RECAP: #RedSox Advance to ALCS Following Dramatic 4-3 Win over Yankees in New York.

For the first time since 2013, the Boston Red Sox are headed back to the American League Championship series following a tightly contested 4-3 win over the New York Yankees Tuesday night.

Making his first start of the postseason in this series-clinching Game Four of the ALDS was Rick Porcello, who previously appeared as a reliever in the eighth inning of Game One last Friday.

Tossing five full innings in this one, the right-hander limited New York to just one lone run on four hits and no walks to go along with one punch out on the evening.

The second straight quality outing from a Red Sox starting pitcher, Porcello retired 12 of the first 14 hitters he faced before running into a bit of trouble in the bottom of the fifth.

There, he gave up the only Yankee run of the night on a Brett Gardner sacrfice fly to score Gary Sanchez from third, after both Sanchez and Gleyber Torres reached base on back-to-back one out hits off the New Jersey native.

Other than that though, Porcello managed to escape the fifth with just the one run allowed, and that is how is night would come to a positive close.

Finishing with an efficient final pitch count of 65 (48 strikes), the 29-year-old hurler, who was caught by Christian Vazquez, mixed up his pitch selection by throwing 25 four-seam fastballs, 16 sliders, 12 two-seam fastballs, eight curveballs, and four changeups, which resulted in eight total swings and misses.

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He also topped out at 93.6 MPH with that four-seam fastball en route to the first postseason winning decision of his career.

In relief of Porcello, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for the final three innings of this one with a three run lead to protect.

Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier both did their jobs by tossing a scoreless frame each in the sixth and seventh, which surprisingly set up Chris Sale to make a rare appearance out of the bullpen in the eighth inning.

Pitching out of the bullpen for the first time since last year’s ALDS and only pitching on three days rest since his Game One start on Friday, the Red Sox ace clearly didn’t miss a beat, as he needed just 13 pitches to retire the side in 1-2-3 fashion.

And finally, in the ninth, Craig Kimbrel came on for his second save opportunity of the series, and he nearly blew it.

With no real command of his fastball, the flame throwing closer allowed the first two hitters he faced to reach base before striking out Giancarlo Stanton for the first out of the inning.

After walking another man on four straight balls, Neil Walker came to the plate with the bases loaded for New York, and he cut Boston’s three run lead down to two by taking an 87 MPH knuckle curveball off his foot to drive in Aaron Judge from third and reload the bases.

A sacrifice fly off the bat of Gary Sanchez a few moments later plated Didi Gregorius from third, and just like that, it was a one run game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

Down to their final out, rookie second baseman Gleyber Torres came up with the chance to send this series back to Fenway Park, but Kimbrel prevailed by getting him to ground out to third for the third and final out of the contest.

Ridiculous efforts from Eduardo Nunez and Steve Pearce there, and that is how the Red Sox clinched their way to a spot in the ALCS for the first time in five years. Disaster avoided.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia, who hadn’t pitched against Boston in a postseason game since 2007 when he was a member of the Cleveland Indians.

Starting the scoring in their half of the third, Andrew Benintendi would end up being the catalyst for a three-run inning after leading things off with a HBP.

A Steve Pearce single would advance Benintendi  all the way from third with JD Martinez due up next.

Capitalizing on yet another scoring opportunity, the regular season league leader in RBI collected his sixth RBI of the series on a sac fly to center field to plate Benintendi from third and put his team on the board first.

Two batters later, Ian Kinsler doubled his team’s lead by driving in Pearce, who advanced on a Sabathia wild pitch, from third on an RBI double to left.

Eduardo Nunez, who entered Game Four without a hit in this series, was up next, and he drilled the first pitch he saw from Sabathia to reach first on an RBI single and plate Kinsler from second. 3-0.

In the fourth, with Sabathia out and Zach Britton now in for New York, Christian Vazquez essentially put this game on ice by blasting his first career postseason home run to lead off the inning.

