Lance Lynn taking over in place of Severino and the Red Sox lineup turning over, Mookie Betts took advantage of the opportunity in front of him and finally drove in his first postseason RBI by taking another four pitch, run-scoring walk. 4-0.
A few moments after that, Andrew Benintendi essentially put this game on ice early by unloading the bases on a hard hit, three RBI double down the right field line to put his club up 7-0.
The Red Sox would not stop there though, as the Yankees swapped pitchers once again and both Steve Pearce and Brock Holt plated three more runs on consecutive RBI base knocks off of Chad Green before the top half of the frame finally came to an end.
In total, Boston sent 11 batters to the plate in the fourth inning and came away with SEVEN runs. All while the Yankees burned through their bullpen.
Fast forward all the way to seventh now, with Jonathan Holder on the mound for New York, and JD Martinez struck once again with his second RBI of the night on a line drive single up the middle that scored Jackie Bradley Jr. from second and made it an 11-1 contest.
Another inning later, Brock Holt and Mookie Betts made their presence felt with two more run-scoring hits, Holt’s an RBI double and Betts’ an RBI single, while Ian Kinsler also came around to score from third on a wild pitch from Yanks reliever Stephen Tarpley. 14-1.
Finally, in the ninth, after Ian Kinsler drew a two out walk with Austin Romine, a CATCHER, taking over pitching duties for New York, Brock Holt came to the plate for the sixth time with a chance to make history.
Never before has a major leaguer hit for the natural cycle in a postseason game, and having already collected a single, double, and triple prior to his final AB, Holt certainly made the most of a historic opportunity.
On the very first pitch he saw from Romine, a 79 MPH slider towards the bottom of the strike zone, the Red Sox super utility man swung away and sent that ball 355 feet down the right field line. History made and mission accomplished.
Some notes from this 16-1 win:
From @SoxNotes: This is the 7th game in Red Sox postseason history in which every member of Boston’s starting lineup recorded at least 1 hit. Three of those games have been at Yankee Stadium (also 2003 ALCS Game 6 and 2004 ALCS Game 7).
This is the most runs the Red Sox have ever scored in a postseason game on the road. The previous record was 12 (1999 ALDS Game 5 at Cleveland).
From @MLBStatoftheDay: Boston’s 16-1 win is the largest margin of victory in any Red Sox-Yankees postseason game ever.
With this series now at 2-1 in favor of Boston, the Red Sox will look to end things later tonight with Rick Porcello on the bump.
Originally slated to start Game Three, Porcello recorded two outs in his only other appearance in this series on Friday.
Opposite Porcello will be veteran left-hander CC Sabathia for the Yankees, who owns a 3.29 ERA over 18 postseason games (17 games started) since he joined New York prior the 2009 season.
First pitch of Game Four is scheduled for 8:07 PM ET Tuesday on TBS.