Last night was a big one for Boston, as they absolutely decimated the Yankees in game 2 of the rivalry weekend. After dropping Friday night’s opener 8-1, the Sox came back with a vengeance, with a beautiful 11-0 shutout victory.
Nearly everyone on the Sox contributed in some way to this great game, but two players, in particular, were dominant in their own ways, changing the game and making rivalry history!
The youngest player on the team, Rafael Devers wouldn’t have legally been able to drink at victory celebrations had the Red Sox won last year’s World Series. Luckily for him, they got eliminated in the ALDS. Too soon? Probably.
This season, Devers has been spotty, but during different stretches, has shown how immensely talented he is. His potential is as enormous as his boyish grin, and he was the undisputed star of the Saturday evening show.
Last night, with 2 outs and the bases loaded in the top of the 1st, Devers came up to bat and absolutely smashed a grand slam (his 14th homer of the season) to make the score 4-0 and effectively destroy Sonny Gray’s ERA against the Sox forever. It was the Red Sox’s 7th grand slam of the season after not hitting any in 2017. Oh, and it was their third against the Yankees so far this season.
The Red Sox have hit 3 grand slams against the Yankees in 2018, tied for their most in a single season vs. NYY (also 1959 and 2013).
April 10 – Mookie Betts
April 11 – J.D. Martinez
Tonight – Rafael Devers
— Red Sox Notes (@SoxNotes) July 1, 2018
So, to quote my own tweet, at the ripe old age of 21, Rafael Devers beat out Ted Wiliams and Joe DiMaggio to become the youngest player to hit a grand slam in the history of rivalry games.
But the child prodigy wasn’t even close to done for the night. After all, this was about 10 minutes into the first inning. Devers went 5-for-5 with the aforementioned salami, a double, and three singles. He drove in 4 runs and scored 3 times.
Chris Sale is one of the top-3 pitchers in baseball in the past five years, but for most of his career, he’s been on teams so bad that it didn’t matter. Luckily for us and for him, he’s now on a team with a fighting chance. And even better, the Red Sox are finally giving him the run support his flawless performances deserve.
Last night, Sale pitched an absolute gem. He’s been out-Sale-ing himself lately, if that’s even possible, with a 1.03 ERA in his last 5 starts. According to Red Sox Notes, he owns the lowest career ERA (1.61) and highest SO/9.0 IP ratio (11.62) against the Yankees in the Live Ball Era. This means that out of more than 500 pitchers who’ve made at least 10 starts against the Yankees since 1920, Chris Sale is the best.
Sale pitched 7 scoreless innings of 1-hit baseball, retiring the last 16 batters he faced. He struck out 11 batters and only walked one. In his last three starts, he’s struck out at least 11 batters; he’s reached double-digit strikeouts in 7 of his 18 starts this season. His pitches reached 100 mph for the third time this month. According to BaseballSavant.com, before June 2018, he hadn’t hit 100 mph since 2010, his first year in the big leagues, when he was a reliever for the White Sox.
According to Evan Drellich of NBC Sports, Sale is the first Sox pitcher to throw 7 scoreless while allowing one or no hits against the Yankees since Greg Harris on June 7, 1990. He’s the first to do it on the Yankees home turf since Ray Culp back on September 21, 1968.
All in all, a great night for Boston, thanks in large part to these two. Keep it up, guys!