That solo shot was only hit 338 feet, but it was all the Red Sox would need to eventually pick up a series-clinching win in enemy territory.

Some notes from this 4-3 win:

This season at Yankee Stadium, the Red Sox clinched both the American League East and a spot in the American League Championship Series.

Dating back to the 2004 ALCS, the Red Sox have won their last four postseason games at Yankee Stadium.

By all means, the Yankees had the advantage in this series going back to Saturday night. They stole homefield advantage with a Game Two win, they went back to Yankee Stadium with the chance to finish the series there, and they had a rowdy crowd behind them.

Instead, the Red Sox entered a very hostile environment, took the home crowd out of both ballgames early by jumping on top first, and did not have look back. Damage done.

So now it’s on to the American League Championship Series. The defending World Series champion Houston Astros already clinched their spot after sweeping the Cleveland Indians on Monday and went 4-3 against Boston this season.

I would expect a Justin Verlander v. Chris Sale pitching matchup for Game One on Saturday night, but nothing has been announced on either side yet.

First pitch of the first game of the ALCS at Fenway Park is scheduled for 8:09 PM ET on TBS.

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RECAP: Brock Holt Hits for First Postseason Cycle in MLB History as #RedSox Go off for 16 Runs in Blowout Game Three Win over Yankees.

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.

 

RECAP: David Price’s Postseason Struggles Continue as #RedSox Drop Game Two of ALDS to Yankees.

After taking Game One in a 5-4 win over the New Yankees on Friday night, the Red Sox looked to go up two games in this American League Division Series with another victory at Fenway Park on Saturday.

Making his first start of this postseason, David Price looked to expel his October demons with a quality outing last night, but a las, could not a get the job done once again.

Pitching into just the second inning of this one, the left-hander got hit hard for three earned on three hits and two walks all while failing to record a single strikeout.

Similar to a start he made against New York on September 19th in which he served up three home runs, the home run ball was again not Price’s friend yesterday.

Right from the get go, the Tennessee native was greeted by Aaron Judge with one out in the top half of the first, and he made his presence felt by mashing his second home run of the series to put his team up by one early.

An inning later, Gary Sanchez, who hit .667 off of Price over the course of the regular season, hit his first of two long balls on the night to lead off the second.

Following two consecutive two out walks and an Andrew McCutchen RBI single in the same frame, Price’s night would come to a disappointing close with Aaron Judge due up next for the Yankees.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 42 (24 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler threw 12 four-seam fastballs, 12 two-seam fastballs, 10 changeups, and eight cutters. He also topped out at 95.2 MPH with that four-seamer in the second inning.

Dropping to 0-1 yet again, this is but another disappointing addition to Price’s playoff resume.

Since joining the Red Sox prior to the 2016 season, the Vanderbilt alum has tossed 11.2 postseason innings over four games, two of which were starts. In that span, he owns a 6.17 ERA, an 0-2 record, and an .853 OPS against. Over the course of his career, just take a look at this tweet.

To be paid as much as Price is being paid and consistently perform like he did on Saturday is far from ideal.

As for whether or not his number two starter will move to the bullpen, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said, ” He’s one of our starters. Just a bad outing [Saturday]. It just so happened it wasn’t his day. He didn’t make pitches. We trust him. He’s bounced back before. We’ll talk to him to make a few adjustments. And we’ll go from there.”

In relief of Price, the majority of the Red Sox bullpen, outside of Eduardo Rodriguez, actually held their own in this one.

Joe Kelly got the first call with two outs in the second and runners on the corners, and he escaped the early jam by getting Aaron Judge to line out to right field.

After two additional scoreless frames from Kelly, it was Ryan Brasier’s turn for the second consecutive night to begin the fourth, and he looked much better in a clean inning compared to how he performed on Friday.

In addition to the solid scoreless inning of relief, Brasier also had his “rivalry” moment by yelling at Gary Sanchez to get back in the batter’s box after stepping away from the plate for the umpteenth time of the at bat.

