By: Andrew Tashian
Doug Fister is making a serious case to start a game for the Boston Red Sox in October. The often embattled righty has been consistently good for the Sox over the last 5 starts compiling a 3-2 record and holding opponents to a .210 batting average. His last 2 starts have been sensational holding opposing hitters to a .115 batting average through 16 IP. Friday night Fister made his first start in the Bronx since 2011 and continued to prove his worth to the Red Sox rotation.
The Red Sox were given a big boost to their team with 2B Dustin Pedroia returning from his DL stint. Pedroia has been part of the conversation regarding John Farrell and his lineup dilemma. Getting Pedey back on Friday meant struggling Xander Bogaerts could get a night off and Eddie Nunez could take over SS. As I've said before, Dustin Pedroia is at his best when he's playing both sides of the ball. He was tested immediately on a relatively routine groundball in the first inning which he handled without an issue. Pedey also made several other, more challenging, defensive plays. A sliding snag to his left with a strong throw and a ball that deflected off of 1B Mitch Moreland that Pedroia was able to wrangle and toss to Mitchy for the out. At the dish he went 1-for-4, with 3 K, & will likely have the game off tomorrow as management will look to ease him back in. He was removed defensively late in the game as Nunez moved over to 2B and Bogey was inserted in at SS. They'll need Dustin's bat & glove going forward and his health should be a primary focus.
Doug Fister, like his previous 2 outing, gave up the only run he'd allow the whole game, in the first frame. Aaron Judge got him for an RBI double and seemed like he could be breaking out of his slump vs the Red Sox. Fister won the rest of their battles earning a strikeout against the Yankee slugger. Exactly like his previous 2 starts, he mowed through the rival lineup using both sides of the plate and inducing many groundballs. Having thrown an efficient 98 pitches through 7, Manager John had decided that was enough.
The Fist's final line: 7 IP - 4 H - 1 R- 1 BB - 5 K and his 3rd consecutive outstanding start.
Long before Fister's final frame the Red Sox scored runs. They scored some LOUD runs. In the 3rd inning, finalizing a terrific at-bat, Eduardo "The Identity" Nunez took Yankees pitcher Sonny Gray deep, over the RF fence. It was Nunez's 8th HR since being acquired by the Sox and he continues to be Boston's engine. CC Sabathia will probably bitch about Eddie going bridge at some point because CC Sabathia hates baseball.
The Identity rounded his bases and when his foot touched the plate the Red Sox had their first lead of the series. Sonny Gray didn't serve up his last dinger on the evening. Certified Yankee Killah -- Andrew Benintendi -- smashed an absolute BOMB passed the "Judge's Chamber" in LF on Yankee Stadium. It came in the 5th inning and I don't really have much else to say about it other than it gave the Sox a 3-1 lead and pissed off every Yankee fan on planet Earth. The Identity rounded his bases and when his foot touched the plate the Red Sox had their first lead of the series. Sonny Gray didn't serve up his last dinger on the evening. Certified Yankee Killah -- Andrew Benintendi -- smashed an absolute BOMB passed the "Judge's Chamber" in LF on Yankee Stadium. It came in the 5th inning and I don't really have much else to say about it other than it gave the Sox a 3-1 lead and pissed off every Yankee fan on planet Earth.
Was Sonny Gray done giving up dingers? Oh no, no he wasn't. Why? Because Hanley "7 Hole" Ramirez said he wasn't. What can you say about Hanley? The moment you start really getting on his case he tends to shut you up rather quickly. Look what you made him do. We all can't deny his offensive production isn't where we expected it to be, but launching his 22nd homer in the 7th inning, he could end up with 30 on the season. If you asked anybody a few weeks ago if Hanley had a shot at 30 HR they would've laughed in your face. HanRam's magic from the 7th spot is so refreshing for a Red Sox fan and we're all looking forward to September Hanley.
That HR [featured below] extended the Red Sox lead to 4-1. Addison Reed worked the 8th inning in relief for winning pitcher Doug Fister. Reed shut the Yanks down 1-2-3 in a rather uneventful frame. Reed continues to show his value to the Sox 'pen and it looks like the 8th inning is his to lose. Dirty Criag Kimbrel worked the 9th for a chance at his 32nd save. Kimbrel earned his own 1-2-3 inning as the Yankees only managed 4 hits against Boston pitching. With Drew Pomeranz on the hill tomorrow seeking his 15th win of the '17 Campaign, the Red Sox have a legitimate chance at guaranteeing leaving New York with at least a 5.5 game lead in the AL East. Pomeranz could tie Chris Sale in wins and improve his AL 5th best ERA with a solid performance in the Bronx on Saturday.
FINAL SCORE: RED SOX 4 - YANKEES 1
Photo Credit - Boston Red Sox