It was billed as a marquee division showdown, as the clash for the American League East crown.
And it has been anything but the slugfest between titans that it was supposed to be.
The New York Yankees strolled into Fenway Park on Thursday with hopes of cutting into the Boston Red Sox’s AL East division lead, but instead, the Red Sox have a chance to shove the Yankees off a metaphorical cliff Sunday night.
After Boston’s 4-1 win Saturday, the Red Sox have increased their division lead to 8 1/2 games while outscoring the Yankees 23-10 over the first three contests.
New York has looked lifeless on the mound, in the batter’s box and in the dugout while the Red Sox have set them six feet under and started to dump dirt on their semi-lifeless corpse.
In Game 1 of the series, the Red Sox erased an early 4-0 Yankees lead to win 15-7 and set the tone for the series. The past two games have been all about Boston’s starting staff. Rick Porcello tossed a complete-game, one-hitter in Friday’s 4-1 win, and Nathan Eovaldi followed suit with eight shutout innings in Saturday’s 4-1 win.
Boston has put the screws to the sliding Yankees this week, proving that, despite the doubts surrounding the team, the Sox indeed are the best team in Major League Baseball.
The Yankees came in needing a strong series to get back into the division race, and instead, the Red Sox have beat them like a drumstick and are primed to push the Yankees off the cliff Sunday night with David Price on the hill.
“There’s no question, they’ve established themselves right now as the best team in this league,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after the game, per The Boston Globe. “To a man, we know we can absolutely play with them. When we’re at our best, we can beat them.”
Boone knows how big Sunday’s game is.
“Really, really important. Super important. But I’m a broken record. Tomorrow is always important.”
Tomorrow is important for the Yankees because one more loss means they likely can start printing tickets to the Wild Card game at Yankee Stadium.
The Red Sox smell blood after Saturday’s win, all that’s left to do is finish their rival in the series finale.
Here are more notes from Red Sox -Yankees:
— The Red Sox now are 5-1 against the Yankees at Fenway Park this season and have outscored them 50-23 in those games.
— Eovaldi’s third to last pitch of the game registered at 100.4 mph, his hardest of the game. Red Sox manager Alex Cora hasn’t been surprised by what Eovaldi has brought to the table since being acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays.
“He is who we thought he was,” Cora said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage.
“He’s been really, really good this season… you look up and he’s throwing 100 in the 8th inning.”
Eovaldi has thrown 15 consecutive scoreless innings in his two starts in a Red Sox uniform.
— J.D. Martinez hit his MLB-leading 33rd home run of the season Saturday.