From that point on, Brandon Workman and Eduardo Rodriguez combined to work a scoreless sixth inning, but this contest would get away from the Red Sox in the top of the seventh, when with one out and runners on first and third, Rodriguez could not sneak a 2-1 fastball over the heart of the plate with Gary Sanchez up to bat, and the Yankees catcher sent it 479 feet over everything in left field.

That big fly, Sanchez’s second of the night, made it a 6-1 game, and New York would not have to look back on their way to a series-evening win.

It’s also worth noting that Heath Hembree, who was added to Boston’s ALDS roster in place of Steven Wright prior to Saturday’s game, was responsible for the final two innings, and despite walking three, did not allow a run to cross the plate.

So, given the circumstances of David Price failing to make it out of the second inning, I would chalk this up as a win for the Red Sox bullpen, outside of the three-run homer Eduardo Rodriguez gave up, of course.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who pitched to a tune of a 6.52 ERA in two starts at Fenway Park this regular season.

Like Friday, runs were hard to come by for Boston, and they could not get anything going until their half of the fourth.

Already trailing by three runs, Xander Bogaerts delivered with one out in the inning by demolishing the first pitch he saw from Tanaka 411 feet to center field for his second career postseason home run. 3-1 New York.

Fast forward to the bottom half of the seventh, now trailing by five runs, and Ian Kinsler came through with the only other RBI knock from a Red Sox hitter on a hard hit RBI double off of Dellin Betances to plate Mitch Moreland all the way from first and make it a 6-2 game which would go on to be the final score.

Unfortunately, Moreland came up grabbing his right hamstring as he was rounding third on the play, and he would have to be replaced by Steve Pearce at first a half inning later.

According to Alex Cora, Sunday’s treatment at Yankee Stadium will determine if Moreland, who was diagnosed with right hamstring tightness, is ready for Game Three, but he will not be removed from the ALDS roster.

After a day off in New York on Sunday, the Red Sox will look to once again go up a game in this tightly contested division series on Monday night at Yankee Stadium.

It was just announced that Nathan Eovaldi, not Rick Porcello, will get the start for Boston on Monday.

Eovaldi, who has yet to pitch in this series, posted a 1.93 ERA over four starts, both with the Tampa Bay Rays and Red Sox, against the Yankees this season.

Opposite Eovaldi will be another right-hander for the Yankees in the form of the flame throwing Luis Severino, who tossed four scoreless innings in his last time out against the Oakland Athletics, which helped lift his club to another American League Wild Card win.

First pitch of the third game of the series is scheduled for 7:40 ET Monday on TBS. Maybe Brock Holt and Rafael Devers will play.

RECAP: Chris Sale Fans Eight and JD Martinez Homers in First at Bat as #RedSox Narrowly Take ALDS Opener from Yankees.

It certainly was far from easy, but by the time a hectic Friday night came to a close in Boston, the Red Sox had a 1-0 series lead over the New York Yankees in the ALDS. Let’s break down how we got there.

Taking a nice 0.69 ERA in two regular season starts against the Yankees this year, Chris Sale looked to rebound from a rough 2017 postseason campaign with a solid outing on Friday, and that he did.

Pitching into the sixth inning of this one, the left-hander ended up surrendering just two earned runs on five hits and two walks to go along with eight punch outs on the night as well.

Striking out three of the first four Yankee hitters he faced, the only real problems Sale ran into came with one out in the top half of the sixth, when Giancarlo Stanton ripped a single to left field to put runners at first second. That is how the ace’s night would come to a conclusion.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 93 (61 strikes), which is the most he has thrown in a single outing dating back to July 27th, the Florida native threw 33 sliders, 31 four-seam fastballs, 16 changeups, and 13 two-seam fastballs.

With all the talk about how Sale’s fastball velocity took a significant dip over the course of September, an average velocity of 94.6 MPH does not seem all that bad. He also topped out at 96.6 MPH with that same four-seamer in the first inning.

