Let’s just get one thing out of the way here. This was not a regular season game. Yes, it factors into the regular season records of these two teams, but anyone watching could tell you that this was something much more. This was a playoff game if I’ve ever seen one. The Red Sox were trying to extend their lead in the division to a season-high 5.5 games; meanwhile, the Yankees were fighting to close the gap to 3.5 with a month and a half left to play. As expected, the crowd was electric, the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast was cringeworthy, and the game itself lived up to the hype and then some.
It’s still an extremely small sample size, but in the 15 games that he has played since being called up, Rafael Devers has proven that he can swing it in the big leagues. If you look at Hanley’s at bat before Devers blast, Hanley looked overmatched... and he knew it. In typical Hanley fashion, he wasn’t hiding the fact that he had no business being in that batters box. On the other hand, when Devers came up, it felt different. This at-bat has led me to believe that Devers has “it”. Call it the clutch gene, call it “the balls”, call it whatever you want. Rafael Devers is not afraid of the moment. In the biggest at-bat of his young career, in the not-so-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium, Rafael Devers stayed calm, cool, collected, and became only the second left-handed hitter ever to go deep off of the Yankees’ flame-throwing closer. Not to mention, Devers came mere inches away from a bases clearing double on an absolute ROCKET to left in the top of the 10th.
Due to the thrilling ending, it seems impossible that Sox fans were ready to riot just a few innings prior as John Farrell’s questionable management of his bullpen continued. When Farrell originally sent Matt Barnes out to pitch the eighth, I was okay with it. After Friday night’s game, I don’t think Addison Reed wanted the ball any more than we all wanted him to get it. Also, you could make the argument for Kimbrel in this situation, but the game was tied. Even if Kimbrel comes in and tosses a 1-2-3 inning, you are forced to rely on the rest of your bullpen in situations in which allowing a run loses you the game. Regardless, Farrell should’ve had someone warming up the minute Barnes began to lose Aaron Hicks. Instead, Barnes was allowed to stay out there and load the bases before giving up the go-ahead run on a Todd Frazier sac-fly.
The Red Sox are now the owners of a 5.5 game lead in the American League East. That’s something to be proud of. However, there’s still a lot of baseball left to be played, especially against the Yankees. With that in mind, they can’t afford to take their foot off of the gas now, or at all for that matter. But let’s not let that distract us from the fact that the Sox just took 2 out of 3 from the Yankees in New York. Who’s your daddy now?