Red Sox Notes: Everything Came Together In ‘Best Series’ Of Season

It was an impressive three days at Fenway for the Sox

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It’s tough to poke holes in just about anything the Boston Red Sox did this weekend.

They knocked around the New York Yankees’ pitching staff while Boston’s pitchers seldom danced with danger. When the pitching did get into trouble, the defense often was there to bail them out. And once Sox hitters got on the bases, they were aggressive.

Debate amongst yourselves which facet of the game was most important to the Red Sox this weekend. Whatever the case might be, they swept the Yankees for the second time this season and climbed to 6-0 against their fiercest rival, putting the exclamation point on things Sunday with a 9-2 walloping of Gerrit Cole and the Bombers.

For manager Alex Cora, this sweep was better than the first. In fact, the last three games were better than anything else they’ve done this season.

“All-around, probably the best series we played the whole season,” Cora said after the game over Zoom. “We played great defense, we ran the bases well, we put pressure on them and we got timely hitting. … It was a good weekend. Obviously, against a division opponent at home, that’s something we talk about before the season started, and we did a good job against them.”

Here are some other notes from Sunday’s Red Sox-Yankees game:

— Eddie hasn’t been steady this season, but Sunday was a respectable showing from Eduardo Rodriguez.

The Red Sox have been insistent for a few outings now that the stuff was there at times for the southpaw, but that he was unlucky. Rodriguez helped validate that notion Sunday. He lasted six innings and allowed just two runs — which came on an Aaron Judge homer in the sixth — on five hits with eight strikeouts and no walks.

The biggest thing for Rodriguez is his approach to hitters, in part because it’s a way he tips his hand. When he nibbles too much, you can tell he’s not trusting his stuff, and that’s generally when he gets lit up. But when he just reaches back and throws, good things tend to happen.

Rodriguez won’t face the Kansas City Royals in the upcoming four-game series, but is in line to face an impressive Athletics team in Oakland when the Sox begin their West Coast swing later this week.

— Rafael Devers has had no shortage of impressive performances this season, but he might’ve had his best swing of the bat Sunday.

With two on in the first inning, Devers hit a 451-foot bomb off of Cole. The ball went screaming off the bat, and that hit proved to be all the Red Sox needed.

— The battle for the Red Sox’s leadoff spot remains up in the air, but Kiké Hernández made a compelling case Sunday.

The super-utilityman swung at the game’s first offering from Cole, putting it in the Green Monster seats to set the tone early. He finished 2-for-5 with a run scored and two RBIs.

Hernández hasn’t been the most reliable hitter from the No. 1 spot this season. But if he can keep that aggressive approach like he displayed against Cole, then he might prove to be one of Boston’s best options for the job — particularly if the hope is to keep Alex Verdugo in the second spot.

— The Tampa Bay Rays lost on Sunday, meaning the Red Sox now hold possession of the top spot in the American League East by a half game.

Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez
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