As for when we see Sale take the mound next, it sounds like the 29-year-old hurler is ready to take on any pitching role, whether it be as a starter or out of the bullpen.

Speaking of the bullpen, boy, did Red Sox relievers have themselves a night to forget on Friday. Here’s a quality picture to sum it all up from the sixth inning on.

Ryan Brasier got the first call in relief of Sale, and in his first ever postseason appearance, allowed a pair of inherited runners to score while only recording one out.

That made way for Brandon Workman to enter this contest with runners on first and second and one more out to get in the sixth.

One of the only members left from the 2013 World Series team, Workman worked the bases loaded by walking Gary Sanchez on four straight balls, but escaped any further damage in the frame by fanning Gleyber Torres with a nasty knuckle curve for the third out.

In the seventh, the bases were loaded once again for New York thanks to the combined efforts of Workman and then Matt Barnes, but only one run came of it on a Luke Voit RBI force out. Other than that, Barnes too was able to manuever his away out of a stressful jam.

Surprisingly, Rick Porcello, who should still be able to start Game Three in New York on Monday, made an appearance out of the Boston bullpen for the beginning of the eighth inning, and got the first two outs of the frame in pretty quick order.

However, a cheap two out infield single off the bat of Gleyber Torres was the last action Porcello saw in this one, and that made way for a four-out save opportunity for Craig Kimbrel.

Having not pitched in an eighth inning in months, the Red Sox closer needed six pitches to end the top half of the inning, and he would have a two-run lead to work with in the ninth.

An inning that did not start all that swimmingly with Aaron Judge taking him deep to right field to cut the Red Sox lead to one run, Kimbrel rebounded by punching out the final three Yankee hitters he faced on 13 total pitches to wrap this dramatic series opening 5-4 win up.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees left-hander JA Happ, who they just got to for four runs in his last regular season start at Fenway Park on September 28th.

Starting the scoring right away in this one, a one out single from Andrew Benintendi, followed by a four-pitch walk of Steve Pearce, set up JD Martinez in an opportune scoring spot early.

In his first postseason at bat in a Red Sox uniform, the team leader in home runs (43), squared up on a 2-0 94 MPH fastball on the inner half of the plate from Happ and sent it into the first row of Monster seats in left field.

Just like that, it was a 3-0 game thanks to a JD Martinez homer that had an exit velocity of exactly 107 MPH.

Two innings later, back-to-back base knocks from Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi chased Happ out of his first postseason start in pinstripes, and that opened the doors for Steve Pearce to come through in another prime scoring chance with new reliever Chad Green on the bump for New York.

On the very first pitch he saw from the right-handed Green, Pearce, who slugged .757 against the Yankees over the regular season, lined an RBI single to left field to plate Betts from third and move Benintendi up to second. 4-0.

After JD Martinez advanced Benintendi to third on a fly ball out to right field, Xander Bogaerts took responsibility for the final Red Sox run of the night by driving in Benintendi on an RBI sac fly to right field. That put his team up 5-0, which somehow would be the only scoring they would need to pick up this very important victory.

Looking to go up 2-0 in the series headed into an off day on Sunday, David Price will get the ball for Boston on Saturday.

This season against New York, Price went 0-3 with a 10.44 ERA in four starts, but did look better in his last time out against them at Fenway Park on August 5th, an outing in which the left-hander surrendered just two earned runs on four hits and three walks over six quality innings of work.

Opposite Price will be right-hander Masahiro Tanaka for the Yankees, who finished the 2018 regular season with a 6.52 ERA over the span of two starts at Fenway Park. the Red Sox went 1-1 in those games.

A lot is on the line tonight. First pitch is scheduled for 8:15 PM ET on TBS.

 

#RedSox Set 25-Man Roster for Upcoming ALDS.

There you have it. The ALDS roster is officially set. The Red Sox are going with 14 position players compared to just 11 pitchers.

