Sanchez, Judge power Yankees past Red Sox 6-2 to even ALDS

Kristopher Nichols
October 9, 2018

He realized the suckitude of David Price.

For all his left-handed, regular-season talent and success, the veteran Red Sox hurler is a playoff disaster as he showed yet again on Saturday night at Fenway Park. Jason Varitek led off the eighth with a home run off Hernandez and Nomar Garciaparra followed with a double to force Torre to go to his bullpen, but four relievers combined to shut down Boston and give the Yankees the victory and the trip to the World Series. The Yankees' were 53-28 there during the regular season, the second-best home record behind Boston's 57-24. In 10 starts, the lefty is 0-9 with a 6.03 ERA.

With this Price nearly always wrong at this time of year, the early damage was enough to allow the Yankees to square the ALDS at a win apiece. The Yankees' second batter of the game, Judge, crushed a 91-mph cutter over the wall in left-center field, an estimated 445 feet - Judge's third homer in three games this postseason.

The bombing began nearly from the outset. There was quite a bit of news, though, perhaps the biggest chunk the knowledge that Nathan Eovaldi starting Game 3 for Boston, and not Rick Porcello as originally scheduled. Both manager Alex Cora and pitching coach Dana LeVangie expressed confidence in the five-time All-Star after Saturday's game, per Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald.

What the Red Sox do for Game 4 is 100% reliant on what happens on Monday. His presence evoked one of the unique aspects of a winner-take-all postseason game: a starting pitcher on standby to enter in relief. He realized that the Yankees own him, that the Yankees know that they own him, that David Price knows that the Yankees own him, so he got his ass out of the game.

Whichever team loses tonight will still have opportunity to win the series, but all margin for error will be eliminated.

"I'm just looking for something in the zone-a good pitch to hit in the zone, high", Sanchez said through an interpreter, touching on the Price cutter he hammered for a home run over the Green Monster to lead off the top of the second. It went down as the second-longest postseason homer in the Statcast era (since 2015).

The team with momentum, so to speak, inside a postseason series wins the next game only about half the time, and this really shouldn't come as much of a surprise. The six-pack ties Jose Bautista for the most any batter has hit off of the 33-year-old starter.

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Then there's the question of what happens if the Red Sox win game three.

The Red Sox managed just five hits with a Xander Bogaerts solo homer in the fourth the only swat of significance.

"In this situation in the playoffs, you don't know how long you are going to be in there and we made a move pretty early in the game", was Happ's somewhat terse post-game review. Actually, we were just talking about him, me and Dana (LeVangie), a few things that we noticed, actually the last few weeks, that he's not doing the way he did in those 11 outings or whatever it was. His 7-0 recorded with a 2.69 ERA since being dealt to NY by the Blue Jays on July 31 was just part of it.

Luis Severino will get the ball for the Yankees in Game 3, and despite Yankee Stadium being a hitter friendly park, his 2.74 home ERA is more than a run better than his 3.99 mark on the road.

The potential good news for Happ?

Hernandez finished the job in Game 5.

How odd was it for followers of the Blue Jays to watch the way Games 1 and 2 of the other ALDS series ended? He wants to win and he knows he is certainly capable of getting it done. In fact, six of the eight teams have players that were in Dunedin in spring training.

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