Red Sox strike first in ALDS Game 4, take 3-0 lead

Ruben Hill
October 12, 2018

Red Sox manager has the utmost confidence in Porcello heading into Game 4 and expects the right-hander to turn in a quality start against a Yankees club that he's had success against this season.

This came after what looked like a game-winning decision in the eighth inning by Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who had his ace, Chris Sale, come in out of relief and pitch a flawless 1-2-3 inning. His first trip through the Boston order produced a series of line-drive outs, plus two singles, a walk and a Red Sox run.

The next night, after 1978 Boston nemesis Bucky Dent threw out the first pitch, Boone stayed with Sabathia even when the 38-year-old lefty, pitching on 11 days' rest, ran into trouble in the third.

The Red Sox pounded out 18 hits and scored their most runs in a road playoff game. But it was stressful, and it was further confirmation that the Red Sox, who have won 7 of their last 8 playoff games against the Yankees, are no longer jinxed, doomed, or an inferior operation. And closer Craig Kimbrel - one of the most statistically dominant closers in baseball history - came in for the ninth, his usual domain of dominance, and don't you know it, he nearly gave it away.

Boston's 16-1 blowout Monday marked the most lopsided defeat for a home team in post-season history, and shortstop Didi Gregorius called it "an embarrassing day".

The Yankees bullpen was the class of the league, with four proven closers ready to come out at any time.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone only has two games of Stadium postseason experience to draw on himself - this year's Wild Card Game as the manager, and last year's as a broadcaster - but he knows those two games against the Twins and Athletics will be nothing compared to the next two nights. They walked six and fanned eight. A great bullpen can't carry home a victory if it is never handed a lead to protect. He also put Nunez back at third base after going with Rafael Devers in Game 3 (he had a pair of hits).

And yet it was the Sox who looked like juggernauts by the time the American League Division Series was over at Yankee Stadium late Tuesday night.

Update (9:21 PM ET): It's now 4-0 as Christian Vásquez was able to sneak a solo home run over the fence in right field off of Zach Britton in the top of the fourth inning.

Though his own bullpen was nowhere as potent as his opponent's, Cora was decisive in going to it in the sixth inning, after watching the Yankees take a series of impressive swings and taxing at-bats against Porcello in the fifth. Between Ryan Brasier, Heath Hembree, Eduardo Rodriguez, Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes and Joe Kelly, Boston had allowed five runs in 13 innings pitched with two of those leaving the park.

At the final out Tuesday night, at least once the replay review confirmed it, the Red Sox converged near the mound and hugged each other. They were built to win a title.

"They got momentum on their side and never really slowed down", Robertson said. Next up for them: the Astros.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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