Given the history of their starters in the postseason, mixed in with the struggles the bullpen has had THIS season, that may be a bold strategy. We’ll have to wait and see if it pays off for them.

Exactly one week ago, I gave my predictions for what I thought this ALDS roster was going to look like, and not to brag, but I got 24/25 correct.

The only player I did not have on my unofficial roster was Joe Kelly, who is seemingly taking the place of Bobby Poyner in this series’ Red Sox bullpen.

I find that particularly interesting. Not only did Kelly struggle in the month of September (8.31 ERA in 8.1 IP), but Poyner, who is in his rookie season, is probably the best situation left-handed reliever the Red Sox have to offer.

With that in mind, I’m curious to see how Alex Cora manages Eduardo Rodriguez out of the ‘pen. As the only southpaw who will not be starting a game in this series, will E-Rod be used in long relief, or will he be used to get one specific hitter out?

It is worth mentioning that the Yankee lineup is right-handed heavy, so maybe I just answered my own question as to why Poyner did not make this roster.

Any who, the rest of the roster is what you would expect from this Red Sox team. Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, and Nathan Eovaldi make up the starting rotation.

Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, and Craig Kimbrel make up the heart of the Red Sox bullpen.

Sandy Leon, Christian Vazquez, and Blake Swihart make up the catchers, although Swihart will probably be primarily used as a pinch runner off the bench.

From left to right, Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, Ian Kinsler, and Steve Pearce represent the infield. While guys like Eduardo Nunez, Brock Holt, and Mitch Moreland should see their fair share of playing time as well.

And finally, one of the best position groups in the American League remains unchanged, as Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Mookie Betts will be manning the outfield, while JD Martinez will serve as the designated hitter.

It’s a lefty vs. lefty pitching matchup for Game One of the ALDS on Friday night at Fenway Park.

For New York, JA Happ gets the nod for his fourth career postseason start. And for Boston, it will be none other than Chris Sale, who is starting the ALDS opener for the second straight year.

First pitch of the first game of the series is scheduled for 7:32 PM ET on TBS later tonight. Time to do damage.

It’s Going to Be a #RedSox-Yankees ALDS.

For the first time since 2004, yes 2004, the Red Sox and Yankees will be meeting up in the postseason.

That’s right, the 100-62 New York Yankees ran away with a 7-2 victory over the 97-65 Oakland Athletics in Wednesday night’s American League Wild Card game at Yankee Stadium.

Yankees ace Luis Severino got the starting nod for the second consecutive year in this single elimination contest in his home ballpark, and he proved the haters and doubters wrong by tossing four-plus innings of quality, scoreless work to go along with seven strikeouts.

In relief of Severino, the Yankees bullpen held up their end of the bargain as well by allowing just two runs, both of which came on a Khris Davis two-run home run in the eighth, over the final five frames of this one.

Dellin Betances and David Robertson worked up until the middle of the seventh inning, when Zach Britton, making his first postseason appearance with New York, served up that opposite field shot to the league leader in home runs in Davis.

And in the ninth, looking to close this thing out, the flame throwing Aroldis Chapman came in for his 25th career postseason appearance, and he held the A’s in check to lock down the Wild Card win.

So, there you have it. It’s not for a trip to the World Series, but we are set for the first Yankees-Red Sox postseason series in nearly 14 years this coming Friday.

As you may recall, these two clubs just played each other to close out the regular season at Fenway Park, where New York took two out of three from the Red Sox to reach 100 wins on the year. On the year as a whole though, the Red Sox took 10 of 19 from the Yankees during the season series, with plenty of blowouts to go around during those games.

Chris Sale is expected to start game one of the best-of-five division series on Friday at Fenway Park. David Price should get the nod for the second game on Saturday.

First pitch of those two contests are scheduled for 7:32 PM ET and 8:15 PM ET respectively.

I should have a more in-depth playoff preview sometime before Friday, but until then…

RECAP: #RedSox End Regular Season with 10-2 Thrashing of Yankees to Reach 108 Wins.

