The Boston Red Sox were feeling really good about themselves Monday night — some might say too good.
The Red Sox regained control of their American League Division Series against the New York Yankees in dominating fashion, pushing New York to the brink of elimination with a resounding 16-1 Game 3 win at Yankee Stadium.
The game was close for a few innings until Boston blew things wide open with a seven-run fourth inning. Then, in the fifth inning, with the Red Sox leading 10-1, outfielder Andrew Benintendi walked. A few pitches later, he stole second base on a 2-2 offering to J.D. Martinez.
TBS color analyst Ron Darling, a former big league player himself, took notice, seemingly inferring Benintendi broke baseball’s “unwritten rules” by swiping the bag with a nine-run lead.
“Well, I guess (that’s) from the school of never taking anything for granted. You don’t usually see that. In the postseason, maybe, in the regular season, never,” Darling said on the broadcast.
For added effect, Darling’s broadcast partner, Brian Anderson, followed that up by restating the score.
Fast-forward to the seventh inning. Benintendi again piqued Darling’s interest, this time swinging at a 3-0 pitch with the Red Sox still leading 10-1.
“I found (Benintendi stealing in the fourth inning) unusual, but you know, you can still keep pushing the envelope,” Darling said after Benintendi fouled off the pitch. “But boy, swinging 3-0 in the seventh with a 10-1 lead … there used to be a book, there’s no book anymore, everything’s grey, but I would find that offensive, personally.”
He added: “You have to judge for yourself if rubbing it in ever starts to rub you the wrong way.”
Some people think baseball’s unwritten rules are completely ridiculous to begin with. Those people won’t have a problem with anything Benintendi did Monday night. There are others, however, who don’t feel it’s right to try to run up the score.
But as Darling himself even mentioned, things are different in the playoffs — especially at Yankee Stadium. Things are different when you have a bullpen like the Red Sox’s that’s struggled mightily at times to hold leads. Which is all to say you don’t want to take anything for granted.
But as Darling also noted — “You have to judge for yourself” — there certainly is a chance Benintendi’s actions irk the Yankees.
If New York is ticked at Benintendi, we might not have to wait long to see some attempted payback. The Yankees are sending CC Sabathia to the mound for Game 4 on Tuesday night, and the big left-hander is considered one of the most team-first guys in the sport. Case in point: He basically forfeited $500,000 in his final start of the season by opting to throw at a Tampa Bay Rays hitter in defense of a teammate.
So, if Benintendi and the Red Sox ruffled some feathers, it may land on Sabathia to straighten things out.
Thumbnail photo via Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports Images