New York Yankees veteran outfielder Brett Gardner had a message for manager Alex Cora and the Red Sox prior to Boston traveling to Yankee Stadium for a three-game set.
“Having him back in the dugout makes me want to beat them more,” Gardner said with a smirk Thursday before Boston came to town. “We don’t like those guys, they don’t like us.”
And while Gardner went on to explain his message was half joking, it still caught the attention of those in the Red Sox clubhouse. It also made Boston’s three-game sweep of their American League East rival all the more sweet, the Red Sox claiming their third win in as many days Sunday night by a 6-5 extra-inning verdict.
“I think we were talking about it a little bit early on in the series, pretty much before we came here,” Xander Bogaerts said on a video conference after the win. “I think that’s when it came out. But once we were here it wasn’t much of that like ‘Hey, we got to win tonight because he said this, he said that.’ As soon as it came out, it was like ‘Oh, all right.’ You know? But it was real good this series, we played good baseball. Tonight was really fun.
“I think this is a good statement that we made coming in here and winning these last three games,” Bogaerts said.
Gardner’s comments obviously weren’t malicious or even over the top. But the Red Sox still wanted to show up for their manager, and let that bulletin board material work for them.
“I mean it’s really important especially because the way he is with us, he has our backs too,” Marwin Gonzalez said on a postgame video conference when asked about defending Cora. “He’s one of, I mean, the best manager I (have) played for and you have to do that. He does it with us so why not do it with him?”
The Red Sox improved to 36-23 with the series sweep, and now turn their attention to the Miami Marlins, who travel to Fenway Park on Monday with first pitch set for 5:10 p.m. ET.