Looking to avoid their first four-game losing streak of the entire season on Sunday afternoon, the Red Sox closed out their 2018 campaign on a high note with a blowout win over the New York Yankees.

Making his 33rd and final start of the regular season, Rick Porcello was not on the mound all that long in this one, but he was effective.

Tossing two scoreless innings, the right-hander allowed just one of the seven batters he faced to reach base on a walk to go along with a pair of strikeouts on the afternoon.

Finishing with an official final pitch count of 40 (22 strikes), Porcello also headed to the Red Sox bullpen in the third and put in some additional work out there for a bit.

On the season as a whole, here’s what the New Jersey native’s final numbers look like:

33 GS, 17-7, 4.28 ERA, 191.1 IP, 190 K, 1.18 WHIP

According to Alex Cora, Porcello will “most likely” start game three of the ALDS for Boston on the road a week from Monday.

In relief of Rick Porcello, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for the final seven innings of Sunday’s contest, and the only real blunder committed came in the top half of the fourth inning, when the Yankees tacked on their only two runs of the day on a Luke Voit two-run homer off of left-hander Bobby Poyner.

Other than that, it was a solid combined effort. More notable, Eduardo Rodriguez, Matt Barnes, and Ryan Brasier allowed just one total hit and one walk over three scoreless frames of work.

To close this thing out, Craig Kimbrel came on in a nonsave opportunity, and he struck out the side to lock up his team’s 108th win of the season.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees right-hander Luis Cessa on this final day of the regular season, and they got to him for one run on three straight hits before a single out was recorded in the bottom of the first.

After a Mitch Moreland RBI double put Boston up 2-0, Cessa’s day would come to an abrupt end following an awkward collision at first base with Eduardo Nunez, which would result in JD Martinez coming in to score from third.

Veteran reliever David Robertson would come in relief of Cessa, and he allowed an inherited runner to score on an Ian Kinsler RBI groundout from Ian Kinsler, which wrapped up an impressive four-run first inning for the Red Sox.

An inning later, an RBI double from Brock Holt and a two-run home run off the bat of Xander Bogaerts, his 23rd of the season, gave his team an early seven-run advantage.

Fast forward to the fourth, and JD Martinez ended his first regular season in a Red Sox uniform in historic fashion, as he launched a one out, three-run run home run deep to Center field to make it a 10-2 game, all but guaranteeing a win.

The importance of that big fly though, is the fact that it was Martinez’s 43rd of the year, which is the most home runs any player has ever hit in his first season with the Red Sox.

Some other notes from this 10-2 win:

Following a season in which he hit .346, Mookie Betts has won his first league batting title, as he led all hitters, AL and NL, in batting average. JD Martinez finished second with a .330 batting average on the season.

From @SoxNotes: J.D. Martinez will finish his season batting .330 with 43 HR and 130 RBI. The only other Red Sox ever to hit at least .330 with 40+ HR and 130+ RBI are Ted Williams (1949) and Jimmie Foxx (1936, ’38). The last major leaguer to do that was Miguel Cabrera (2013).

In his last 30 games, Jackie Bradley slashed .281/.352/.458 with two home runs and 11 RBI. I think this is the year he finally gets that Gold Glove.

In his sixth season with the Red Sox, Brock Holt posted career highs in RBI (46), OBP (.362), SLG (.411), and OPS (.774). He also tied a career-high in home runs with seven.

Mookie Betts should probably win American League MVP.

So, there you have it on another successful regular season. 108-54 record (.667 WIN%), AL East Champs, and best record in all of baseball. Now comes the fun part. The postseason, which rightfully so, has Red Sox fans a bit concerned based on how the team has performed in the ALDS the last two years.

But, before we got too worked up about that, who the Red Sox play in the ALDS this year is all dependent on who comes out of the American League Wildcard game between the Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees this Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.

So, until then, I’ll leave you all with this. 11 wins away.